So today, I stayed at home. I woke up and the sleep just didn't leave me and I found myself playing the age-old mind trick of, "I'll just get fifteen more minutes." Those fifteen minutes turned into an hour, by then I would have been so late for church, it didn't even make sense to go. I used to feel bad when I missed church, but considering my current disgruntlement with the black church, that guilt just isn't there anymore.
I grew up in the church. I had one of those mothers that made sure my brother and I went every Sunday. My church has a children's church (a separate building from the main sanctuary) so it wasn't so bad. I basically went and hung out with my friends for two hours. But when I got older and became a fixture in the main sanctuary, I realized how much people play church. For a lot of people, church is what you do on Sunday. In other words, getting dressed up, grabbing a highlighted bible and going to the sanctuary is a habit. It makes people feel like they are somehow giving back to God for getting them through all of the mini crisis's they experience during the week. It also gives people the right to feel self-righteous about judging others. I grew tired of this very soon into my adult life.
Very often on Sunday, the pastor delivers a sermon that could very well be far-reaching. People say, "Amen." They stand, they clap, and some shout and speak in tongues, but a closer look at a lot of these same people makes you realize it is just an act in this habitual play called going to church. I became heavily involved in my church about seven years ago. It was then that I began to see folks for who they really were. All of the backstabbing, married folks sleeping with other married folks in the church, and I don't even know where to begin with how the gays have completely taken over the church. Now, don't get me wrong, I am definitely not a homophobe. I have a ton of gay friends. But, this arena is the one area I don't understand. It is no secret that a large number of people use the church as their own personal eharmony or better yet Adult Friend Finder.com, and a large number go to church faithfully every Sunday.
Now, I look at this, and I wonder, if I can't sin in peace, then why can you? If I came to church with a live-in lover, that I eventually got pregnant by, those evil old bitties would drag my name through the dirt. I would be called all kind of Jezebels, strumpets and whores. But the gays in the church can sleep with half the choir and the minister's board and no one seems to care! That, ladies and gentlemen is one of the biggest problems in the black church. The black church encourages relationships between men and women (even if they're bad - look at Juanita Bynum) but then turns the other cheek on all the gay (and straight) promiscuity and drama. When J. L. King, the infamous down-low brotha was on Oprah, he emphatically stated that he found the men he dealt with at church, prominent churches. So, why is it that you hardly ever hear pastors talk about DL brothas (and sistas for that matter)? Why don't they talk about domestic violence, infidelity and divorce? Half of their members are dealing with those very issues and they still giving these fire and brimstone sermons as if that's actually working. Meanwhile, members both gay and straight are caught in a cycle of trying to get their souls right but can't get it at church when the church is the very place they are going to try and get away from the very behavior the church is secretly encouraging.
I don't question my faith or my beliefs, but I do question religion. I realize that when I am no longer here, I can't take that church, pastor or traditions with me. All I have is my own personal relationship with God. And in today's society, personally that's all that matters.