SILENCE = CONSENT

Posts tagged “oppression

NOM-Funded Coalition of African American Pastors Seek to Split the Black Vote

Operation: REBIRTH has asked the Coalition of African-American Pastors to attend a September 5th meeting to discuss unifying the Black Community and how Marriage Equality is being used to split the Black vote.  A petition is also in circulation to raise awareness about the issue.

It is important now more than ever that we, the African-American community, not be divided over our diversity, but that we unify on the issues that make us the same. The significance of this meeting is crucial in that it will show those who are profiting from sowing seeds of discord to further their own political agenda, that they will not be allowed to manipulate our community  in this manner.

 

Tuan N’Gai is Co-Founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement.  He’s the author of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma,” “Little Brown Boy’s Blues,” and a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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Liberation

It’s not an act of liberation to lead a person

From one plantation to another and “call” them free

Yet it seems that is exactly what religion has done so effectively

People put a new spin on old dogma and “call” it liberating theology

The leaders and the people who follow it without question

Are bound in the worst type of slavery

Slaves unaware they live so unashamedly

Thinking they are free living lives without real integrity

Not knowing that if they continue in it

They will be destroyed in entirety

For slavery destroys all who participate in it

Slavery destroys all who participate in it

Slavery destroys all who participate in it

Slavery destroys all who participate in it

 

Truly liberated people do not

Or cannot lord over another

In an attempt to control their

Thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, or money

Truly liberated people understand the essence

Of love and truth

Both are free

Therefore they are free-ing

They exist without bondage

And bring liberty to those who seek and walk in them

Truly liberated people only seek

To free others in the name of God

The Great Emancipator who made them free

From the beginning

 

From “Little Brown Boy’s Blues.”  Get your signed copy at http://www.tuanngai.com

 


Relevance

I no longer feel comfortable with organized religion. It’s nothing against Christianity as an ideal or any religion for that matter.  It’s just, I feel that the black church as we know it is either dead or on life support at best, and there is no need to resuscitate.  I am at a point in my life where after doing research, and living most of my life within the institution, I am beginning to wonder, other than being a quick moneymaker for people with pimp mentality, is the church really relevant?  Is the black church as we know it really relevant as far as building communities of strong people?

The church has become a social network I’ve often called a “religious country club/cult of personality.  I think one of the easiest ways for a black man with any type of charisma or leadership ability to get credibility is to say he’s a pastor.  Nowadays is not just good enough to be a pastor, you have to be a Bishop or Apostle.  That’s where we get into the danger, because if all these young men and women who are “called” to be bishops and apostles, and they are not going to do anything different, but continue the sickness they’ve been taught, what good is it to anybody to have a church on every corner, led by bishops and/or apostles who have twelve members each?

And this is not just a problem with the mainstream church.  It’s the problem with these so-called gay affirming churches as well.  They look like Church of God in Christ, they sound like the Apostolics, they behave like Catholics and Baptists, they have your methods like the Methodists, but the only thing different is, “over here it’s okay for people to say that they’re gay.” You can come to church with your lover and not be judged.  Other than that, they’re just like the churches they came from.   So are they really doing any good?  Or are they just continuing the same emotional and spiritual damage that the mainstream church has been perpetrating for so long?

For many of us who have fled the mainstream church to find sanctuary in the churches on the margins, the most hurtful experiences we’ve had in church is at the hand of gay clergy. When the oppressed becomes the oppressor, they are more dangerous than the person who oppressed them.  It’s sad to think we’re no different from the white slave owners who oppressed and abused our ancestors in the name of GOD.  And we think we are really doing a good thing!

I think the church at its core, at its very foundation was evil from the get-go.  Don’t think for a moment that you can get good fruit from a bad tree. The things that are taught, and how scripture is manipulated is so damaging that the effects are irreversible.  The organized church has had every opportunity to evolve into a place of social responsibility. Clergy has had every chance to preach and live the truth.  Ministers have Sunday after Sunday to teach how we ALL are inextricably connected to GOD as our life force, and that is what makes us equal.  Yet consistently we hear false religious rhetoric while people die hungering and thirsting for the truth.

All my life, I’ve tried to be that nice, politically correct Christian guy that that tried to work within the system. I wanted to be a part of it, but the more I tried to fit in, the more they push back and say I don’t fit in.  In fact, the only way I could fit in is to do what they say, as they say it, how they say it, and deny myself.   What I got from the mainstream church is that I’m going to hell.  Yet I could serve in the church, and I could sing in the choir.  But in the end, because I’m openly a same gender loving man, and I refuse to “turn from my wicked ways,” I’m going to hell.  In my experience, the affirming Church has been even more elitist. It’s more classist.  To some extent, it’s worse than the mainstream church because you can’t even go to an affirming church and serve in ministry unless you are “qualified.”

Can the church really preach liberation without living social justice?  The church really doesn’t believe that everybody is created equal, and everybody can experience liberty in Jesus as they are if it doesn’t.  Look at how they don’t want to engage either the unchurched or people who don’t necessarily believe like they believe.  Church folks often don’t want to have seemingly difficult conversations with people who at their core that gays and lesbians are going to hell.  They are more comfortable preaching to the choir and surrounding themselves with people who think like them, act like them, and talk like them.  If the church is going to make any ground toward true liberation for all people, it cannot be afraid to engage people who believe differently.  If we could learn to communicate with one another, we might discover that our differences are not meant to separate us, but be teacher to us.  We may find that we are more alike than we are different.  Then we will be able to work together to heal the ills of our community and continue in the great legacy our ancestors left for us.

There is just something my grandfather used to say when I asked him I told him that I was called to preach.  He said, “you know when you are called to ministry when you cannot help it.  You try to run from it like Jonah but something inside you won’t let you go.  Your desire is to serve people and show them the love of GOD.”  The church has to go back to the place where we are asking the world, “How can I help you?” instead of saying “you’re going to hell unless you convert.”  Sometimes, I think we miss our blessing by standing in judgement in an attempt to make ourselves feel important and trying to be right.  The real joy of ministry is having the opportunity to serve people.  Our joy is in trying to enrich the lives of everyone we meet by showing them the love of GOD.  The church, affirming churches and mainstream alike, has the opportunity to really change the world for the better.  Hopefully, it will not die before realizing its true calling.

 


Liberating Oppression???

I really have issues with church people who always thumping their Bibles, because they come across as morons.  They just go about spouting whatever they’ve heard their pastor say, and it’s often without the benefit of scholarship.  Meaning, they take scripture at face value without thinking.  They call it “walking by faith”.  For instance, if they’re reading the book of Romans, they take no account of what was going on in Rome.  They don’t consider who wrote the book to see if what was written was due to an eye-witness account or if they are writing about what they were told.   They often don’t seek God for the spiritual application of what they’ve just heard or read.  Unfortunately in most churches it is “the Bible says, the Bible says, the Bible says,” and that’s it. Is it not the responsibility of the pastor to equip their people with the tools necessary to not only study the good book, but to think critically about what they are reading?  Isn’t the preaching of the Gospel supposed to evoke a hunger and thirst for the truth and righteousness?  Shouldn’t the preaching of the Gospel challenge one to seek knowledge of the truth for themselves?  In other words, question everything!  Nothing should be above questioning.  I mean, if you’re going to try to live you life according to what you are being taught, doesn’t it make sense to have a good understanding of those principles?

The church should be teaching people how to know GOD for themselves.  The church should teach people that GOD’s Word is relevant to their personal lives, and the Bible is a map that if used properly, can lead them to the truth.  It shouldn’t be forced on people and crammed down their throats like the so-called “Christian” founding fathers did to the Native Americans and African slaves.  Yeah, I said it!  The Bible is a book that was forced upon people in order to keep them afraid and under control.

It’s like this, when America was “discovered” and slaves brought over from Africa, the Native Americans and Africans had their own language, culture, and understanding of God.  But white supremesists felt their understanding of GOD was better than that of the “savages” they both kidnapped and were colonizing. So with their guns and whips, they punished or killed people publically in order to convert the “savages” so they could easily steal their land and rob them of their resources.  Eventually, the witnesses of this brutality decided to not accept this new religion, but said, “Okay Mr. white man, I’m going to make you believe that I believe what you’re saying about this person named Jesus even though I’ve never heard of Him, nor do I have proof that he existed.  I just want the beatings and killings to stop.”  Upon their profession of Jesus,  magically the beatings stop, and the scary white man isn’t so violent. That’s how the “good Christian colonizers” got the Native Americans and Africans under control.  That SAME agenda is being pushed on Africans today.

So let’s approach the Bible with the understanding that it (and Christianity) was forced upon Native Americans and Africans who accepted Christianity as a means of survival and obtaining freedom from enslavement, not necessarily because they really believed it.  And ANY and ALL documentation of the Native American or African cultures or religions were destroyed in an attempt to obliterate the fact that they existed as credible faith based systems.  Is it really okay to take a book that doesn’t speak very favorably about anyone but “white people” as the cornerstone of how we live our lives?  Is this really a credible reference to lead us to GOD or lead us to a better understanding of who GOD is?

The Bible itself says nothing clean can come from  unclean things.  Jesus said a tree is known by fruit it bears, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.  So if what was forced upon us was oppressive in nature, can we really have liberation or salvation?  Or is this really just an oppressive system that we we bought into just to “make the beatings stop”?

If Christianity is all about liberty and freeing people in Christ, I think it is safe to say one  can’t honestly call themself a Christian if total liberation it’s not the fruit of their labor.  And not just liberation from sin, because Jesus took away the sins of the world when he died and rose again.  I think we need to talk more about being saved from poverty.  What about being saved from abuse?  What about being saved from oppression?  We can’t talk about those issues because the church system as we know it, by its very nature is oppressive.   We say we believe that there is freedom in Christ, but we don’t live it.  We don’t really believe it.  That’s why the so-called “lost people” see our lives and call us hypocrites. Our lives don’t speak liberation.  At the very core of our spiritual walk is opression.