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”

Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing:


Carol Wimmer
5504 E. 118th St.
Tulsa, OK 74137

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


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