Thursday, May 01, 2008

Black Chritianity... Christianity. 

In my mind there is no Black or White Christianity. I've been to churches in which the congregation was made up entirely of African American people and more often congregations that were entirely populated by Caucasians. And I heard the Word of God presented in each. I will also point out that there were an just as many ladies with big hats and flowery dresses in both Black and White churches.

Thankfully in 2008 we are seeing more diversity in the Body of Christ. I attribute this to people seeking a personal relationship with Jesus and a desire to do God's Will. Perhaps in the past there was more of a desire to hold onto cultural identity instead of individuality.

There definitely was more of a liberation doctrine in Black churches in the past than in White churches. This makes sense based on African American history in the United States.

I think the Jesus Movement was a large factor in liberating White congregations from a congregation mentality to a more personal God-seeking outlook. I attribute this in part to the events that preceeded The Jesus Movement. The March on Washington, Assasination of Martin Luther King, the riot in Watts and riots throughout the United States, the Viet Nam War and the search for identity that we referred to as the culture of the '60's, drugs, peace and free love.

The time was ripe and God had a plan.

Recently the local PBS TV affiliate did a program about the religious structures in Cincinnati. In the 19th century the Jews of Cincinnati built beautiful synagogues in the downtown area. The documentary demonstrated the leading factor for migration from the city proper was urban renewal in the poorer areas of town. As the Jews moved to the northern part of the city, Black congregations purchased the synagogues and moved their families to the surrounding area. This happened several times in the past 150 years as members tried to mainstain the cultural identity and boundaries.

What brought these thoughts to mind was the recent headlines about Reverend Jerimiah Wright, the retired Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. Here is a man that most of us had never heard of until about a month ago. The recent venting of his radical statements regarding Black Christianity have been hot topics in the news as of late.

I've seen this man interviewed on TV and read his words in the online news. And I've heard the sound bites of his sermons. The divisiveness of his language gets my ire up. (After all, I am of Irish heritage)

Keep in mind that in the world of public relations, bad press...good press, it's all the same as long as you get your name in the public eye, you wind up with your 15 minutes of fame. However I would rather he not drag the Body Of Christ into his debacle with Candidate Obama.

In the words of Jesus from Matthew 7:16 "You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

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