“Something Must Be Said”

 

Thanks Aaron Burden

Thanks Aaron Burden

Parents of black male children know that the world poses a much greater danger to our sons than they do to the world. We raise our black sons to be aware of their surroundings and to know how they are being perceived–whether they are shopping in a store, or walking down the street with a group of friends, or even wearing a hoodie over their heads. After hearing what happened to Trayvon as he was walking home from a store wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and ice tea, I was once again reminded of what a dangerous world this is for our sons. And I thought about Trayvon’s mother. She sent her son on a trip to visit family, only to have him fall victim to the unfounded fears and stereotypes grafted onto black male bodies. Something must be said, I thought, about what is happening to our black children, especially our sons. This book is my attempt to do that.

From Kelly Brown Douglas’ Introduction of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

“Concerted Effort By All Churches”

When it comes to racism in America, and specifically acts of violence against black Christians and black churches, the past is not even the past—it is a very present danger. While academics might argue about the death of the black church, racists know the history of the black church in America is a threat to white supremacy.

The current efforts to take down the Confederate flag across America, battle police violence, and improve black lives are also under attack. clergy and their church communities are spearheading much of this work.

The practicalities of protecting black houses of worship, however, are very much of this world. Many may not remember that during the years of 1995-1998, 670 churches burned, according to the Community Relations Service, and in 1996, the Church Arson Prevention Act was signed by then-President Clinton.

In light of the shooting at Emanuel AME and the church burnings, the White House, FEMA and Homeland Security recently held a conference call to help clergy members protect their churches and acquaint them with various governmental resources that churches can use to be “at the ready” in case of active shooter attacks, acts of arson, and other types of events that pose threats to buildings of worship.

While this is important, it focuses on prevention—not cure or eradication of racism or religion-based hate crimes.

These actions are a start, but they do not get to the root causes of racism and violence against black churches. Good white supremacists—some of them confessional Christians—fail to understand that the racial history of America has them captive. Some may have even come to their racist beliefs through biblical interpretations of the supposed inferiority of people of African descent.

What needs to happen is a concerted effort by all churches, black and white alike, to confront the issue of racism in America with fervor.

Read the full piece by Dr. Butler at RD here.

Mums and None of the Expected Characteristics

I read Barbara Holmes’ book on contemplative practices in the Black Church the other month, and the book was as amazing as it was historically grounding and refreshing.  In it she says, “Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics.”

It is within the spirit of contemplation and the gift of sacred spaces that I offer this poetic piece which Nate shared with me.  You may enjoy it, but hopefully you won’t (in the best way).  There is language in this that you may not want to blast:

Guest Post: Is Church Stopping You From Finding Mr. Right

I asked a friend who needs to be anonymous to respond to the article I mentioned, and here’s what she wrote:

The interesting thing about being, Black, single, Christian…and a woman is that there are too many of us. I know far too many single sisters–women who’d like to be married, start a family–live as an “us,”–perfectly good, respectable women. This article seems to put the blame on the Black church. I, however, believe that a myriad of factors have negatively impacted the Black women’s ability to find a mate. And yes, their role in the church can be a small part of that.

I’ve found that we tend to stay in church from sun up to sun down–volunteering, hanging out with the Singles’ Ministry, attending all of the church outings and functions–never getting out and about and certainly too ashamed to tell our church-going friends and family we’d like to be “fixed-up” with a good fella (to do so might mean we have no faith that God will send us a mate).  

All things considered, we must not forget the disproportionate number of African American men in prison–or the number of African American men who are not committed to settling down and starting a family. There is, in the Black community, a greater number of women with HIV and AIDS. These women may be ashamed to tell a mate or potential spouse about their status, and therefore, never marry. Let’s not forget about the disproportionate number of Black women who are already moms–and have a hard time finding a mate who might choose to accept that responsibility or the number of sisters who don’t want a brother who has been married before or already has children.

The point is, when it comes to the reasons why we aren’t married, the reasons why can vary considerably.   I do think African American women need to be mindful of the necessity to have a life outside of church–not abandoning one’s faith, just..living (independent of the people with whom one worships).   It’s easy to blame the preacher or the church for the plight of single Black women. It is, however, much more challenging to take all of the evidence to court and acknowledge that perhaps most Black Christian women are unmarried because we have not given men outside of our race an opportunity, haven’t let go of certain “fairy tales” about the “knight in shining armor”, or haven’t settled into singleness well enough to know that a man is not savior..he is, instead, a friend, a partner–a companion.

Or, perhaps we haven’t acknowledged the beauty, value and worth of a “regular guy.” We sometimes have a list of things a man has to be, and never acknowledge the good and Godly characteristics he already possesses.   The other day a sister and friend who happens to be White sent me a text message that read, “I’ve decided to stop looking for a  knight in shining armor. I’ve decided that maybe a regular guy in tin foil might be okay.” Black, White, Latina (no matter what race she may be)–a woman who thinks a “regular guy” is okay just may be on to something.

Is Church Stopping You From Meeting Mr. Right?

The other week I heard about this article by Deborrah Cooper on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.  In it she discusses her views on the church’s impact on relationships, particularly the Black church’s impact on how Black women date.  So, I asked two friends–both of them single and Black–to post a response to Ms. Cooper’s words.  In the next two posts you read their responses.  Whether or not you’re Black or single, I’d love for you to weigh in, considering any of these questions as you read their posts:

  • What impact has a faith community had on your experience dating?

 

  • Does faith make a difference when it comes to dating?  If so, what?  If not, why?

 

  • How can the church be a supportive place for individuals looking for partners?

 

  • In what ways has dating been easier or harder for you if and when you’ve been intentional about integrating your faith in the process?

 

  • Do you think religious communities have interests in promoting marriage or singleness?  How have you seen those communities served by both marrieds and singles?