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    The black church and economic empowerment

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    by , 05-29-2010 at 07:06 PM (9841 Views)

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    Never will I ever deny an individual the right to praise and worship whomever they choose. Whether you call his name "Jah", "El-Shaddai", "Vishnu", "Allah" or Frank for all I care, the bottom line remains the same: "One God, One Aim, One Destiny" (Marcus Garvey). My focus now is the church house itself. It seems it's influence has been modified from it's original purpose as a spiritual safe haven; a place for nurturing and uplifting it's members and others -to something of a small time, capitalistic God-dome, ever growing within our communities.

    I stand my ground and believe I'm not being superfluous with my word choice and in no way do my statements illustrate the vision of every black church in our community. It seems to me that more and more churches are doing less and less to focus on our economic empowerment and almost perpetuate the poverty level by forcing us to become religious consumers with mandatory tithes and other offerings.

    Was there not a time when our forefathers began their education through the church? Did we not, through our brothers and sisters of past, establish schools, colleges and hospitals through the church when we were denied these opportunities elsewhere? Reaching back as far as pre-emancipation slavery in amerika, our lives embodied the church as we devised our escapes up north through church songs like "Steal Away".

    Who do politicians proposition when election time rolls around? Our adversary will even call upon the church when they stand to lose ground.

    For many of us, economic empowerment lies at the forefront of the solutions to our struggles today. A Phillip Randolph stated: "You can't take anything without organization". For this to unremittingly be the case, we need to command the recognition of any and all of the resources we have lying before us. The power of the most genuine and benevolent of preachers and ministers and even those of the opposite context is far to great for us to ignore. If educated within the bounds of our reformation and revolution, we, in some sense, simplify our undertaking by creating a greater influence within our communities.

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    1. ArmedResistance84's Avatar
      Nice peice here. I look foward to reading more of your blogs. I wish there were more sisters like you around.

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    2. Im The Truth's Avatar
      If "economic empowerment lies at the forefront of the solutions to our struggles today" then what's your opinion on how to work towards economic empowerment?

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    3. Sistahs_Keeper's Avatar
      For MANY of us economic empowerment lies at the forefront of the solutions to our struggles today.....

      My opinion on working towards economic empowerment ties into one your blogs actually. You mentioned how easy it is for individuals to donate money (or whatever they choose) to a cause, believing they've done something worth while in regards to being active instead getting right on out there and pouring their sweat into making an actual change. (my words).

      Folks have gotten too scatterbrained with their focus on too many things at one time. We need to concentrate on a single issue, then plan, proceed and progress.

      We can't continue to keep contributing, tithing and offering to organizations (the church) which aren't capable or willing to turn that dollar over a few time before it leaves our own communities. If the support is not there for our effort to do so, then we need to take our mission elsewhere.

      Before integration it seemed black businesses had more of an advantage when now, in the words of Dr. Rosie Milligan:

      "Blacks continue to feel that they have a more secure future working for the White man. Many continue to beg and plead for a slice of that pie and that pie is getting smaller and smaller. That pie is also being divided and shared with more and more people."

      Instead of excepting what the church offers as being just, we need to force the church and clergy to pool the monies they receive each Sunday and every service in between into black proprietary organizations.

      Pastor [so-and-so] visits Sister [so-and-so] in the hospital. How awesome a feeling to visit this sister in a clinic or hospital run and serviced by people of her commonality?

      The church offers more than many ministries and with all of the educators, doctors and humanitarians etc who comprise the black church family, how many offer courses or programs to the youth meant to deprogram and reeducate them on our history and the fundamentals of supporting our neighborhoods?

      The first Afrikan recognized as a physician in the states was James Durham in 1773 and here some of us are today and can't even obtain a reasonable salary post our college education! We need to encourage the youth where many of them get their greatest influence from. This includes their home of course, the church house and youth groups and before and after school care programs.

      I will continue this later because I have other obligations. I wanted to keep my response focused on the church since that's what the original blog posting was about. Bless Up Family

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    4. Im The Truth's Avatar
      I hear ya but at the same time can we really expect the church to do everything? By trade they do what they are suppose to do - which is deliver the sermon and serve people's needs that way. We can't expect them to be historians, build/run hospitals, give to business, and be revolutionaries too. We have to do something too. Many people who give their monies to churches and get what they paid for, a clean dressing/driving preacher who makes them feel good. While I don't agree with it people pay to do a lot of strange things. So we have to find a way to be as strong as these churches. What do we lack and how do we gain it? What are our strengths and weaknesses? Why do we fail and they succeed? Thus how do we become economically empowered?

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    5. Sistahs_Keeper's Avatar
      Of course we can't expect the church to do everything. I never implied that they should. And yes, "we" have to do something too, but aren't "we" some of the same people who make up the churchhouse and don't some of the same people who "deliver the sermon and serve people's needs that way" share the same if not similar revolutionary views as us?

      I agree with the fact that we need to be as strong as these churches. Their weakness that we seem to take note of seem to be the same strengths that increase the population of their fellowship. I think we're aware of our strengths and our weaknesses and are progressively building on that. So I guess the question of the day is yours: "Why do we fail and they succeed?"

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    6. Im The Truth's Avatar
      I'm not in any church house, but I know there are some who share the views I do on subjects related or unrelated to church. I seriously doubt preachers, who are corrupt, share many views with me. Of the people who share similar views as me, who are in the church, don't expect to get revolutionary information in the church. If they did they'd join another church like the Shrine of Black Madonna, NOI (yes I consider NOI a type of church), or some of the other Black Nationalist churches out there. I recognize this does not exist everywhere so that is where we come in. There aren't many outlets a person can learn information AND be built up to become Pan-Africanist so we have to create them and move people toward these institutions when we can. They don't have to be grand but they have to be resourceful and have an affect.

      We you have a chance read this article and let me know what you think. Click here for the article.

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    7. Sistahs_Keeper's Avatar
      "......Throughout the course of history, no two countries have ever developed identically, therefore, it would be naive to believe that the implementation of socialism in any particular country can be transplanted in its pure form to another social reality without first taking into consideration the uniqueness of the people's historical and cultural development. Thus, the never ending task of the social scientist must be to utilize the tools of historical and dialectical materialism to properly assess the reality of the people relative to the society in which they live so that the correct solutions can be applied to the appropriate problems, and only for as long as the perceived solution is applicable....."

      This was particularly helpful. And you're right, I understand a place of learning and building up on Pan-Afrikan views is usually not one in the same. I want to share your posting with a friend of mine and I'll get back to you on our conversation. Peace.

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    8. edwins's Avatar
      i very much enjoyed reading this post. it was well thought out and presented with a passion that i can feel. my criticism of our religious community stems from 47 years of attendance in a church which describes itself as "hebrew israelite". during that time, i attended other denominations, where i was able to compare and contrast the baptists, methodists, catholics etc... i find little real difference between them outside of name, address and day of worship. the day and time of the black church i believe is passing. the ministry is out of touch, i think, with the stressful issues which confront our people. many of us "hide out" in mega churches where we are under the false impression of rubbing elbows with 'good church folk'... bumping and grinding under the guise of religion as opposed to running in and out of bars.
      if we examine religion in the u.s. we would conclude that there has never been any tolerance for our brand of religious expression- the point made by sistahs keeper is the exact reason why our churches have been bombed and burned- we use them for something greater than just a 'religious' experience... which is what it is supposed to be used for. our oppressors however, do not believe, nor have they ever believed that black folk should have a platform from which to compete. i am convinced that as long as we are only attending church to jump up and down hollering 'jesus' or 'muhammed' or 'abraham' or anything else we would prosper to the extent that we are not viewed as threatening. but just try and teach math and science or true history- just try and produce food to feed your community or begin to operate cooperatively; what happened in tulsa and rosewood and 'bomingham' will surely happen again.
      first of all, we should learn not to boast about our efforts. when and where we enjoy some measure of success, we must learn not to tell those who would oppose us.

      more later-

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    9. edwins's Avatar
      our enemies are not ignorant of our efforts to remove ourselves from the plight of oppression. they have a long memory. they know that left alone, we would become, in a short time, independent of the mess we currently find ourselves in. which is exactly why we are in it. examine haiti for a moment- those brothers and sisters fought and won their freedom and independence back in the early 1800's but look at what they endure today. so as not to provide an example to any group of black folk, religious or otherwise, haiti suffers. the sugar barons today, descend from those who were defeated by toussaint l'ouverture and jean jacques dessalines yesterday and those same barons control not only haiti but the whole of the carribean and brazil and all the other countries of southern, central and northern america.

      before i stray too far from the subject of religion, i need to state that i view the economic and religious problem as one in the same. as well as all other areas of people activity as defined by francis cress welsing including: economic, entertainment, education, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war. i have, in recent times learned to view the problems we face as a pie rather than a slice of the pie. all of this stuff works together the same way an octopus uses 8 arms controlled by a body controlled by a head. we have to first identify the enemy. only then can we fashion a suitable and appropriate response to the war being waged against us. as long as we continue to think that our problems are only economic or political or religious etc..., we fail to 'whole brain' a solution. if we agree that war is being waged against us, then perhaps, we could also agree that bullets and bombs are not the only weapons of war. aids, i believe, is biological warfare. crack and crystal meth is chemical warfare. hospitals practice medicine where procedures were first perfected on africans held as slaves in the u.s. (and some wonder why black men won't go to the doctor). the list goes on...

      let us agree that our problems are many, and solutions are not always readily perceptible- i am inspired by this forum and the thoughts of those i find here.

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