hypocrisy, the black family & the black church. 4 areas where we need to get it together
growing up, i thought church was so boring. i had to wake up early on the weekend to go somewhere where i knew one of four things would happen: 1) my mama was gonna leave me in the congregation to sit with one of the mothers of the church while she directed the choir, 2) a “mother” of the church was going to pinch my cheeks, kiss them and leave red lipstick all over my face, 3) someone was going to catch the holy ghost and hit me in the face or 4) i was going to fall asleep as soon as it got “boring.” as i got older and more involved, church began to resonate with me a little more. i began to gain understanding on things, which then brought clarity in multiple areas of my life. i didn’t even realize it at the time, but i was growing in areas i didn’t even think needed growth. while i’m still a work-in-progress for sure, i’ve come quite the way and for that i’m truly proud. but as i seek to bring more and more people into the kingdom so they can see for themselves the reason behind this newfound joy that i have, i’m confronted with some of the areas i think we’ve missed the mark as a family of believers. and although some (if not all) of what i’ve written here is applicable to places beyond the “black” church, i’ve chosen to specify ‘black’ because well…..i’m black and i go to church. here’s my two cents.
4). we want the convenience of the harvest without the alleged inconvenience of the seed.
lemme just start by saying it’s going to take more than a dollar in the basket to get to you to the place of financial freedom you desire to be in. there are so many believers out here working five jobs and spreading themselves thin in order to make ends meet. and don’t get me wrong, i respect the hustle. i respect the go-getter grit that it takes to swim rather than sink. all i’m saying is while we are doing all these configurations trying to figure it all out, God has already worked it out (at least that’s what we sing and shout about in church). he has a proven system that already works. but the problem is… too many of us (believers) haven’t really adopted the system because we don’t truly believe in it; and that’s my concern: we are trying to convince others to do something we ourselves don’t even do. get this through your head, a tithe isn’t something to be paid when we have extra money when we’re in a good mood. it’s something that we are supposed to pay consistently. it’s something that we owe. we have to train ourselves to realize that our excessive giving is what yields our excessive receiving. it doesn’t matter how much of your check you put toward your savings each time you get paid— some things are going to take some seed (sow) and harvest (reap) time. and at the end of the day, your obedience will take you places your financial literacy and preparedness won’t. you work this thing right and before you know it, you’ll be driving to a house you that was beyond your salary in a car you couldn’t afford thanks to a job you weren’t even qualified for. don't tweak and think that not paying your tithes is helping you get ahead cause you still end up broke at the end of the month. we gotta stop training up people to think it's ok to pay tithes when you feel like it because otherwise, we’ll reinforce this culture of church-going believers who will never have enough.
3). we gossip entirely too much.
the life of a church goer is not worth more than that of someone who does not attend church. we need to get out of the habit of using the car ride home from church as the juicy recap to what took place at church. there’s so many things out there holding people hostage— depression, thoughts of suicide, disease, addictions, heartbreak, violence, you name it. and it’s hard enough getting people to the church as is without people within the church driving them away, ya know? we all know there’s a negative stigma associated with the church; that’s no secret. “they’re too judgmental”, they say. and it makes it harder to combat these allegations when we have people from the church making statuses condemning people on social media or having conversations that adversely impact people's character. so rather than make a status about or entertain conversations about someone who you think fake shouted at church or wore something that was inappropriate, try praying for those people. if you don't wanna pray about it, you shouldn't have anything to say about it because at that point it's kinda messy. and if you're really feeling hospitable, try reaching out to them privately in an effort to help spark a change in their life because we can't help change the people if we are constantly antagonizing the people.
2). we treat church like cliques.
i get it. everyone wants to belong. it’s a fact of life — we weren’t created to be by ourselves. a sense of belonging gives us motivation to do better and it makes life more enjoyable, forreal. even those that call themselves, “loners” like to be around people some of the time. yeah, a sense of belonging is critical to our development and it helps us to cope with the not-so-fun parts of life. that’s why many people choose to attend church…to belong and build community. but it’s hard to build community when you’re so separated. i hear so many stories of churches where the praise team only speaks to and convenes with other praise team members and the choir only mingles with other choir members. and these days, congregations are out here talking down on how other congregations run their church. it’s like high school almost. the jocks are here, the cheerleaders are over here and the nerds are somewhere over there. everyone wants to flex on everyone else and show they're the coolest or the most saved or whatever the case may be. there’s a cliquish vibe that has definitely surfaced regarding the church and i really think that’s more of a hindrance to our cause to bring more people into the kingdom than it is an asset. we can’t say things like “come as you are” or “all are welcomed” when we counter that with an underlying sentiment of you low key can’t sit with us. it's time out for all of that. forreal.
1). we only have praise and worship in church.
i often see parents giving their kids the “threat stare” in church when they don’t stand up during praise and worship, altar calls, etc. ya’ll know the stare i’m talking about, too. It’s the glare in the eyes that basically says “stand up before i beat you.” don’t flex…we’ve all been there — legs tired and all standing up for what felt like a whole 24 hours. but what if more parents had praise and worship at home? what if the church wasn’t the only time they heard God’s name? just like we can’t expect the educational system to teach our kids all there is to know, we can’t expect churches to teach our kids all there is to know. sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car. sitting in church doesn’t make you a christian. you’ve got to work at it — and it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. children who were only exposed to God in the church sometimes grow up to become adults who don’t know how to react when life gets hard. mama never taught them how to talk in their heavenly language or speak things into existence. daddy never taught them that the quickest solution to their issues in life is the distance between their knees and the floor. yes, we need a church that's gon' keep it real and let you know how to make the Word work for you in every area of your life; but this teaching has to take place at home, too. and the good thing is... as long as there’s still breath in our bodies, it’s not too late to course correct...regardless of how far gone the situation may seem. the church house is an opportunity to worship with other people; it should be an extension of what you already do at home because you know what they say --- seven days without prayer makes one weak.