The Black Church was called out of mainstream Western Christianity as the moral compass for Christian thinking and teachings requiring it to have a succinct theology with which to subscribe as the reasons for its collective existence. It is not just a social movement nor an aberration but a religious calling within an unjust society for social change intended to be both redemptive and reformative. It is meant to define a relationship with God as God intends for humanity rising out of the immoral practices of slavery. Practices in which certain parts of humanity were even denied an equal creation status in the church. If Christianity could not embrace all of humanity seeking a faith practice within its churches, something was wrong.
Yet at risk is possibly the future of the Black Church if it can not deliver on the understanding of its calling, its purpose and necessity for growth in membership. We witness the increasing superfluous, elaborate and evangelic practices for prosperity over and above worship.
It must be made clear that we (the Black Church) have a historical relationship with God dating back to the start of humanity in Africa being representative of the initial dark skinned humans. An understanding which is not a theory or concept/idea but God for Whom there is no other definition other than Creator. Black Theology is a first theology. An important factor of worship in the Black Church needs to be brevity in its theological understanding for clarity to grasp God’s message at large. The goal is to renew the insights to a God consciousness for our interactions with one another.
Too many millenials particularly male describe the Black Church as a white man’s religion and as being overly emotional and charismatic but not as addressing their needs. Some increasingly refer to is as a business and not a place of worship rejecting and declining to attend worship services. Why? When the ecclesiology of the Black Church implies or defines it as having been “called out of” the so called white man’s religion which had in history denied their foreparents equality in worship. It’s calling into existence was for the purpose of social change to address the needs of a people both religiously blinded and socially denied. It is suppose to be addressing these needs to encourage their participation as followers of Biblical teachings. What do we say to this?
The Black Church having been called into existence “called out of” does have doctrines, polity, order of worship even articles of faith but does not have a universal theology to explain and/or define its purpose in God legitimizing a relationship with God. What is our Biblical Theology? What is our relationship with God as pertains to our having been called into existence in America. What something ought the Black Church be doing in America over against the backdrop of race, racism, segregation, bigotry, discrimination, inequality, voting rights challenges, injustices and the abuses of law enforcement.
How should we “Tow the Line” rather than masquerading as just a church and not legitimizing our worship of God as mainstream religion. Are we a chosen people in America promoting redemptive and reformational qualities for social change? If the Black Church has a purpose and/or calling, what is its theology universally?
The Black Church should be viewed as mainstream as any other with a documented Black Theology (first theology) and not be marginalized religiously if considered at all with the prospect of declining into nonexistence.
I am seeking dialogue leading up to the construction of a subscribed theology on Christianity to be utilized by the Black Church universally defining purpose and calling as agents for social change regardless of the nuance of one’s denominational standing. Your comments and participation are welcomed here and by email contact on the website.
December 05, 2020
Nationalism is a beckoning tool of Racism in its divisiveness and separation rhetoric being seeded into human consciousness. It is described as patriotism but marked by feeling/thoughts of being superior when a person or group of persons exalts themselves as a Race of people over all others. They promote America as being or meant to be “white” and not the melting pot as intended to be. They have culturally defined America as being under the auspices/divine guidance of the “white male” (biblically speaking supposedly) endowing themselves with privilege/entitlement. It allowed for sexual assault of female slaves. It was not right nor righteous but they believed it a right as property. Such thinking was the basis for an archaic belief on “Race” since the time of chattel slavery in America moving forward to today. Elements of racism has been diffused throughout American governing, history, economics and worship becoming systemic/ institutional. It is an ailment of perverted claims of superiority/supremacy. Racism is a social disease and is sacrilegious in scope. They promote this one culture which is exclusive and not inclusive referred to as Neo Nationalism (calling for the protection of “whites”) or Right-wing populism even in worship referencing some evangelicals. Who by the way would be in opposition to the immigration of certain groups of individuals. Such cries of nationalism becomes the unifier in opposition to the threat of self preservation. It is a rebuke/rejection of God’s creation of all humanity as equals. One in which the Black Church in its theological charge by faith, experiences and relationship with God can not and must not stand idly by with Christian moral, social and political deafness. We are required having been called out to weigh in on issues regarding the will of God, human equality.
God spoke one humanity into existence migrating to live on multiple continents with extraneous/inconsequential differences from a biological perspective. Racism states emphatically that somehow we are not all equal in the eyes of God nor even within the definition of humanity itself. That is the repulsive untruth associated with Nationalism. We are suppose to be growing closer to God as one and not vice versa as if God considers one group of people superior to all others. The preaching (sermons/teachings) and community involvements of the Black Church (A Black Theology on Christianity) need weigh in on any such societal/cultural ideation or messaging in Sunday worship supporting or proposing Neo national ideology. God spoke the Black Church into existence for such a purpose among others having been called out of such bias places of worship.
Certainly acts of nationalism are reminiscent of when we were not allowed to kneel at the altar along side others in prayer. A Black Theology would refute racism in all instances according to the will of God. A Black Theology would explain the theology of forgiveness in America in its need to “Build Back Better” a term with religious implications about the soul of America. It is a term given a timely birth in this electoral cycle. A theology which teaches forgiveness begins with submission of guilt and America is guilty but it ends in a praxis of righteous reforms going forward across the board. America’s adoption of a belief system on “Race” implementing systemic/ institutional racism is in need of a full forgiveness and eradication from its beliefs to its practices. A Black Theology is needed to expose such inequities within American society and its barriers hidden in human conscious/ unconscious morals. It is indeed about the soul of America, a charge for the Black Church to call out. America’s churches are being called out by a Black Theology to change the culture in America on privilege, entitlement, supremacy for “whites”. That is the mandated call of the Black Church to hold America’s Churches especially accountable for its past and perhaps present moral lapse in upholding a racist society even to support a so-called chosen one to awry governing practices towards further inequality (racism).
The will of God has always been to move forward. It is a responsibility embraced in a quote of commitment from the AME Church Bicentennial 1816 – 2016 celebration stating: “An Extraordinary History – An Incredible Future”. The Black Church has been endowed with a Call to Action in faith. It is with a moral imperative to address the wrongs of the American Christian Church past and its surrounding societal racist acts with the teachings and preaching and praxis of a Black Theology. It is even to address the precolonial historical presence and growth of Christianity on the African Continent. Even a 2016 – 2020 Theme adopted by the AME Church was : “Planning To Rebuild Black America” (timely given this election). More accurately meaning to rebuild America spiritually and transforming America’s nationalistic tendency of for some (whites only or primarily) to for all. The Black Church is needed to establish its Black Theology to eradicate America’s belief system on “Race” adopted since slavery. The message of the Black Church is encapsulated in the 2020 President-elect/VP-elect theme “Build Back Better”. It is no coincident.
It is about moving past racism but so much more through a Black Theological perspective on equality according to the will of God. It is a perspective of which American Churches and Western Theology has failed in its teachings, preaching and praxis. America can not reach its greatest potential in a societal framework of unequal and inequalities if it is to lead the world with a moral agenda. America can truly address this through the lenses of a Black Theology which uncovers America’s ethical and moral blemishes steeped in racism under the cover of privilege, entitlement, supremacy. The Achilles heel remains the archaic belief system on “Race”. It is a core problem needing to be addressed by a Black Theology needing to reconcile America’s journey. It is being suggested that America is at that precipice for change now having endured a tumultuous four years challenging the democracy role model for all other nations.
April 12, 2021
“The Black Church’s Need to Evolve”
This post poses a question on the primary tenet of the Black Church in America. Is it about more than saving the souls of Black folk? Has our (The Black Church) principle, belief, doctrine which are held to be true been evolving? We adopted much/most of our initial Christian practices from those who enslaved our forefathers/foremothers in our beginnings in America. Now having understood the overwhelming rich presence of people of color in the development of Christianity from the initial inner circle (Son of God, Disciples, Apostles) to early conversions in both northern and Sub-Saharan Africa thereafter following the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Why has that not impacted or necessitated the need for a theological reference (not a mere supposition) to give more harmony and/or unity within Black religion (Christianity)/the Black Church addressing its many insidious branches/practices of self interest. This tenet requires a greater understanding far over and above being the tenant or occupants of places of worship with peculiar biblical extracts for a foundation. In such instances the supposition of a theology remains an uncertainty to a postulation for selfish gains. We see this in our copy cat instances on prosperity preaching. Why isn’t the Black Church evolving rather than devolving towards tribal instincts/characteristics and individual personalities. We are intended for a more broader view of worship and faith practices. We should be developing a sound theological perspectives inclusive of a people seemingly chosen. God ought not be the subject of plurality when theology is based on understanding historical traditions of our relationship with God from beginnings in Africa through the resurrection to our presence in America. God has been with us all life long despite adversarial circumstances. Why aren’t we studying the nature of God throughout our history as it applies to a united worship/faith practice. We still don’t have that Black Theology as a God inspired blue print and revelation. So the question being posed. Is the Black Church in America/worldwide becoming as God intended it to be if change in America is to be made manifest? History should show the Black Church evolving in the understanding of having been chosen in America.