Friday, June 3, 2011

When Faith Challenges

This has been a most difficult year for those who proclaim a hope and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From headlines involving charges of Pastoral sexual allegations against youth, senseless infighting, the use of religious who do not provide children health treatments; polygamous sects; how religion is one's financial destiny to today's story, where religion is to blame taking  the fun out of sex while dating.  On the surface, only the Christian faith is the cause of all ill, Islam, Buddhism, Vodoun, various sects do not play the same role as hindering progress as those who love Jesus, even though the report of the Worldwide Religious News Service (WWRN) reports from the world perspective.

Even when it comes to ethnic-based religious news, unlike American Religious reporting which has a tendency not to report the whole story but only those parts which have a tendency to downplay the significance of all religions in the world.  When talking specifically about Black Religions and the religious influence of Blackamericans, to only speak in terms of Christianity is misleading, for Blackamericans are not all Christians, some identify themselves as secularists, humanists, theistic or nontheistics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, African Traditionalists, and yet many more names to describe their belief system, even if they atheists, agnostic, gnostic, the various religious and nonreligious instruction, quite often as people of color we have allowed ourselves to become duped, bamboozled, that we cannot see the forest for the trees.

The tenets of a belief system differ even within the same grouping.  For example, there is a grave difference of the humanism expressed by Black Church Theologian William R. Jones who wrote God is a White Racist, and humanism expressed in the early 17th century.  However, if your source is based on Focus on the Family who only started including Blacks in their reports after the mid-1980sl, or the work of the Church Pollster whom many Black Conservative Clergy follow blindly, George Barna, who prior to the 1990s rarely included Blacks in his research; or, reports of the Family Research Council.  Recent articles written Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, senior fellows with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., reveals the religious danger of this organization and influence with political ideology which goes unchallenged by Black academia.
Revisionist historians of American Christianity and the significance of Black Religion which was argued during the 2008 Presidential Campaign by an individual whose claim to fame is neoconservatism and brashness perceived as boldness with selective guests with the aid of the Philadelphia native whose ministry in Boston was brought to America's attention because of his impression record in fighting gang violence. These articles are used not because they provide correct information, but the opposite reason - misinformation.  Why?  Using a homiletics tool, "I'm glad you asked."

These articles and others manifested daily are filled with half-truths and innuendos, information whose filter should be question.  Those who write against Black religion in blogs, are not honest and they cannot help it, because they have not devoted the time, research, serious debate, and that is not their fault along.  As we were privy to the Smiley and Joiner early years on the Public Broadcasting System where they produced several meetings on the State of the Black Church, which could have been a broad based topic on the role of Black Religions in today's changing culture.

After teaching Black Religion and Black Religions of the Diaspora for over 20 years, expanding, revising, attempting to assist students in becoming critical thinkers and not ever to accept my word without checking all sources, many seminarians and Black Studies, Africana Studies, Africologists, have abandoned or merely dropped serious dialogue about Black Religions, and particularly its significance for those who are descendants of enslaved Africans.  Contrary to the early teachings of Joseph R. Washington with his 1963 publication, there is a need to reaffirm the debate which led to the development of Black Theology which had been initially suggested by Swiss Theologian Karl Barth.

The time has come for a serious dialogue to take place by those who are concerned with the authenticity and in discovering the role of Black Religions.  For those who would argue that race doesn't matter, maybe they should reread the Biblical text, or revisit their theological thinking, for example, telling people they will know their loved one when we all get to heaven.  Yet, if the Bible is taken seriously, race is seriously exposed.  Contrary to the feverish conversation of Hannity and Rivers, they selectively forget while standing against Jeremiah Wright to show his wrongs, they need to re-examine their pontification which continually contribute to the proclamation of questionable ignorance which makes their smiley faces quite dangerous.

Knowledge of Black Religion birth in America still escapes the mental deliberations of this present age.  In an earlier article I spoke of the one hour I was given to share with the late Dr. Manning Marable when he came to Nebraska.  We agreed that the next level for African Studies will be Black Religion as birth in America.  What we see today the lack of credible discussions on religions, we seem to  have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Faith is challenging us = and yet our response is lacking.

No comments: