Are Churches houses of worship, or fashion shows? Are attendants congregants or gang members? Why is there so much infighting in churches, especially within black churches?
This great opinion piece in the Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/15/AR2005071502194.html - has me thinking about spirituality and organized religion.
The author makes the point that the black church - and most churches in general - has somewhat ignored the needs of their communities, specificially the needs of black men. I thought it was interesting how the writer talked about his wife and kids going to church, but he stays home.
It was kind of a sad piece, since the guy is obviously very spiritual. He doesn't feel like he connects with organized religion anymore.
It's something I can somewhat relate to. I"m spiritual. I believe in God. I guess that makes me religious. But I haven't been to church in a minute, mainly because of all the things he mentioned: the infighting, the attitudes, the drama.
I remember being a kid, and going to church, and when we came home all my mamma and her friends talked about were how sistah so and so had on this ugly outfit, and brother this and that is messing around with one of the choir members, etc.
I remember all kinds of Church-related arguments breaking out, many of them turining nasty. I remember at one point some people stopped going to church because they felt that some good friends of theirs said the wrong thing.
It seems like every church has certain types:
1. The troublemaking deacon. This is that ONE deacon that's always into some stuff, that's always starting something and spreading rumors. This is the guy that's always up in everybody business, but don't want anybody in HIS business. That rumor about the pastor and the choir member? It was started by the Troublemaking Deacon.
2. The clueless preacher's wife. She smiles and grins and goes through the motions, not aware that her husband is doing 'ain't no telling with who knows who.
3. The Ambigiously Gay Choir Leader. He speaks in a high-pitched voice. He can sew a choir robe together in 5 minutes. He's always impeccably dressed, and can sing like Whitney and Aretha. He's gay. And everyone knows it. But no one says anything about it, which is one of the Great Ironies of the Black Church: can't stand gay folks, but got them in major leadership positions.
4. The Holy Ghost Woman. You know. She "gets happy" during EVERY song EVERY single Sunday. Hops around so fast her hat falls off. The urshers always have to "take her in the back" for a few minutes.
5. Ain't See Him Since Last Easter Man. I know several people like this. I have a cousin who, miraciously, only shows up on Easter Sunday, claiming that he's ready to join the church.
Anyway, read the Washington Post piece. It's good. He also talks about how Churches have failed to meet the needs of their communities.