Hopefully we do not lose any readers with this post, but if we do, then it kind of proves AB's point. LOL! It is filled with topics most people do not discuss with friends - blacks, religion, God, Church, etc. Just read below!
Blacks and religion…Blacks and religion…Blacks and religion… This is a tough topic, and I used to have conflicting thoughts about it, but now I know where I stand on the issue. However, when all else fails, it’s best to draw on personal experience, so I’ll apply this to my life.
Oftentimes, I feel like I am being judged by church-going Black people when I openly admit that I have no idea when the last time I went to church and I can't tell you the next time I plan on going. The only reason I attended church that last time I went, is because my mother asked me to go with her. I recognize that there is nothing worse than a “holiday Christian” – you know the ones you only see on Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas and the 7:30pm NYE service (lol)-- so rest assured that I did not go on one of those days! LOL!
Let me state some facts first!
Do I believe in God? Yes!
Do I have faith? Yes!
Do I have anything against those who attend church? NO!
Do I believe that you have to go to church every Sunday in order to be a good Christian? Hell NO!
Do I like to go to church? Not really! *gasp*
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a few people, who I felt all tried to demonize me for poor church attendance. It was quite disheartening, and the potential of facing more attitudes like theirs definitely didn’t do anything to sell me on attending any time soon. I feel like many religious people, regardless of race, often have blinders on that affect their ability to think critically about the alternate position to theirs. Said blinders are also often accompanied by judgmental tones and the combination can turn people off.
There is hypocrisy in religion itself—including the church’s stance on homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and other taboo topics--that can also be off-putting. While I do not have a degree in theology or divinity, this is the opinion that I have developed based on personal experience; I won’t go into further detail in order to avoid any potential attacks by those with opposing opinions. Suffice it to say, however, I am not in agreeance with religion where these topics are concerned.
It is more than institutional disenchantment for me. For me the conflict grows deeper, because the idea of organized religion just turns me off. I have a problem following the dogma of a practice who deeply conflicts with things I believe. You will often hear me interchange "the universe" or "God." I think that is an indication of my struggle.
Ultimately, it is my wish is that more people would be mindful of their tones when talking to those who share different ideologies than they do; it would potentially aid in both parties gaining a mutual understanding. But I digress. I am curious to know what opinions some of our readers have on religion, whether you are uber-religious or atheist. If you disagree that is okay. I just hope you can express your thoughts sans the judgment I feel I receive by a large number of Black people when I admit my “ugly truth.”
I want to preface this by saying that I love God. I have been raised in the church and try to attend whenever I can (Even if it’s on the internet). This is a very touchy subject so stay with me here.
Real talk, a lot of church folk get on my damn nerves! Church folk have to be the most conniving, gossiping, backstabbing people I’ve ever seen. Have you ever sat around a table of church folk to eat a chicken dinner? Nine times out of 10, these people will start going in on Sister Martha or Deacon Jones. It amazes me how so many of the conversations among church folk are based around the analysis and verbal destruction of their fellow church folk. I even reflect on my own family. We have dinner every single Sunday, and every Sunday someone is talking about so and so at the church and how they looked a mess or did something crazy. I even see myself getting sucked into these conversations and sometimes have to take a step away.
I think one area where the church fails is in the promotion of honesty between Christians. Why do we feel the need to dissect an individual every time we seen them, when in fact, we have been presented with an opportunity to help them grow? If it bothers you so much that Sis Johnson’s skirt was too short, tell her instead of running and talking about her right after service is over. I’m sure none of our readers partake in these activities---but the lack of honesty in the church is one area that is contributing to its demise. We have to learn to be honest with ourselves and others before we will ever be able to grow as a people in God.
Besides the phoniness and dishonesty, many Black church goers are slightly self-deluded. They cite sources outside themselves as explanations for negative acts they’ve committed or unfortunate things that have occurred in their lives. We can’t blame the devil for every wrong in our lives. If you go out tomorrow and cheat on your girl---don’t get back in your car and justify it by saying the devil made you do it (Yes, I’ve actually heard this said many times).
Additionally, there is a common belief among this community that the church will bring one out of his or her darkest moments without any effort on their part. I have been raised in church for many years and have heard many of the same people ask God repeatedly for the same things. It seems that what these folk fail to realize or accept is that God has given us all free will. An assumption is made that if you ask God to do it, he will make sure that your blessing is given to you. This is not quite true as asking is only half of the equation. The remainder lies in something called “work”. This is when an individual puts in time and effort to see the things they desire come to fruition.
For example---I have consistently heard folk ask God for their financial blessing, and then watched them sit aside and wait or call the 1800-INeedABlessing Line. They even ask God to help them hit the Lotto (RIP to my Pop-Pop) to avoid working for additional financial gain. Don’t get me wrong---God is all powerful. But God is not just going to give you a house or get you off crack because you asked, unless you do your part as well.
We have to be willing to put in the work and effort to create change in our lives. Just because a preacher sits in front of you every Sunday, doesn’t mean his words are sprinkled with fairy dust that will cause your life to magically change. Make your own sacrifices, put in your own work, and watch God bless the work that you have put in.