Black Folks and Their Damn Religion!

 Situation:
Hopefully we do not lose any readers with this post. It is filled with topics most people do not discuss with friends -- Blacks, Religions, God, Church, etc... Just read below!
Indeed!
 She Says:
Blacks and religion…Blacks and religion…Blacks and religion… This is a tough topic, and I have conflicting thoughts about it, so it’s difficult to know where to begin. 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 probably haven’t attended a church service since Easter 2010. The only reason I attended then was because my elderly and recuperating grandparents were going back to their service for the 1st time in months and they asked me to go. 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 please don’t label me one of those based on this instance.
Do I believe in God? Yes!
Do I have faith? Yes!
Do I have anything against attending church? NO!
Do I believe that you have to go to church every Sunday in order to be a good Christian? NO!
I feel that you can have a great relationship with your Savior without being a frequent attendee of church. It is my belief that church is for fellowship.
Yesterday, 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.
Ultimately, it is my wish is that more Christians 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.”
A
 
He Says:
I want to preface this by saying that I love God.  I have been raised in the church and still attend church on a regular basis.  This is a very touchy subject, and we might lose some readers for this.  But I love y’all none the less. 
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 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.  They even ask God to help them hit the Lotto (shout out 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. 
K

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Y'all should go deeper!!! A -- I can tell you holding back!

TT

A said...

@TT -- I did hold back in this post. I didn't want to go off on a major tangent. However, if the comments prove that this is a hot topic, maybe K & I can do a follow up post or something to go deeper!

Thanks for reading! :)

Brittny said...

A -- I like how you point out the difference b/n faith and religion. Religious blinders are scary. Black Religious people are just as scary as the white folk in the Bible belt. I too do not attend church and often times feel judge because I don't. It is like you can not not go to church and still love the Lord.

K -- YES! Black people constantly depend on the Lord to deliver them like "he did Daniel from the Lion's den" yet they never want to work to get to the point where God can step in.

Good post guys! This is my 1st time reading the blog, saw the link on A's FB page. I will bookmark it now!

K said...

@Brittny- Thanks for the comment---and the Bookmark!

Anonymous said...

I feel like this. Too often people who do not understand “why we should go church" have feelings of discontentment about the church. Church is more than just a time to fellowship but a place where you are to cultivate the talents that God has given you. A major problem is that we spend so much time not working in the church and trying to build God's that we be become blinded by the "people" in the church. Do not get me wrong I do not agree with the turn that church has taken... (not just black church) but I do feel like church is not a place for perfect people. Church represents our society and that’s another issue where people get caught up. You are not supposed to see perfection when you go into church! Everyone has a testimony and you never know what is going on in someone’s life or their struggle, maybe the person has been struggling with gossip their whole life…. you just never know. Don’t let the “people” be the reason you don’t attend church…. In life, we learn not to let the actions of others taint who you are or what you are to be doing…. If we took that same attitude with us when it relates to church I think we would all have a clearer view when it comes to this church discussion.

A said...

@Anon -- You have a valid point! The reason that I don't attend church is that I have not found one that spiritually feeds me suffieciently in Baltimore. I miss the church I used to attend in Philadelphia so much. I went damn near every Sunday and somehow still made it after my 2st bday Shenanigans, lol. In order to get my spirtual fix I listen to their podcast or watch their sermons live on the website. Great place to worship and fellowship...

My main issue is with people who judge me for my church attendance, instead of saying "Well my church home is ___ ___ ____ and I like _____ about it. How about you join me one Sunday?" No one does that...it is always "Well I don't know how you can choose not to go to church and claim this that and the third..."

Thanks for that great comment!!

Anonymous said...

Great post folks. I have encounter many "Holy Rollers" and I find them so obnoxious. They are horrible spokesmen for Christ and the church. I try to live by the mantra Christian not Close minded.

Loreal

SMB said...

What really grinds my gears about some Christians is that they think just because they read the bible, pray often, and go to church that they are somehow superior and have "earned the right" to judge others. To me, to be Christian is to live your life in the image of God. I don't know about everyone else, but my God is an understanding God. If he can accept me for all of my faults and wrongdoings, then who am I to judge someone else because of theirs? Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

A - I completely agree that there are a lot of hypocrisies in the religion itself when it comes to those taboo topics. IMO, those inconsistencies have more to do with how people choose to interpret the Bible more than the Bible itself. People will manipulate the Bible to make it conveniently support or discourage whatever it is that they want other people to believe in that moment. The Bible is the only thing that people will follow without question, and there are some who manipulate that fact. Think about the movie "The Book of Eli" (a fantastic movie IMO...so deep on so many different levels). Carnegie (the guy who ran the town) was looking for the Bible because he knew that if he twisted the words that were in it to his liking, others would follow without even questioning his motives.

K- This story comes to mind: While out at sea, a large boat became shipwrecked, and there was one lone survivor. This man prayed, and asked God to save his life. Soon thereafter, another boat came by, and the men offered the man some help. "No thanks," the man said. "I'm waiting on God to save me." The men on the boat shrugged their shoulders and continued. As the man became more deeply concerned, another boat came by. Again, the people aboard offered this man some help, and again, he politely declined: "I'm waiting on God to save me," he said again. After some time, the man started to lose faith, and soon after that, he died. Upon reaching Heaven, he had a chance to speak with God briefly. "Why did you let me die?," the man asked God. "Why didn't you answer my prayers?" God replied, "dummy, I sent you two boats!"

Rick said...

I attend church pretty much every week and I am pretty involved in my church. I have also made a lot of bad choices in my life. I agree with you both that the church is pretty messed up and it has a long way to go. But the church is full of people and we all got our issues. I think the most important thing we all can do is try our best to love one another. Will we fall short, of course we will. Should we seek forgiveness from those we have hurt and forgive those that have hurt us, of course. I hope people dont stop reading your blog because of this post or any of the post, that doesn't seem very loving. And by the way, my favorite character in the bible is Rahab. She was a prostitute and a liar and God still used her.

A said...

@Loreal -- Thanks!

@SMB -- I will have to check that movie out! I have not seen it.

@Pastor Rick -- Thank you for blessing the blog with your presence. We appreciate it brother! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

A- I always appreciate your honesty with us readers! Its refreshing!! :)

K--Church people suck! Tell your Pops to keep playing the lotto, the Lord will make him a winner! Have faith! lol

Anonymous said...

I have had this same discussion with my honey Jill Avery about Religion and I hope what I am about to say doesn’t offend anyone. If it does, I really don’t care.

First, I am a spiritual man and have lived my life as a caring, giving and loving person. I attend church irregularly, not because I dislike the idea of worshipping our GOD, but because of the hypocrisy that I witness on a daily basis in and out of the church. Church folks are the most judgmental, hypocritical, angry, unbalanced, and mal-adjusted people that I know. Just because a person goes to Church on the regular does not make that person a good person, a loving person, a happy person or someone you can trust. Most of the folks that I know who are frequent worshippers are liars and not well rounded people. Just because you can quote a scripture, pay your church dues, and sit up in church every Sunday does not make you above everyone else. I am very cautious about anyone who is too hyper religious because I know deep in my heart that they are phony and untrusting in many ways. I can count many instances where I have been screwed by church folks who are supposed to be honest and on the up and up?

Jill Avery can attest to my next point. I attended a baptism of my niece a few years ago at New Psalmist Baptist Church. As I was standing in the isle waiting for people to pass, one of Bishop Thomas’s security crew put their hands on me and said, “ Make way for the Bishop”. He basically shoved me out of the way to make room for a man who puts his pants on just like me. He is a man and only a man, but they were treating him like the President of the United States. What kind of shit was this, I said to myself. They were treating this man like GOD ole Mighty himself when he was nothing but GOD’s messenger. I will never set foot in New Psalmist again and was going to cuss his ass out until I realized that my brother attends this church and knows Pastor Thomas very well. I say all this to convey that I take religion with a grain of salt. I would rather socialize with well rounded people who are religious, but aren’t over the top with it.

Steve

misterx said...

"the church’s stance on homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and other taboo topics"

last time i checked the bible was pretty clear on this topic but maybe you received the truth like moses at that mountain and just refused to tell us, so enlighten us, we are waiting for your "truth"!

A said...

@MisterX -- Apologies for my late response, but I was on vacay! :) Now to respond to your comment...

Your comment demonstrates one of the very actions that I speak of. Most uber religious people cherry pick to make their point... My very next statement addresses what you are asking me... "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."

I restated that, just in case you missed it when reading before. I do not pretend to be Moses and know something greater than the bible. I am simply saying that I disagree with the bible's stance on many topics based on my beliefs. I am not saying what the bible says is wrong, I am saying I disagree. Furthermore it is okay for me to do so and still be a Christian and love the Lord. It is as you called it "my truth" and I do not have to share it or force others to believe "my truth." I have no desire to share my truth like Moses because its my beliefs. In addition, it is okay for you to believe what the bible says and I don't judge you for it. You believe what the bible tells you and thats fine I don't care. There is no need for the heckler undertone mocking my disagreement with the holy word of God.

My issue is that most Christian rhetoric that is pseudo cult-ish in nature turns off other Christian's who do not believe what "they are suppose to believe." I believe we call these religious fanatics extremist regardless of their faith.

Although I get your attempt to be funny, I feel as though you missed my point. Thanks for your comment, please continue to read the blog and maybe in a future post I can walk to the top of the mountain and enlighten the world with my "truth" on those topics.

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