Carol Wimmer not Maya Angelou

The following information is given as a copyright notice

Identification of the work or material being infringed:
An 8 verse poem entitled “When I say I am a Christian”
copyright 1988 TX-5-064-953 Library of Congress, USA

Web Site for the author of the poem, “When I say I am a Christian”
http://www.whenisayiamachristian.com

Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing:
https://ministersjourney.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/when-i-say-i-am-a-christian/

IMAGES FOR LEGAL SHARING can be obtained
at http://www.facebook.com/whenisayiamachristian

Carol Wimmer
5504 E. 118th St.
Tulsa, OK 74137
cccwimmer@cox.net

Dr. Maya Angelou, who passed away in May 2014, became one of those figures (à la Mark Twain or Abraham Lincoln) who ended up with more of other people’s words attributed to her than words of her own. (As we note in another article dealing with an apocryphal poem erroneously attributed to her, many Internet-circulated bits of verse lacking authorship identification eventually become credited to Dr. Angelou, especially light-hearted inspirational pieces and/or poems written from an African-American point of view.) In this case, we not only know that Maya Angelou did not write I Am a Christian (she disclaimed it on her web site), we know exactly who did write it.

“When I Say, ‘I Am a Christian'” (the correct, full title) was penned in 1988 by Carol Wimmer, was first published in the Assemblies of God periodical Hi-Call Gospel Magazine, and has subsequently been anthologized in several books (including Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul.) Unfortunately, over the years the work has been reprinted on the Internet with either missing or incorrect attributions (most often being ascribed to “author unknown” or the aforementioned Maya Angelou), and with verses that have been rearranged or altered by others.

The original version of the poem read as follows:
When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost! That’s why I chose this way”

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t speak with human pride
I’m confessing that I stumble — needing God to be my guide

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not trying to be strong
I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting that I’ve failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I’m worth it

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, “I am a Christian,” I do not wish to judge
I have no authority — I only know I’m loved

When I say I am a Christian

When I say I am a Christian — by Maya Angelou

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,
Now I’m found and forgiven.”

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
Who received God’s good grace, somehow
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/glurge/christian.asp#cLxb1d2V4G0cjP9M.99

The Way It Was…The Way It Should Be

The Epistle to Diognetus is a text written recounting the lives of the Christians as they are beheld by others in the early communities. Parts of this are written from a first-hand perspective and accounting of the new Christian religion, parts of it are written as the perceptions of the outsider. And there is a remarkable passage that occurs in this anonymous epistle, describing the Christians as if from the outside. Those who have the text available—and it is certainly easy to find in printed volumes or on the Internet—will find this as Chapter Five of The Epistle to Diognetus:
The Christians are distinguished from other men, neither by country nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor do they employ a particular form of speech, nor yet lead a way of life marked out by any singular worldly attribute. But inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the local customs with the respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking manner of life. They dwell in their own countries but simply as sojourners. As citizens they share in all things with others yet they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country and every land of their birth a land of strangers. They are in the flesh but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men though they are persecuted by all. They are unknown yet condemned. They are put to death yet they are restored to life. They are poor yet they make many rich. They lack and are in want of all things yet they abound in all. They are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor they are glorified.