On Faith with Brandon Micheal Hall
Our faith is shaped by a variety of factors ranging from our upbringing to things we have experienced along the way. They can either draw us closer in our relationship with God or cause us to question the faith that once seemed so strong. Brandon Micheal Hall is one who knows this faith conflict well. He plays the role of Miles who, according to Hall, share similarities concerning the understanding of faith. Growing up with a mother who is a preacher, Hall took time to share with Risen in 2018 about his upbringing and his own questioning of faith.
Hall shares about how he grew up in church and what his faith looks like now as an adult.
“For me, growing up in the church, it was very challenging. I say that because I have a rebellious spirit. I’m one who likes to question things, I don’t take everything at face value. I would ask my mom and I would ask the preachers, ‘This means this, a friend does this, or he believes in this, so does that mean this is gonna happen?’ No one could ever really give me direct answers. So, for a long time, I started to adapt this kind of idea of this is what it is. Take it for what it is and don’t question it. Don’t have an opinion about it. Just own it and speak it into the truth. I did that for a long time. I had the reverence, I had the respect, the honor, and I quoted scripture and such. Then I moved to New York. And the world just wen, whoa. When I was living in The Heights, my apartment was next to a Jewish synagogue, a Presbyterian church, and then there was a liquor store. It was like, what is happening right here? This is crazy. But what blew my mind is that I would see them all going to their designated churches. They would have their service, loud, playing their music, preaching, and I would see them disperse and they would never really talk to each other. I didn’t understand why. Why is that the case when they’re right next door and the only thing separating them from understanding each other or talking to each other is a wall? I think I started questioning again when I moved to New York because it’s such a diverse city, but people are still feeling so disconnected…”
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.Hebrews 11:1-3
Hall reflects on an experience in his life that shaped his faith.
“I was walking home with my friends and my cousin. We were walking home and we got stopped by a cop. Supposedly there’s this law in Anderson [South Carolina] that you can’t walk in front of public areas after a certain time. Anyway, wet got stopped…We get stopped and he [the officer] let us go, and then another cop stops us, but this time this cop wasn’t that nice, he had a dog and all this other stuff, and we were being called very slanderous names. It escalated very, very quickly. And I was literally right across the street from my house. When he phoned in the other officer that had stopped us earlier, the officer said, ‘Okay, just let them go, I know who these kids are, they’re fine, let them walk home.’ I walk home and the cop follows me all the way to my house…So, the next year, I’m at South Carolina Governor’s School and I get the opportunity to play a real-life character, Reverend Nelson Johnson. In 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina, there was a massacre that happened, and it was versus these, what you would call, revolutionary leaders for the workers’ union versus the KKK [white supremacy group]…we got the opportunity to tell their story and I got to meet the Reverend Nelson Johnson who told me the same incident about walking home had happened to him when he was sixteen before he went away to college. And I’ll never forget him saying that. It’s those moments right there, that always reminds you why you do what you do. Because it’s these stories that people have to hear, and these are the stories that people have to understand. And I was able to tell his story, years later after his incident that he survived. That’s where I found a moment where my faith had fluctuated, because I got to find my found in this again, after he told me his story, I’ll never forget that.”
Stand firm in what you believe. One of the difficult things about standing firm in our beliefs, is being solidly grounded in what we believe. It is okay to question or have doubts about the Christian faith. But rather than allow those doubts to grow into disbelief, search out the answers to your questions. Ask a friend or small group pastor if you don’t know where to start. Sometimes it can even be helpful to take an apologetics or faith foundations class at your local church. There are also lots of great resources written by authors who were once skeptics and atheists themselves including More Than a Carpenter and Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Case for Christ and Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.
Have God shape your faith. Trials, tribulations and conflicts all have the potential to shape our faith positively or negatively. We can either choose to draw close to God and trust Him through our difficult seasons or we can doubt Him and turn away from Him. When you are going through a challenging time or season, pray and ask God to show you His will. Remember that He may or may not reveal it to you. Look at people in the Bible who went through difficult circumstances and how God responded. Talk to your small group leader or pastor to see if they have had a similar circumstance and offer you some wisdom.
Encourage one another. If you know someone that is going through a difficult season, pray and ask God how you can be an encouragement to them. It might be praying on their behalf. It could be making a meal for their family or helping out with household errands. Or it could be standing on their behalf as an advocate. God designed us to be in community with one another and wants us to support one another.
To read our entire interview with Brandon Micheal Hall, click here.
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