Sunday, March 11, 2012

Returning to the Black Church

Sitting in Black and White churches...if I weren't from the US and didn't know better, I might guess they were two different religions.

When I left the church I was raised in 7 years ago, I made it clear to relatives that I wouldn't return "unless someone got married or died", and I've held to that. Recently though, I've had quite a few deaths in my life and subsequently, have been back to a few services. It's been strangely and eerily familiar. The same God, the same Savior, the same book of guidance...but the sights...the sounds. The Black church is so much more restricted in dress and so much less in acquaintance and behavior. I've been gone so long I knew no songs but the most traditional of hymns. I saw faces that were so big a part of my existence they seemed almost ancient. I still don't really know what to think of my feelings upon returning. I don't think I allow myself to make any full emotional judgments...leaving was just too big a deal.

A friend once asked me how I can still attend church knowing all too well the weight of being Black in a predominately White, Christian environment. I told her that I simply don't think I could ever be let down like I was as a child, coming to the full realization of what the safe and welcoming church of my childhood had become. The evisceration of that body marks a loss of innocence that defined more of my life than I think I'll ever realize. 


  1. Megan - Your observations are profound - "Same God, same savior, but..." And then, the courage to face your own self-reflection. Do you think you will ever recapture that innocence?

    Will any of us?

  2. i have come to a conclusion that the people that gather together are just people, and the building is just a building. all is not perfect with people or buildings...or anything on earth. every group that starts out (even business and clubs and believers) even with good intentions eventually changes...because everything on earth changes and decays. the real church/body of God is made of of our spirits that are only made "one" by the Holy Spirit. so we need to look past the clothes, decay, sin, crap to be able to see the body that is made up of our spirits that are made one in God. We can see "with our hearts" the body of Christ daily, as we can see the decay and sin daily. Look with your heart. It does not matter where you are, or were you will see both. Jesus will never let you down. Keep looking in Jesus with your heart. Love to you.

  3. @Shrinking...I don't think I will and I don't think I should. That innocence represents a faith in humanity that I believe holds any Christian back in their progress toward God. The more you believe in the "good, Christian people" around you for their own sake, the less you are focused on the redemptive work of God himself through Jesus.

    @nance...very, very true. I'm find it profoundly disappointing and painful how much more I see of God's love outside the formal church body...and I'm not talking about people who are in church, "working out their faith" as a friend of mine says. There's been a lot of hardness in my life from those well seasoned by the church lately, and I know it simply shouldn't be like that.

    1. when we look with our hearts, we can see the loss, we can see how things are not. we see how easily we all go wrong. and it is painful, disappointing, and discouraging.

      things believe we will be seeing and walking through many more hard and harder things.
      keep your eyes and heart on the Lord and His Love.

      the exhortations of paul to the philippians are good to read and reread.

      chapter 4:

      4 Rejoice "in the Lord" always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
      5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

      6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

      7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

      8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

      9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

      Love to you.