Where In This “Hell” Is The Black Church?
Let’s be honest about some things; especially if you are a Black man or woman in America.
Black people have been catching “hell” since we landed here in America, and if we look at our current collective condition as a group, the only way that we could ignore what is happening to us as a people in this country is to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.
We quote scriptures; attend church regularly; pray our prayers; sing our hymns; play our gospel music loud; speak in tongues; shout and dance around the church; perform our daily and weekly religious traditions; and yet we continue to see Black people being abused and disenfranchised in a country that claims to be a Christian nation.
Why hasn’t our spiritual view of how life should be for us as Black believers in this country, lined up with the actual reality of how we are being treated and what we are having to deal with?
Doesn’t Jesus tell His disciples in the Bible in Matthew 6:9-10, when they pray to God, they should pray this way: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
So you mean to tell me that God’s will for us as Black believers, as He sits on His holy throne in heaven, is to have us be unarmed, shot and killed by police here on earth? Is it God’s will for us to have unjust laws passed, that strip Black believers of their Constitutional rights or legislation on the books that disenfranchises us to the point of severe inequality and injustice? Is it God’s will for us to have drugs and guns pushed into our communities by external sources, while they incarcerate us to the point where our families are destroyed and we are economically deficient?
Surely this can’t be the will of a God we so boldly claim to serve right? Does God have a racial preference when it comes to who receive justice and equality versus those who don’t?
In the 16th Chapter of the Book of Matthew, the Bible says that Jesus asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?,” and it states that Simon Peter responded to him by saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Because of Simon Peter’s answer, Jesus goes on to tell Peter that his response was not revealed to him by flesh or blood, but by God, to which Jesus further informed Peter that He would use him to build His church and that “the gates of hell” would not prevail against it.
For those of us who are faith-filled Bible believers, we have heard this powerful passage of scripture before. We have either quoted it or prayed it over our lives. But, the question I have to the Black church, which is simply those who are believers, is has the Black church been collectively weakened to the point that it has allowed “the gates of hell” to prevail against it more than ever?
When is the Black church going to collectively come together in unity and return to the influence it displayed in decades past? The influence of the Black church helped end the barbaric institution of slavery; helped draft progressive legislation; led boycotts and movements that brought about change; hosted productive planning meetings; coordinated strategy sessions that brought other Black groups and the community together as a whole; and motivated their congregations to action and put the fear of God in those who sought to stand in our way.
We need those types of Black churches to collectively rise to the occasion gain, in unity, to deal with the ‘hell’ we are dealing with right now in America. It is mission critical!
The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:13-14 that “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
See, there is so much power when you use salt, and it can be used for multiple things. Salt can be used to preserve something that is worth salvaging. Salt can also be used to season something that may be bland and it can be used to disinfect something that may be contaminated.
If God has called us to be like salt, that means we are meant to influence the current conditions in the earth in similar ways. So many of us have become so spiritually bland and earthly numb as to what is really happening to us as a collective group of people, that it is time for the Black church to sprinkle some salt on our collective situation in order to bring about change.
Because Black people in America have collectively suffered from the contamination of racism and White supremacy, it is time for the Black church to throw some salt on the issue and deal with it head on, so as to disinfect this country from the vile and hideous stain of racism and White supremacy that continues to plague our nation in a negative way.
Lastly, the Black church needs to be the salt that covers the collective Black community, so that we can be preserved, versus becoming extinct. The Black community needs to be covered and fought for, and not just with prayer alone either.
And for those who think I am dissing prayer, I am not discounting prayer at all. Prayer is the foundation, and it is an integral part of a Christian’s daily life because it is us communicating with God.
What I am saying, however, is that if Black Christians believe they don’t have a responsibility for what happens in their ‘world’ and that all they have to do is pray and throw scriptures at real world issues, they are confused. In reading my Bible, I learned a long time ago that Jesus didn’t just lock himself up in the house all day and just pray. Jesus got out and put in the work. Jesus was the salt that the world needed, and he made a difference in the lives of the people He was called to reach.
Jesus said in the book of John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
In today’s America, there’s a church on every corner in the Black neighborhood, while we still struggle with record numbers of unemployment, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, health disparities, crime, mass incarceration, violence, homicides and other social ills.
How can this be, when we are supposed to be the salt of the earth that makes a difference?
Look, don’t shoot the messenger…rather just answer my question please.
Where in this “hell” is the Black church and are we going to see change in this New Year?
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org