"I have a big moutha big one!" a grinning Star Parker, 40, admits to a packed room of women at a recent Christian women's conference. "In twelve years of marriage there have been many times I practically threw the Bible at my husband rather than give a soft answer," she blares, then quietly confesses, "God has worked very gently with me, and I've sensed him saying, 'If I can be gentle with you, can't you be gentle with your husband?'"
If confession is good for the soul, Star, born "Larstella," has proved it again and again. Ever since the Lord delivered her from a life of drug abuse, crime, promiscuity, multiple abortions, and welfare dependency, the outspoken founder of a social policy think tank called the Coalition on Urban Affairs has been telling her story to anyone willing to listen.
And people are listening. Star, at the forefront of a new African-American conservative movement, speaks regularly in high schools and colleges, appears on television shows like Politically Incorrect and Oprah, criss-crosses the country as a social policy consultant and conference speaker, has hosted conservative radio talk shows, and has just completed a twelve-week book tour for her newautobiography, Pimps, Whores, and Welfare Brats (Pocket Books).
But for all of Star's ability to wow an audience with her wordsher father used to tell her as a child, "Larstella, talkers rule the world!"it's her untroubled spirit that speaks volumes about her belief in Christ's power to forgive. Ask her how she can share her sordid story so freely and she'll shrug as if the answer's obvious.
"When we confess our faults to each other and pray for each other, we get healed, according to James 5:16," she says.
Star's "healing" began with her conversion in 1981 in response to a sermon about Jesus Christand life hasn't been the same since. Today, she lives in Southern California with her husband, Peter, a pastor who's fifteen years her senior, and their two daughters, Angel, sixteen, and Rachel, eight. Star, the same woman who once thought nothing of aborting her first four children, now works from her home and limits business trips to twice a month in order to be available to her family.
Here's how God drew her from a life of rebellion into one of meaning and purpose.
What led you down the path of rebellion?
I was born in 1956 and grew up the middle child with four sisters and brothers. I rarely saw my father, who was in the Air Force. My mother, who he'd married right out of high school, was always working to help make ends meet. My parents raised us by the secular "I'm okay, you're okay" doctrine that says people should be allowed to make their own rules and shouldn't judge other people's lives.