Somehow, some way, when I know damned well that I have approximately 11 articles and 4 chapters to read, and one paper (albeit a brief paper) to write, with less than a week to do it, I found myself, the day after getting off a plane from Sacramento, wasting some vastly critical time (that I’ll never get back, btw) with several quasi-acquaintances on Facebook.
Eventually, an interesting topic came up, as they always tend to do on FB, and I was hooked. We got onto the topic of religion, and in this conversation was a single mother, who has made some mistakes in her life but is now trying to sort her way through them and has maintained a great career; as well as a portly African American gentleman who’s married to a less-than-attractive y-t, and is an FB fan of Sarah Palin.
After simply saying something along the lines of, “I like Bill Maher’s perspective on religion,” the portly brotha hit me with this age-old, are you smarter than a 5th grader question: “Well given that you like Bill Maher, and he doesn’t like Sarah Palin, have you thought about whose side you’d rather be on when Jesus comes back?”
After responding with some sarcastic drivel about how he’d asked me the most interesting question I’d ever been asked, and how he’d helped this wretched soul finally see the light, the momma jumped in and offered her point of view, which was essentially that for her, Christ is all there is, and there is nothing else she knows of. To which I responded:
But faith alone aint enough for me, and it hasn’t been enough for us as African people, especially during the last 500 year Maafa/holocaust. Mine is more of a faith through works that lead to freedom, uplift, change, and progress, particularly for our people but generally for all oppressed peoples. The closest I come to Christianity is the “Liberation Theology” that used to be espoused in Latin America and the Caribbean during the anti-colonial period. I can get down with that and love churches that promote critical thinking, inquiry, social justice, and activism.
Historically, my concerns have to do with the Councils (Nicaea, Chalcedon, and Trent, for instance) that determined official Biblical & Church doctrines, the apparent lifting of Christian themes/concepts from African (Nile Valley mainly, but also Southern and Western Africa ) spiritual systems, and of course, the official use of the faith to enslave, murder, massacre, steal from, colonize, and exploit hundreds of millions of people from the time of the Crusades right up to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Now granted, that last issue is more of a man-made problem, but one could just as easily argue that ALL of it is man-made, with fantastic, wealthy, and overwhelming systems in place to aid and abet it.
But having said that, I still like going to church. I love gospel music and I can appreciate a good “word.” There’s definitely an energy or spirit there (but is that energy natural to us as African people or truly a unique byproduct of western Christianity? To answer one would have to know something about African spirituality, and sadly, most negroes don’t.)
Honestly, my only issue with my Christian brothers and sisters is that many of them “believe” but don’t “act.” If one is really a Christian, then I’d expect him/her to strive to be Christ-like in every way, all the time, beyond words–with consistent, endless actions. But that’s pretty rare…
Thus far no new comments have been posted, which I’ll take as either tacit agreement, or silent acknowledgement of the fact that few really know how the concepts of the Trinity, or a man being the Son of God, or the need for a “Savior” to be crucified came into being in the first place.