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Experience the lifestyle of Champions at the DreamCentre
No I did not make this up for the sake of sarcastic effect. The above was on the advertising postcard of a church in my neighborhood. For those who aren’t aware (or don’t want to admit) this is the face, theme, theology and direction of the black church. And it’s not pretty. Taking their cue from the new ‘super apostles’ these new dream centers cater to the covetous. And despite what some may wish us to believe, it is they, not white people, white evangelicals or even the Nation of Islam that represent the greatest threat to the black community and black people today. Say what? Okay LL you really are buggin this time. Maybe you’re still miserable after last night’s fiasco. And while it’s true that the Eagles played like pigeon poop I am sadly neither exaggerating or making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Over the last 15 to 20 years the Black church has taken a direct and determined turn toward a deviant, ungodly and destructive theology. This is the theology that many if not most of the black folks who fill the pews on Sunday morning accept and live by regardless if they call themselves Baptist, Pentecostals, Methodist or Bapticostal. And more and more it is this theology and the cultural focus that comes with it that characterizes what we know as the black church. Moreover it is this theology that dealt the final death blow to blackness.
The black church sprang up from the soil of slavery, injustice, inhumanity and oppression. It was this church that nurtured the souls of black folks during our inhumane treatment in slavery and told us that despite the toils and troubles of this life there was a God who loved us and would free us from this existence of misery. The cultural focus of this church was liberation. Following slavery and reconstruction the black church became our refuge for survival. Throughout the week we were viewed, treated and spoken to as if we were literally nobodies. But in the church we were brother and sister, elder and mother, deacon and trustee. Sunday was special because among other things it reinforced our collective humanity and focused our attention and hopes in the world to come, one that was free from segregation, lynching, and racism. The cultural focus of this church was survival. It was the black church that led the way toward equality and justice for the masses of black people. The church led the godly, non-violent yet effective charge to a new era for both black and white America. The church through preaching and practice (everyone regardless of ethnicity was invited to become a soldier for freedom) demonstrated the wisdom and godliness of an America where legal segregation should not and could not have a place. The cultural focus of that black church was equality.
But now a new Pharaoh has arisen. This new black church has moved our cultural focus from liberation, survival and equality to success. We’re no longer saints sojourning through this world on our way to the next, but champions who through faith declare what we want here and now. More than that however this church has systematically re-defined and recast what the Scriptures teach about God, the Scriptures, mankind, sin, salvation, holiness, the kingdom, the person and work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
But guess what? Just as secular black culture accepted gangsta rap as authentically black so sacred black culture accepted the new profit driven black church into the fold. We did so even though they preached that we should pursue prosperity instead of godliness. We did so even though they reduced the majestic, sovereign, supreme, holy God to little more than a divine mascot who exists to fulfill our selfish Madison Ave. manufactured dreams. We did so even though they exchanged the church’s mission to make active followers of Jesus Christ to one that revolves and is centered around our wants, whims and wishes.
You ask why is blackness dead. It’s dead because we sacrificed our most cherished institution on the altar of prosperity, success and self-fulfillment. In its place we’re left with dream centers run by self-appointed apostles who tell us to reach for success instead of cultivating faithfulness. Blackness is dead because culturally, politically and religiously we’ve reduced it to a mere desire for more money, more things, more pleasure, more comfort, more convenience and more human fulfillment.
Blackness is dead and like Humpty Dumpty all of our creative praise, breakthrough worship and fresh weekly words cannot put it together again.
To Him Who Loves Us…