It’s More Than Just Another Month – What Black History Means To Me

Black History Month means different things to different people.

As a Nation we have a month of recognition and silence for the mighty men and women of color who paved the way for all of us. We recognize them for their hard work, tears, and for those who died fighting for equality for people of color. I am proud to be a man of color born in America.

As we take time to celebrate this notable occasion, I would like to share what Black History Month means to me.  For me, Black History Month is a time of reflection, rejoicing, and recommitting to reach the next generation.

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5 Books You Should Read During African-American History Month

Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

Research has found that the proportion of young people who are daily readers drops has dropped dramatically in recent years. According to some studies, since 1984, the percentage of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers dropped from 70% to 53%. Even worse, the percentage of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers fell from 64% to a startling 40%. It’s jarring news.  Therefore, I’m sharing my list of reading recommendations.  Here are a few titles that had an impact on my life and that every African-American should read.

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The Mis-Education of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D.

The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools.  This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to “do for themselves,” regardless of what they were taught: History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end.

Paperback

Kindle Edition

Why Are Churches Still Segregated In 2010?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog series entitled “Jungle Fever.” This series took a look at the racial differences between African-American and White churches.  This series touched on how churches are still segregated and it appears this dynamic won’t change soon.  Additionally, I shared the differences between black preachers and white preachers.  Finally, I touched on how remarkably different blacks and whites dress when they attend worship.  It was a great series that generated several comments.  You can read more about it HERE.

There are many reasons why Sunday mornings continue to be the most segregated day of the week.  This video excerpt from the documentary, “Baptists and Racism,” attempts to address some of them.

Why do you think the Body of Christ remains segregated so many decades after the civil rights movement?  In my opinion, any time you call upon the majority group to divest themselves of power and influence, you’ll have fear, insecurity, and skepticism.  In short, they’ll passively sabotage any progress towards inclusion and multiculturalism.

Question: What do you believe are the fundamental reasons churches are segregated?

Hope In The Midst of Tragedy

To My Mars Hill Family:

Our leaders met this past Thursday to discuss and discern what God would have us to do corporately regarding the tragedy that rocked Haiti.  Although there are some conservative Christians labeling this as “God’s judgment,” we, however will take the high road & pray prayers bold enough to “WAKE… GOD UP.”   Please click the link for more information & join us!

MHBC Response to Haiti Tragedy 2010

What specifically will you do to respond to this tragedy?

Haiti: Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

Devastated.  Shocked.  Confused.  Numb.

These are a few words that come to mind regarding the earthquake that rocked Haiti.  Our leaders will meet tonight to discuss our church’s response to this great tragedy.  I will share our plan of action tomorrow.

Labeling any natural disaster as God’s judgment is nonsense.  True “judgment begins with God’s family” (1Peter4:17), not others.

Peter warned that God judges all people according to their deeds.  He also disciplines and judges his own children in order to refine them, as Peter has explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7.  This judgment purifies and strengthens believers, readying them for God’s Kingdom.  Natural disasters are the result of living in a broken world!  Please pray for nation of Haiti.

“Lord, let your glory reign in the midst of this devastation.”

Jungle Fever: The Most Segregated Hour

Racism still exists (even in the church)
That’s right, I said it!

Americans may be poised to elect an African-American as president, but it’s segregation as usual in U.S. churches, according to the scholars.  Only about 5 percent of the nation’s churches are racially integrated, and half of them are in the process of becoming all-black or all-white, says Curtiss Paul DeYoung, co-author of United by Faith, a book that examines interracial churches in the United States.

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Personally, I do not believe integrated churches work.
(when they are led by Black pastors)

Jungle Fever: The Black Preacher vs. The White Preacher

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Henry Mitchell, former professor of theology at Rochester Divinity School said, “The central figure in the Black church is the Black preacher.  He has no exact counterpart in the white church, and to attempt to see the White preacher on the same plane is to risk confusion, for the Black preacher includes a dimension peculiar to the Black experience.”  In the Black church the Black preacher has perpetually served as a father figure to Black people, seeing to their welfare in all spheres of life whether they were social, political, economic, or the traditionally recognized spiritual aspects of life.

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I saw in operation the validity of these statements.  The Black preacher commanded the respect and obedience of his congregation.  He was the most powerful man in our community & even today the Black preacher retains most of that prominence.  Many Black Christians look to their pastors as an authority figure who should have a lot of biblical knowledge and wisdom.  They are viewed as being above and a little distant from ordinary lay people.

Question:

What makes the black preacher unique?

Who's Got Jungle Fever?

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In 1991, Spike Lee released his fifth feature-length film Jungle Fever.  The plot centers on the interracial romance between a successfully married Black, played by Wesley Snipes, and an Italian woman played by Anabella Sciorra.  The lovers come under intense pressure from their friends and family as a result of their interracial relationship.  It’s no secret that even today, interracial relationships are still under intense scrutiny – even when it comes to attending church.

For most of white America, the black church is an alien segment of the nation’s culture, hidden behind the plain facades of large brick churches, the rude clapboard of country chapels, the salvation-emblazoned windows of tattered storefronts.  It is a montage of impressions, some real, some misleading the low-moaning spirituals, the clapping and the shouted amens; the phenomenon of a Bishop TD Jakes and the curious charisma once possessed the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell; the prophetic, nation-shaking philosophy of a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the pragmatic, neighborhood-building politics of a Rev. Jesse Jackson.