Drop The Religiosity & Get Your “Love Boat” In Order

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.

Mr. Rogers sez

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!

You Might Wish To Review:

Are Black Women Still Blowing Their Dating Chances With White Men?

Let’s Remember To Use A Little Common Sense Where Men Are Concerned, Okay?

Are Asian Women Trophy Wives Or Just Smart At Picking Quality Husbands?

If You Really Wanna Get Married

57 comments to Drop The Religiosity & Get Your “Love Boat” In Order

  • Faith

    Thank you so much for this!!! This comment is a post in and of itself! I'll keep talking about the misuse of religiosity as a way for black women to abdicate personal responsibility for their well-being.

  • Vanessa F.

    This post is on time as I have had quite a few conversations with women members of my family over related topics. I may be veering a bit off topic but here goes:

    As someone who was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) denomination but hasn’t regularly seen the inside of a church since I as 15 years old and yet still observes the Christian faith, albeit independently, I have been subjected to the ‘wait on the Lord/being equally-yoked/give a brother a chance even though he has fill-in-the blank issues’ speech many times over. So much that when I begin hearing it my eyes glaze over and whoever is speaking about it starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher! This ‘wait’ approach has never sat well with me considering I like to think I am action-oriented. The ‘you will find your man in the church’ line of thought I hear from my elders is completely played out, considering from what I am told by my church-going women peers (told due to my heathen-ess/absence from Sunday service) that the female to male ratio is completely screwed up. I guess I am supposed start going back to church and duke out it out with Sister so-n-so over the few men in my peer group who decide to show up. No thank you, that sounds like a fool’s game.

    I also catch a lot of flack from…wait for it…black men from not being a holy-roller sanctified woman. Many that I speak to are in complete shock that I don’t see the purpose of being up under Reverend Whoever from sun up to sun down in order to have a relationship with God.

    Most of the 'Wait on the Lord' crew and the ' You don't go to church so you get the side-eye' crew I encounter are completely ignorant in the scripture, cannot say where they read what belief in the bible to back up their claims, and have little knowledge about biblical history/interpretation.

    As far as vetting men in terms of religious beliefs (or lack of) yes I agree, shared values are more important. Hopefully I am not coming off as flip about this matter but its completely silly to be that hung up on denomination, etc. in terms of looking for a mate. What does denomination matter if he treats you well or mistreats you?

  • Angelyca

    Hello Faith,

    Great post. I'm an out atheist (with a little "A", because being free of religion isn't something I dwell on), but I feel that can add more support to this thread since I was raised in a very traditional southern Baptist background for most of my life.

    A very close family member of mine has been divorced since the 1970s. She's raised three kids, some grand-kids (and nieces and nephews once removed), is a minister, spends lots of her time bible studying or in the church and is, as you can guess still single. Still alone after 30+ years as a divorcee. I remember a time when her pastor was encouraging women in the church to help uplift da po' black man, and had the congregation (80% women) ministering to convicts. She got involved with one, but thankfully that did not last once he displayed even more illegal behavior.
    More recently she's taken to online dating, and sprucing up her image (while I know how beautiful she is, more black women need to realize that for the other person to like you for you, they have to like the wrapping first). Since I'm known to date mostly white men, she even mentions she's open to that prospect. Great! But I would have been more happy for her had she decided to do this forty years ago.

    A friend of my mother's is a very educated, pretty, sporty, vivacious black woman who is 43 and still single. When I was younger (even a little now haha) I didn't get into 'grown folks' business' but I do remember hearing about the numerous offers she had for serious relationships and marriage. All turned down because it took away from her church time, or because the man didn't have the 'right relationship with god'.

    I don't want to continue to beat this horse, but before I was out and on my own and still had to attend church regularly, I knew something was rotten in Denmark from these two ladies, and numerous other examples I saw with my own eyes.

  • Yess!!!!!

    Coming out of lurking to say you all are speaking the TRUTH!!!!

    I'm a single black women (early 30s) and one of my friend's husbands thinks I should be in church every week like them. I actually visited their church and was turned completely OFF when the female pastor went on a tirade about homosexuality. Ma'am…the same Bible that tells you homosexuality is wrong is the same Bible that says a woman shouldn't even speak in church, let alone get up and lead a congregation. Girl, bye.

    Anyway, this friend's husband said I won't find a husband until I get my life right with God (ie go to church every Sunday and meet a "Godly man"). Jesus, keep me near the cross…it took the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, Shadrack, Mesach and Abendigo (?) NOT to go off on his ass. I told him quite clearly that when I visited his church, the only single men I saw were 18 and under, and even by numbers alone every woman who desires to get married in the church WON'T. I told him single women outnumber men in church at a ridiculous rate, so that means that someone's always gonna lose out regardless of how "right with God" they are. I also reminded him that he didn't meet his wife in church and his ass definitely wasn't saved when they met. Didn't hear him from him from a long time after that…ummmhmmm….

    BTW, this "friend" has frustrated me greatly within the last six months. They had a family tragedy recently and I understand turning to the Lord for help and reasoning…but I'll be damned if all of a sudden you think you're a Biblical expert just because you've read two scriptures and go to church every week. Like you said, this person has no sense of context and goes after everything the pastor says. He's got one more time to say something to me before I show him what a real heathen is like.

  • stellas

    In my opinion, the theology of the black church (today’s church) has been infused with the failed black ideology that now permeates current black culture. It is more insidious because people are not going to question their spiritual leaders for fear of judgment or loss of their salvation. Black churches run by black men rarely if ever tell women to expand their dating horizons to other non-black men. Frederick K. C. Price was the only black pastor (that I know of) that told his black female congregation to date men of other nationalities and stop looking for black men that were not there. He told the women that he knew about the men being in jail or on drugs or gay or not suitable and he basically said that there were other men in the world beside black men and he didn’t want to hear the complaints lol. He said this on television.

  • stellas

    In my opinion black women have to divorce themselves from all black constructs run by most (98%) black men. This includes the black church. I am a Christian. I believe in being equally yoked but I am sure that non-black practicing Christian women also believe this as well and apply it to their dating and vetting lives. The difference between non-black Christian women and black Christian women is the fact that non-black women are marrying in their early twenties and thirties. I am certain that black women are not called by their Creator to be single or to wait an inordinate amount of time before they can become wives.

  • MesaATLien

    Hi Faith!!!

    This post was on point! I think another problem with black women being "church-ified" has to be how they are conditioned to basically be intolerant for other beliefs and cultures. This point was probably mentioned already, but this blog post really hit home hard for me because my mother is a prime example of when "Keeping Yourself in the Church" goes wrong. Not only does the black church promote intolerance, but just straight up denial and laziness about issues affecting black women today: marriage, health, finances, etc. This magical thinking, choosing to ignore the obvious problems, is very detrimental.

  • Lisa99

    Exactly Faith!

    I believe in the concept of being "equally yoked" on a spiritual basis, but NOT in the way most BW determine that. Too many BW make that decision based on the outward appearance of being "religious" or as I like to call it, "church-ified."

    When I have examined the dynamics of couples who I truly admire — ones that appear at least to have strong, lengthy marriages — very few of them mention some of the religious aspects that many single BW are led to believe makes a "good man." Many of them do talk about God and faith, but in a deeper way that seems to relate marriage to a covenant.

    There isn't much talk of what Pastor So-and-So said, or how much the man attends church, etc…

  • Hi Faith and happy valentine to you!

    Re your freind It is indeed sad isnt it, that a 42 year old woman is all so befuddled and confused about all this stuff that women of other race get at 18!

    it just goes to show how that bw are in the centre of multiple streams of misinformation, shielding them from comonsense. the only time it lifts is when it suddenly dawns that its all too late. suddenly there is this frantic and mad dash to 'salvage something' alongside an inability to admit even recognize how and who duped them.

    I am christian but like you i sometimes feel bw would be healtheir if many more of us were atheists. it would introduce, i believe, some more sanity and comonsense to the mass of bw. this coming from a chrisian, shameful admission isnt it!

  • calpurnia

    Oh yes, I forgot--it was PHOEBE who helped St Paul write the book of ACTS when he was in jail--not a man, and also, there were a COUPLE Pricilla and Aquilla who had a church

  • calpurnia

    I notice, though I may be wrong, that when women start doing certain things, men get passive, or very macho. I also know that in the early church many rich women had funds to help the church and the disciples--having said that, I believe there are certain reflections of how women and men are to relate to each other--(women have the superior brain--we use both sides at the same time)--BUT GOD made Adam the head for a reason--besides, isn't it nice when men act like gentlemen instead of having you do EVERYTHING

  • Lisa99

    This reminds me of a thread I was reading on a black marriage site (one that I do enjoy for the most part) about the conflict that was taking place in a woman's marriage because her husband wasn't going to church with her and the kids each week. This troubled the woman greatly, and other women commenting said that they had the same issue with their husbands and it was causing marital strife.

    A few of the single women then said that this is why singles have to be absolutely sure that the man they're dating has a "relationship with God" before they consider marrying him so that this type of situation could be avoided in marriage.

    As I'm reading this, the only issue I see is that it's a problem in these women's marriage because THEY have deemed it a problem. These BW never said that their husbands were poor providers, poor fathers, poor partners or unfaithful… nope, these men simply didn't want to go to church each week. But because many BW were trained to believe that church attendance and a "relationship with God" (a cliched term if I ever heard one) are among the most important factors in one's life, they feel that they are "unequally yoked" with their husbands simply because their husbands aren't as religious…

    I'm not all that concerned about the married women, but the single women reading those articles and using them as their motivation to judge men on even more ridiculous standards before considering them are going to find themselves staying single. I've heard BW talking about how their first date with a man should be at church, or that he must meet her pastor before she'll accept a lunch date… or say that the factor that keeps marriage together the most is the couple's "relationship with God."

    How does this relate to IR? A whole lot of BW will rule out plenty of good non-BM (and good BM too) because of these silly requirements, none of which really have anything to do with the type of HUSBAND a man will be. The only WM I know that regularly attend services are Catholics, and even then, their Masses are very short (about 30-45 minutes). But even Catholic men — most of whom strongly believe in marriage and family — would likely be rejected by many BW as not being truly "Christian" because of differing ideologies. And let's not even mention Jewish men, many of whom have strong ties to their faith and are also very interested in marriage and fatherhood, but there's that nagging Jesus thing…

    Most of the WM I know married to BW probably wouldn't have gotten a date from a large proportion of BW because of their lack of interest in church and religion. But their wives certainly aren't complaining and they certainly aren't CREATING marital dischord by demanding that he attend church with her every week as proof of his spirituality.

    I've been thinking about this a lot over the past week, so glad you brought it up!

  • evia

    Faith, you've hit the bullseye here, again!

    I actually paid a hefty fee and went to a singles conference recently to get more precise info exactly re the connection between bw's singleness rate and organized religion. I'm still furious about what happened at that conference. It was a MAJOR con job!! Hordes of churchgoing bw are being manipulated, drained, used royally and fed a diet of constant crippling poison by OTHER BLACK PEOPLE, by these black church people. I seen this happened in practically every church experience I've ever had since I've been an adult.

    Yet the black church is a part of the "bunker" that many AA women hide out in. This is where a lot of the self-segregation of bw takes place. This is where many of them are still fed the message to always be on the lookout for evil white folks and any others who are not AAs, who are supposedly out to get them in some way.

    As we BWE writers have been predicting, this is NOT going to end well for most bw.

    It was SCARY what took place at that singles conference. It was like a Jim Jones--Jonestown scenario. Total mind control was going on there. If I had actually stood up to say anything that opposed what those ministers were saying, I believe I would have been instantly called a "devil" and physically pounced on there by other bw or physically removed by the hired male security.

    There was a lot of wailing going on up in there with bw weeping and mourning out loud about their singleness, their loneliness, and the struggles of dealing with it. And of course, there were almost totally all male ministers telling them how to handle these struggles, that they were going to be okay as long as they simply waited and let God have his way with them. SMH The single female minsters ALSO said the same things!

    The attendees were 99% women--bw and a sprinkling of non-bw. These women were all gorgeously dressed up, with perfect clothes, hair, shoes, etc. and they were articulate, polished women, for the most part and of all shapes and sizes. They had obviously paid their money to come there to meet single MEN. After all, it was a 'singles' conference. Where were the men who were supposed to be attending this singles conference?????? LOL! The conference was actually a "ministers'-centric" conference. Even if there had been men there to meet, there was nothing in the program that would have allowed for single people to meet and get to know each other there aside from a short break for the meal.

    I chatted with some of the women during breaks and such. Like zombies, they were all repeating what the ministers had told them. It was SO DISTURBING. The ministers TOLD them that if they can't find a "saved" man, the relationship will NOT work and to therefore not be bothered with any man who is not "saved." So this is in essence what your family friend said to you.

    I think many bw join these churches and remain involved with them due to conditioning and the need for a sense of organized community, a degree of protection, a place to socialize on a regular basis, to become more spiritually healthy, etc., but many of these churches or the ministers and other black church folks are pushing these women over the cliff. This is why I KNOW bw need intentional communities. The intentional communities would meet many of these needs and others. Yet, many AA women are suspicious about ICs because someone has or will tell them that an IC is a cult. Yet the bulk of these bw do not see that the way that a typical black church operates in 2011 is EXACTLY like a cult.

    But guess what? Some of the white ministers and even non-AA blacks are going to get in on this too. We can all see that it's easy to get bw into a church, and once you do, you've got yourself a gravy train.

    Any bw can work on her spiritual development (which I consider a very critical goal) WITHOUT subscribing to fake organized religion.

    Of course, I'm generalizing here to an extent about these black churches, but NOT much. So, I do NOT want to hear from furious bw calling me a "devil" or telling me that THEIR church is no cult. LOL!

  • Faith,

    {shaking my head} When you think about this overall pattern, it's quite peculiar. African-American (and similarly-situated Western BW) are the ONLY ones who make permanently life-DAMAGING sacrifices for ideologies. It doesn't matter if it's a religious (Black Church-i-anity of His-lam) or secular (Black love, Help A Brother Out, etc.) ideology.

    Nobody else (especially not BM) gives up anything at all for ideology—they do whatever they think will maximize their enjoyment in life. And they engage in enjoyment maximization even while flapping thier lips talking contradictory ideologies.

    I'm beginning to think that it's not that BW are oh-so-committed to these ideologies. It's more that BW only respond to whatever marching orders are given to them by BM. Never mind that BM's advice to BW always recommends continued muledom and suffering. {more head shaking}