Leaving Jesus: Women of Color Beyond Faith
The 24-hour prayer sessions are the true test of a warrior for Jesus.
They require Herculean stamina, the patience of Job, the rigor of elite marathon runners hitting the wall in a fiery sweat pit at high altitude, primed for God’s finish line. In many small storefront Pentecostal churches these “pray-a-thons” are women’s spaces; hubs of music, food, caregiving, and intense witnessing.
My student Stacy Castro* is a bass player in her Pentecostal church’s band. She is also the pastor’s daughter and a regular participant in the pray-a-thons, a mainstay in some evangelical congregations. Much of her weekends are focused on church activities. And though she is an intelligent and gifted speaker, up until her participation in the Women’s Leadership Project she thought little about pursuing college and wanted to go to cosmetology school.
Stacy’s aspirations are not atypical of students at Washington Prep High School in South Los Angeles. In a community that is dominated by churches of every stripe only a small minority go on to four year colleges and universities.