This is 2012. I haven’t regularly attended a church since 2004. Eight years. Eight years of being home on Sundays, watching NFL pregame shows and catching up on laundry neglected throughout the week. That’s been my life these eight years but it wasn’t always that way. I grew up going to church EVERY Sunday, Wednesday etc. All that’s changed now and people routinely ask about it. I’ll never forget the reaction my aunt had when she found out.
“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Growing up, the lights were off here and there. I remember nights we prayed for food. I even recall sleeping in our car. Things stayed tough once I was grown. After completing a masters degree and starting a doctorate, I was unemployed three years: I mean McDonald’s wouldn’t even hire me. It got so bad that I contemplated taking my life, several times. I thank God that things are different now. I work in the political world, meet a lot of interesting people, run campaigns, manage a staff and never hurt for work. Thing is, at times, I wonder whether this is actually harder than being broke was.
I remember attending a predominantly white church one week as a high school student. This was a rare event. As Fannie Lou Hamer is credited with saying, the most segregated place on earth is America on Sunday morning. While sitting in a completely routine Sunday school class at this particular church, the teacher began talking about how to get the most out of a Roth IRA. Pause.
You may have noticed lately that I’ve been “going in”‘ on the American church. Since evangelicals are the largest Protestant group in America, I’ve particularly taken aim at them. I’ve highlighted its indifference to human suffering, racist roots that helped foster that indifference and questioned how the evangelical church can act this way when it claims to be lead by and filled with the Holy Spirit. So why am I doing all of this?
When you see a church completely indifferent to human suffering, it’s disturbing. When that indifference seems to be so deeply rooted in racism, a completely separate set of concerns must be raised. I am left to wonder, given how deeply the evangelical church claims to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, whether they truly have encountered the same Holy Spirit their Bible speaks of.
When we left off last time, the conversation was around the evangelical church’s indifference toward pressing issues and real life suffering. At this point it’s worth examining why that is. Why are they so silent on anything that matters? Why do their preachers offer their flock a theology that allows them to avoid the critical matters of life, ignoring the problems afflicting the population on a day to day basis? Well, if you’re curious about how a tree came to exist, it’s worth studying the roots.
I’ll return to my thoughts on the church and its failures next week. For now, I’d like to approach a subject very personal to me and extremely hard to talk about: the one that got away. Yes, it’s a woman. These are my confessions.
For some reason I always prided myself on the fact that I had never been in love. Odd, I know. There was something comforting to me about the fact that no woman ever conquered my soul, rendering me weak and powerless to fight her grip on my heart. The truth of the matter is I’m wondering whether that is still true. Once upon a time, I met a woman who changed my life…a lot. Deep down, I wrestle within, wondering whether or not I was truly in love with her.
My last post talked about the hypocrisy and bigotry of the evangelical church. From there, I think it’s appropriate to deal with how the evangelical church’s thinking and actions really impact our society as a whole. Evangelicals make up 26% of our adult population. That’s a significant percentage therefore they must bear some responsibility for the condition of our country- whether good or bad.