Praying not to sound similar to Saul, Paul before his Damascus road transition, I wish to simply open the minds of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. To say I spent much of my youth in church would simply be an understatement. During my adolescent years there rarely came a week that I didn’t spend at minimum three days in church. Even though in my family this was a mandate I never felt as if there were something negative about this experience. As I grew older and became more aware however, something began to trouble my spirit. I believe in many cases, although with the best intentions at heart, we as Christians focus too much on pointing at people sins, rather than pointing people to the savior. I believe that if the goal is to truly live like Christ, such judgmental attitudes cause us to miss that mark.
Whether one believes in his divinity or not, the words and message of Christ can be greatly appreciated. Christ gave a message of love and acceptance, not one of exclusion. Jesus urged his followers to love their neighbors, not condemn them. I often say that man has always found ways to taint what God intended for good. Being a student of history I cannot ignore the fact that the religion I was raised into was the very same religion used to justify the enslavement of my ancestors. Therefore, it truly saddens me to see my beloved religion being used once again to persecute people. This time, in many cases this done by my very own people. I once read an incredible quote that stated “a true follower of Christ should smell like the poor”. Meaning, that if we are truly using Christ as our blueprint, the majority of our work should be outside of the walls of the church. Our mission should be to include rather the exclude. In fact, during his time on earth Jesus himself was rarely documented being present in a place of worship. Jesus always seemed to make himself first available and then approachable to those that needed him the most. Therefore in my opinion, as followers of Christ we should be less concerned with observing religious rules and procedures and focus on uplifting those around us. I’ve seen in many cases people who wish to spread the word of Jesus only condemn the actions of “sinners” rather that show the love and mercy Jesus regularly displayed. I believe it is of utmost importance to try and relate to people, especially considering the fact that all of us have our issues that we battle with. I’ll refer to the famed scripture Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
Furthermore, I believe that the modern era of the black church has shifted from the days of old. The black church was once the epicenter of black progressive movement. Not only the Civil Rights Movement, but it can be said that the church also has substantial impact on the emancipation of African-Americans in this country. I fear that today the focus has shifted more toward a “Game of Thrones” than actually uplifting of our people. As my “Yoda” of black intellectual thought, Dr. James Jones, once stated, I have burning desire to see the black church more active in the fight against the current afflictions that face modern day African-Americans. Not being omnipresent I cannot say that there has been zero input from the church on the “The New Jim Crow” or the seemingly epidemic wave of police brutality in our community. However, I believe we can all agree that whatever has been done would pale in comparison to the work of Dr. King and other religious leader during the Civil Rights movement. Why is this? I believe it is due to the focus of the “Game of Thrones”. Meaning there seems to be more of a focus on gaining wealth and power than the sheep themselves.
I believe if we were to focus one loving one another as Christ did we could form a “more perfect union” in the black community. That is to say, when “Big Momma” makes every wake up to go church on Sunday morning what people get is a more welcoming experience. Simply put if people felt less judged when they arrive in the house of God, there would be more willing to return. During my time spent here in Houston it hard to drive on a street without seeing a generally speaking “large” African-American place of worship. Imagine if these places were used to fight against the poverty and abuse regularly seen in our community. The church is indeed a great cornerstone in all communities. Therefore this power must be used for more than collecting tithes. It is my opinion that we should use this wide spread engagement to inform and empower our community. Giving all people a place of love and acceptance, as Christ indeed would have wanted. I truly believe that the African-American church at this moment in history is sleeping giant. I pray this giant awakes and joins the fight for our freedom because we truly need what might be our greatest weapon for all forms of emancipation.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016