Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Black Church or Mammy

The Black Church
in 21st Century America

Haggai 1:2 "This is what the Lord Almighty says: The people are saying, `The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord's house-the Temple.' " 3 So the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 6 You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
7 "This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord Almighty, while you are all busy building your own fine houses. 10 That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills-a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olives and all your other crops, a drought to starve both you and your cattle and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get." (NLT)

As an ordained minister and Black woman, it troubles me to observe the causal disregard and indifference that all people have for the House of God. However, I am particularly weighted down with aggravation, frustration, and irritation with how the Black community has allowed the one institution that has seen us through the Middle Passage to present day to fall into fiscal, physical, and spiritual decay and disrepair.

Sadly, too many people are not cognizant of the Christian faith of some Africans prior to the Maafa or Middle Passage and simply accept the mythology that Black Christians adopted the religion of the slave owners and slave masters. This is the effect of being disconnected from world history and miseducated so as to perceive the only means of significance and success is to aspire to fit into the fictionalized accounts of American history that have for too long been formed around the need for white males to retain power and resources.
An analysis of Christianity will lead one to the logical conclusion that there were some Africans worshipping Jesus Christ. In what continent is Egypt located? Africa! When Joseph and Mary took Jesus into seclusion for safety, Jesus was taken to Egypt. In the New Testament Phillip witnessed to and baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. While there were indigenous African religions and there were Africans engaged in Islam there were also Christian Africans.
The Black Church as provided support for the Black community in myriad ways since its formation and yet the very beneficiaries of the sacrifices and services of the Black Church have left the church wanting and needing. Indeed, if the church is the Bride of Christ, we have treated the Black Church as ‘Mammy’.

We have refused to respect her and recognize her value. Her contributions have gone unappreciated. We have neglected her as we have climbed the ladder of prosperity laden with material acquisitions, designer labels, luxury automobiles, and fine dining. We have failed to continue giving at the same pace that out foreparents did during Reconstruction and the Great Depression despite the support of the Black Church to educate us, stand as refuge and arming stations during Civil Rights and Black Power movements. She prayed and toiled with us to gain equality in education and jobs and we neglect to give of our time, talent, and treasure. Oh, we extol her magnificent smile, and ceaseless rejoicing in song and uplifting sermon…yet, we do not return to her.

We run to her when the idols we created crash around us. We seek her protection when we have been exposed for behavior that may land us in monetary trouble or the prison cell. Often we acknowledge it was the Black Church that gave us the first opportunity to develop singing or oratory skills, taught us the power of unity and forgiveness, perhaps provided refuge and necessities during our season of poverty, or book scholarships that helped us through college. However, rarely do we return to serve her, lead her, and care for her that she might remain steadfastly available to another generation.

I am not equating the Black Church with God, He alone is our Priest, Provider, and Protector. However, we must have respect unto the vessel He chose to bring us through, to bring us over, and to help us up. We cannot and must not forget the Black Church and the ministries God used to reach us. Perhaps, if we return to the place we first believed we will recall how to apply the precepts and principles of God to our daily living. We will recognize that those same Godly lessons that edified, enabled, and empowered, our ancestors can help us today as we face oppressive issues with our economy, a society that prefers to incarcerate our youth than educate, children who live without healthcare, and too many of us who been lulled into apathy about our own situations. Perhaps if we return to God and meet one another once again to worship, fellowship, study, pray, and serve we will stop throwing pity parties and begin to work towards improving our community and the global community. Of course, that requires each of us doing our part.

No more hollow hucksters in the pulpit perpetrating as leaders, when their priority is living off of our misery. No more politicians coming by to visit ‘Mammy’ just to get votes. We will have to learn to live within our means so that we can meaningful sow finances into the ministries of the Black Church. I am a believer…I believe in God and I believe every word of God…
Therefore, say to the people, `This is what the Lord Almighty says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.' Zechariah 1:3 (NLT)

Power and peace are in Jesus!

Pastor Kelly Oglesby

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, To those who do not discern who prophettess Bynum and Bishop weeks are in the spirit realm, ask God to reveal it to you. If you've had any negative accusations to say about them, REPENT! And do it fast because God has forgiven them both. But the word clearly says,If you judge, you shall be judged. Now if you are a sinner and are not saved and you have allowed your tongue to spread mischief your reward is already in the lake of fire! But to those who have been saved, Mind your own business if I were you and do not touch this fire, because God has it all under his hand. Whatever God is doing, let him reveal it. But to you ( the one to judge), Beware unless you fall into sin and there is not one to restore you) Wash your lips and shake off your hands and Please Do Not Speak About Gods' Anointed People in the wrong matter again!!!!!!. I speak under the Anointing . Your Anointing is at state if you listen to or open your mouth to judge either one. Those who have an ear to hear, Hear what the spirit of the Lord is Speaking to his Church.