Churches were PACKED yesterday as millions of Christians around the globe celebrated what is considered the foundation of the Christian faith—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course we call it Easter Sunday. Whether you are a regular church attender or not, yesterday seemingly EVERYBODY’S CHURCH was overflowing!
I couldn’t help but reminisce as my family got ready for church today how very different my current celebration of the Easter holiday is than from when I was a little girl.
I still cringe when I think about the Easter bonnet that my Mom made me wear and the frilly NEW Easter dress with patent leather shoes! Getting ready for EASTER was a huge deal…starting with the stuffed easter baskets my brother’s and I received, the nasty dyed eggs and Sunday Easter dinner. Of course between all of that was church! All of my Sunday school classmates and I, had to memorize and recite scripture at the Easter performance. And I was only able to breathe a sigh of relief when the “Mothers” of the church waved their fans or handkerchiefs along with a loud “AMEN BABY” after each child’s performance no matter how good or bad they were! Church—well, the Black church—has been as much a part of my existence as honestly, the air that I breathe.
In fact, for many, many African-Americans CHURCH stands for all that is culturally relevant to us. It’s the place that’s had ENORMOUS political, spiritual and economic influence…it’s been the place of refuge and sanctuary, struggle and the launch pad for civil rights…the Black church is a story still being written, it’s a story of constant change and has always been the place of cohesion in our community.
Do you know how many BLACK FILMS have scenes and/or story lines that include characters, people, steeples or preachers in them? Remember the prodigal daughter SUGE AVERY in the COLOR PURPLE when she returns to her father’s CHURCH hoping to reconcile? You are sure to find a church scene in most of Tyler Perry’s movies, like the “Father Can You Hear Me?” scene in DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN …then of course there’s THE PREACHER’S WIFE, THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS, SISTER ACT 2 …even WHITE comedian GARY OWEN talks about his experience with BLACK CHURCH!
We laugh, because we all KNOW, that’s BLACK CHURCH…that’s core to who we are. But recently I’ve been thinking and want to ask you tonight…a very pointed question, SO WHERE’S GOD IN THE BLACK CHURCH? If church is INTEGRAL to who we are as a people, as a race, as a culture, does that mean that GOD is integral to our lives? Does the statement, “I go to church” mean, “I believe in God?” Does it mean “I live for God?” Are GOD and BLACK CHURCH synonyms? Or here’s a question…does the church actually DISTRACT US from God?
Current research from the BARNA organization says Blacks had the HIGHEST score on 10 of the 12 belief indicators. We score higher than ANY OTHER RACE on the following:
- We believe God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today…
- We believe that the single most important purpose of your life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul…
- We believe your religious faith is very important in your life…
And yet I wonder are we really as SPIRITUAL as ALL of the research says? If so, then WHY are Black folks still on the bottom of so many lists? Poverty, single parents, disease, education…and the list goes on and on. So Where’s God? Is the Black church still relevant in our lives? Are we living what we believe?
That’s what I’m talking about today! It’s time we spoke up and spoke out…every time there is a crisis in our community, church is where we go. The Travon Martin saga is a great current example of this…yet many churches are struggling to keep members…many congregations are challenged with their church leadership and church folk issues…many young African Americans don’t even go to church or believe in God…
There’s a disconnect somewhere and I want to know what you think! Call me 404-906-7720 and leave your message, I will possibly put you on the air! My phone hotline is always open, today answer the question WHERE’S GOD IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY/black church?? Where is He in your life? Are the statistics true…are Black people REALLY as faith-driven as they say? This is a great conversation and I want you to get in on it right now, CALL ME 404-906-7720.
I am your CHIEF EMPOWERMENT OFFICER, Jennifer Keitt! And The Jennifer Keitt Show airs Sunday evenings from 7-8 pm ET on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!