While I have plenty of “Put Your Rainboots On A Storm’s A-Coming” posts more or less ready to go in honor of Valentine’s Day I want it to be LOVE WEEK at Acts of Faith In Love And Life. I think we could all use a reminder of why relationships mean so much. So give yourself and a loved one a hug or two.
I really feel that far too many black women need to give up their grip on fake religiosity. It may piss a few of you off (what’s new), but many black women talk about religion and the Bible while they have no clue what they truly believe. They’re only parroting what some dude told them. That dude could be a former pimp, hustler or drug dealer for all they know because anyone can start a church. That dude could be offering you bad advice and molesting your children as we speak. If a so-called religious leader hasn’t graduated from seminary school or undergone some other type of rigorous religious training and comparative studies, I would seriously filter anything they offered as an “expert analysis”.
Yet, many black churches are run by hacks who haven’t read anything other than the King James version of the Bible. They have not studied the text side by side in Aramaic and Greek in addition to English (or other languages). They have not thought to apply context to how people who lived during the time the Bible was written actually lived. You know the social and political hierarchies that existed. Heck, most people forget those were actual people and some of the places mentioned like Mamertine Prison in Rome, Italy are still around to this day.
Most people haven’t considered the fact that the majority male translators may have mistranslated certain parts of the Bible to diminish the role women played in the life of Jesus for example. Who do you note is usually attending church services – and who isn’t? Who has claimed “leadership” status and who is put in a subservient role? Some people believe there were many more prophets who were women and given male names to misdirect us. I wouldn’t be surprised, but we have plenty of examples in the New Testament (for those that believe Jesus as the Son of God) where He singled their devotion and character out in contrast to the men who behaved deplorably and cowardly – often!
While I found Dan Brown’s book amusing for its imaginative narrative, I highly doubt Jesus would stop floating on a lilypad in heaven to hook up with Mary Magdaline. Who’s to say she had really been a prostitute instead of a woman who hadn’t learned how to vet men and had chosen poorly? The mental anguish from failed sexual relationships and being dumped – where the blame is still placed on women even today would have been certain back then. She needed friendship and real love, soul to soul, not another guy to boink. If Jesus was a smart man, and I think he was, he wouldn’t known not to go there with her anyway. Especially when there were probably other groupies available and seductresses at the ready to discredit him. Think about it, he was in a leadership position, his family thought he was crazy, he had a bunch of fickle whiners surrounding him, he had the town leadership mad at him, the King was waiting for one big slip-up and he had to keep it all together. He had a bunch of sick, poor, depressed, hungry people who were waiting to punch him like a lottery ticket as well. Did he ever sleep? Relax. Have fun? We don’t know.
I just had a conversation with a family friend. We were catching up and she reminded me that she’d broken off an engagement the last time we spoke (3 years ago). This came up because I’d mentioned I was willing to expand my dating pool of eligible men to include those from Scandinavian & Nordic countries. Aside from expressing how impressed but perplexed she was by the methods employed in Finland for their education system (she’s a teacher), she asked how serious I was about dating interracially. I said I’d be willing to move abroad if that expanded my options and how easy it would be for her to teach in foreign countries with her level of experience and education background. She could easily meet men.
She’d mentioned the guy she’d broken off her engagement with had a multicultural background. So, I was waiting to hear the reason and she said it was due to their different religious practices. She specifically said she thought his denomination was “weird” because they gave credence to numerous beliefs. I wanted to make sure I understood her properly and that there was nothing else going on with the relationship. She confirmed he was handsome, had a career, treated her well, everything had been fine but he wasn’t a member of her church and that was the deal-breaker.
I of course wondered why she’d dated him in the first place if it was so important that he believe the same things she did, the way she interprets them to be. Well, he at least practiced what he preached unlike the last guy she’d dated who apparently acted like a Holy Roller in church and did everything else outside of church. Not a big surprise if she’d wanted companionship, but why allow things to go that far?
I replied I’d be more concerned about shared values that following a list of bullet points, but she said it was important to raise children with the same beliefs. Okay, but I asked how many other men she knew who were available, that she wanted to date who wanted to date her and met her religious requirements. No response. Since she attends a black church I also asked if it applied that she had to eliminate a) the recovering addicts, b) the gay men c) the older guys looking for nursemaids (which she completed the thought for that before it even left my lips d) anyone else remotely questionable. She doesn’t have any prospects. She’s going to be 42 this year and she’s mentioning children…but she dumped a man who wanted to marry her because he doesn’t believe in the Holy Spirit as a separate entity? Okay then! If there was a huge religious chasm – like one person believing Jesus is the Son of God and the other one didn’t, I could see where some serious conversations would have to take place. Again – aren’t you supposed to figure that out before you get involved? These are basic, common sense, vetting skills.
How many men actually go to church and have a religious practice as parishioners? They tend to take leadership roles and wield religious organizations for political purposes. It’s women who tend to go to be close to their God/dess. How many men are willing to subjugate themselves to listen to another man tell them what to do? I don’t think I can recall one time my father ever attended a church service when I was growing up. In fact, I used to attend church by myself as a kid without any prompting from my parents. I had my own communion with God that I chose as a ten year old. When we moved to a different neighborhood I used to walk a mile back to my old block to go to the church of my choice – and no dad did not get up to drive me. Which he should have really, but that’s another story.
I try to keep these sorts of conversations with black women light and short, because I could tell just how limited her thinking was across the board. Oh, but she’d date a Baptist she assured me. She’s attractive, fit, owns her home and has an established career. She could have been married for years by now to a higher-caliber man had she set realistic priorities for herself. She’s going to be one of those women who will likely die out or pick a total loser in a desperate grab before menopause. I think it’s such a waste, but on the other hand I think the less ignorant people repopulating the world the better.
Personally, I think Jesus is doing the facepalm right now…but what do I know…I’m a heathen who doesn’t attend any church as I’ve burnt out from all of the testifying, proselytizing and political jockeying while blindly allowing hypocrisy to rule the day. If more BW dumped “church” like they should the NAACP/Urban League, Black Love and Help A Brotha Out AND married higher-caliber men there’d be a vast improvement immediately.
We really need to learn how to vet men and not just use terminology in such a random fashion. How do you learn to vet men? You go to experts whenever you need to acquire a skill set, mentoring or adapt a new mindset to train yourself how to be successful in a new arena. Find yourself a vetting expert. You can pray on it!
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