Friday, November 30, 2007
The Baal Network Pt. 2
But what are ya'll doing in the hood? It's a frequent and expected question to those who've embraced biblical theology and seek to spread that theology to black churches and the black community. And for the most part it's a good question. A biblical understanding and promotion of the gospel must move us into adopting a lifestyle of service for a lifetime (see Eph. 2:1-10 esp vs. 10). Unfortunately far too many seem to forget the 'biblical understanding of the gospel' part. The underlying assumption in the question is that of all the needs in the hood theology just isn’t one of them.
I wonder, why is it that we’re so quick and eager to accept that what you believe about scripture, God, humanity, sin, salvation, Jesus Christ, the church etc. are barely relevant to how you view life and the choices you make. How is it that there can be so much talk about ‘holistic’ ministry and yet as soon as someone utters the first syllable of forbidden ‘T’ word he or she is told how irrelevant they are?
Let me give another example from The Baal Network. This time while at the in-laws my mother-in-law got a phone call from a friend urging her to turn on one of their favorite Baal priests. She quickly hung up the phone and did so. Having heard enough of this garbage before I remained in another room trying to block out the flood of blasphemy spewing from this priest’s mouth. After the usual ‘just speak it and it will happen mantra’ (btw can someone please tell me why people sit week after week and day after day to hear the same tired phrases? One would think that if you haven’t got what you want after speaking into existence for the last ten years you’re probably not going to get it, but I digress) I nearly fell into the fireplace when he said ‘you know why I’m not going to hell? Because I speak against it!’ Upon hearing that I jumped up and once more warned my mother-in-law that she’s listening to blasphemy. This man just said that he will avoid God’s anger against sin not by the sinless life, sacrificial death and powerful resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ but by his own spiritual power and fortitude.
If that weren’t enough (and if it’s not we’ve got much, much more serious problems than I thought) there’s the whole issue of the ‘you must speak and create the reality you want’ theology. Did you notice how this theology moves the church away from pursuing justice and community involvement? Think about that for a moment. If I believe that one’s quality of life is directly related to his or her own personal faith then why would I bother with the work of addressing structural or cyclical injustice? My theological worldview tells me that their problems are due to their own lack of faith not broken homes, failing schools or lack of opportunity. If they don’t want to be poor and sick anymore then they need to start speaking and believing health and wealth for themselves. As one well known preacher used to declare ‘remember you don’t have any problems, all you need is faith in God’.
Wait there’s more. The leaders of the new Baal temples are convinced that they must set the tone and example of success for their followers. How many of us truly believe that the wolves who prowl The Baal Network live anywhere near the hood or encourage their people to do so? How many of them use the pennies of the poor to buy McMansions far out in the burbs? From houses, to cars, to clothes and whatever else he or she wants these grinches steal resources from the hood to use for themselves and themselves alone.
You don’t think theology is important? Next time your unfriendly neighborhood Baal priest drives away in his Lexus after once more looting the poor take a good look around your community and think again.
To Him Who Loves Us…