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Excuse Me, Christians... (2142 hits)

I came across an article entitled, “The Perils Of Patronizing” by Michael Gerson, who wrote the following:

“Christianity was the religion held by slave masters -- often distorted into an ideology of oppression. But African Americans found a model of liberation in the Exodus. They discovered that Jesus more closely resembled the beaten and lynched slave than their pious oppressors. And African Americans -- by their courageous assertion of God's universal love and man's universal dignity -- redeemed a nation they had entered in chains.

But black liberation theology takes this argument a large step further -- or perhaps backward. The Rev. Wright's intellectual mentor, professor James Cone of Union Theological Seminary, retreats from the universality of Christianity. "Black theology," says Cone, "refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him." And again: "Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy." And again: "In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors."

The black community is in large part driven to Christianity, or had it handed down to them rather, from a very young age. It’s the crux of our community to a large degree as we gather together on Sunday mornings to commune, worship and socialize. It may be perhaps where we are most connected, especially if one doesn’t reside in a predominantly black neighborhood or community. As a child, for instance, the church was the only place I was exposed to my culture as a whole.

So, given Gerson’s words, I have to ask, what is your take on your religion? How do you feel about it and define it? What are your views?

Gerson, M. (2008). The Perils Of Patronizing. Retrieved April 24, 2010 from The Washington Post. Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/01/AR2008050102901.html
Posted By: Maryanne Campbell
Saturday, April 24th 2010 at 7:10PM
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“So, given Gerson’s words, I have to ask, what is your take on your religion? How do you feel about it and define it? What are your views?”

Maryanne: What a profound series of questions. People write books about the subject. I think it will be interesting to see what kind of response you get.

What is MY take on religion?

It can be a highly personal, intimate, sincere search for the presence of the Living God.

Or it can be membership in a group of like minded people in a community.

It can be liberating and loving. It can be rigid, intolerant and tyrannical. it can be deeply spiritual. Or it can be mechanical and superficial. It can be real and it can be phony.

I think it all depends on the individual seeker.

But, the bottom line is that every individual has the freedom to practice religion as he or she sees fit. Or to practice no religion at all.

How do I feel about it?

As the worlds most ancient scripture, the Rig Veda says, ‘GOD IS ONE. WE KNOW HIM BY MANY NAMES.”

Seeking the divine presence in my life, my words and actions is something I strive for. I strongly believe the essence of the divine is expressed in 1 John 4:16—“GOD IS LOVE. AND HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH IN GOD AND GOD IN HIM.”

How do I define religion?

It comes from the Latin word “religio” which means to care for, to respect.

The Latin root of the word “religion” is the Latin word “ligare”, to bind, to yoke, to join, to connect. We get our word “ligament” from “ligare”. It means any bonding structure, any connecting element.

So, I define religion as a system of thought and a way of life that connects, binds, unifies a person with the divine.

However, there isn’t only one definition. Everyone has the opportunity and the right to define it as they see fit.

Just a word of thanks for presenting such a serious, momentous question. You forced me to think about the subject more deeply. It is possible to give a quick superficial answer to your question. But that doesn’t do justice to the search for God by all humankind throughout the ages on every continent.

What a question!!!

Thank you for offering it!

Saturday, April 24th 2010 at 9:12PM
Richard Kigel
[I think it all depends on the individual seeker. ]

I concur with Brother Rich in that it depends on the individual. I don't go to (church) to mingle or mix up with the other church goers. I go to church out of obligation to fulfill the hebrews 10:25 commandment. If not for that reason, I'd not go at all. I love God, but I don't care for the concept of organized religion.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 3:34AM
Jen Fad
Jen... I'm with you... When I go to church it's to surround my self with the saints(most time they arent there) but I myself, am in a higher spiritual ground. A church is a dwelling designed as a meeting place for saints to gather and worship... But the church is in you.... That's what GOD looks at most...

Honestly, I have a problem with organized religion... I have come across so my hyporitcs in the church I attend... It was so overwhelming... That I stopped going so much... I felt it was taking away from my spiritual growth... After servics I would find myself in idol gossip about the church members, the pastor and his off beat remarks.. and the choir... I realized that my church was not healthy.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 4:28AM
Cynthia Merrill Artis
Maryanne Campbell,

Excellent Scholarship-

gerson said, "“Christianity was the religion held by slave masters .....But African Americans found a model of liberation in the Exodus."

So does this mean that paganChristianEuropeans were Pharoah---

A Tribe of Men that ruled and thought they were Creator?

and does this mean that the AfricanAmericaSlaves were the jews, led by Musa out of the wilderness?

neither of these two groups filled this description. no Musa, no Destruction of Pharoah, no wandering for their home--

the slave 1865---that slave was liberated;

yet THAT slave took the American of european paganAncestry as their 'God'----Pharoah........

THAT slave committed, in my opinion, a Great Crime against Humanity --

THAT slave acknowledged that kidnap, rape, pedeophilia, and murder were the attributes of their 'God'-and allowed Pharoah or masterPaganChristian to "really" believe he was 'God'.

no, maryanne, the africanAmerican community, in my opinion, is not driven to Christianity it is driven to love of Pharoah----a false Human 'God' ---

despised by the Monotheistic Thought, the Family of Adaam, of the Followers of Musa, isaIbnMaryam and the Muslim.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 8:17AM
robert powell
Gerson's column speaks more to the political and social aspects of religion. That's not even half a loaf, as he leaves out the most important part, the spiritual. I'll review within the spiritual context.

Organized religion is the means by which humans attempt to understand and give reason for their purpose in the world and existence in the universe. In the hands of man, in many ways, it has become more of a problem than solution, given the tribal nature of humans to band together under some banner -- religion, "race," nationality -- against each other, and end up doing everything that God teaches not to do, i.e. "sin" and ironically, in His name.

Which leads me to believe that humans do not have the mental capacity and spiritual maturity to really know and love God. Most of us cannot seperate ourselves from the physical context to think within the spiritual context. Religion helps, but it only provides a template rather than the whole thing, and the confusion of that leads to self-serving ends that serve man and not God. We read the Word and most still don't understand (but "think" they do), but blessed are those that do. For example, God said "judge ye not," and yet the most "holiest" judge all the time without the slightest concept of what they are doing. Its for God, not us. But God in every understanding of Him in the various Words tells us we're not perfect, but we still don't get what that means. For some of us that ignorance is willful.

Religion is one thing; faith is quite another. The two are mutually exclusive, and yet we are generally confused about that difference.

Religion gives it the "old college try" but I doubt we'll ever truly understand, if then, until we meet our Creator. And hope then that He is not too hard on us for messing it all up.

And I say all this as a Man of God. "Race" is really unimportant in this context.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 12:38PM
When the Bible speaks, in many variations,on the "wickedness of the flesh," it is referring to our enslavement to our physical selves, to the detriment of the spiritual. And it is that enslavement that keeps evil going.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 1:27PM
clark, wow, that was explained very well. What is life all about antway and we are all here, so now what. Did the creator of the trees, flowers, eyes, ears, cells, and everything beneficsl for destroying with is created. I don't think so. The spiritual creator, created ALL that was and is created and it is out of our control. We just have to except that we are here and apparently we are supposed to be here for a good purpose. Share goodneess because that's were benefits come out of, not destruction.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 1:34PM
if you get rid of the ears you can't hear, you get rid of the eyes you can't see, God, created what he wanted and it is here. You will have to decide what God you believe in and want to praise. I can't judge anyone because my eyes see wonderful things on earth and maybe others eyes can't see the beauty and wonder in other s things on this earth, I can only feel sorry because this planet is beautifully designed. What if the world was ONLY one eyed snakes, with no ears, and NO ABILITY TO FEEL LOVE OR ANYTHING. WOW I wonder what kind of world we are living in.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 1:44PM

Already this has been a fascinating exchange of ideas. Each one of us has had some signficant insight to contribute and from a different perspective.

We have an N.D. Buddhist, a Muslim, and several of us who attend a house of worship in the Christian tradition without feeling bound by the doctrines of what we call "organized" religion.

Some people have an innate sense that there is a God and that we are spiritual beings but do not feel that they need to belong to a particular religion in order to find that Divine Power. It is possible to find the presence of God during a silent walk in the woods or on a beach or even watching a sunset or just gazing at the night sky.

Anything that shows how insigificant we are compared to the Creator brings us to some deep spiritual insights.

Anything that shows us how to love, how to share goodness, how to stand up against the forces of evil, that is spirituality.

Organized religion is where folks attend a particular place, a church, a mosque, even a storefront or a private house, where fellow faithful gather and say pre-written prayers and sing praises to God together in communal worship.

Organized religion has rules and regulations, doctrines, beliefs and practices that the failthful must follow if they want to remain in good standing with the congregation.

In spiritual seeking, there are no rules, no doctrines, no requirements and no organization. These folks believe that God is everywhere and can be found inside each of us so why would we need to join an organization to find Him?

And, as so many of you have said, everyone has to find his or her own way in this.

Different strokes for different folks.

That's the way it has always been. And that is the way it always will be.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 1:49PM
Richard Kigel
Hey Hannah:

I just now read the beautiful insight you shared--and I wonder--is that anything you learned inside a house of worship? Or is that something you knew inside yourself?

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 1:51PM
Richard Kigel
inside myself after several losses in my life and , people that were close to my heart. I became very curios after the purpose of life and what is it for anywa.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 3:40PM
my conclusion, the purpose of life to me is to live a life of goodness, food, friends, finds of nsture, and explore all the wonders of this planet and enjoy it's wonder and surprise. How the trees grow, flowers appear, hair grow, etc. It takes years to learn about LIVING cells, that's what make life so intersting, and fulling. How birds have wings and we have arms and legs, just so many things to live for and explore. Great relations and experiences.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 4:03PM

Those are profound philosophical insights.

People write books and poetry and music about these questions of life.

I am willing to bet that you came to this deep knowledge from inside your self using your own mind and your own observations of the world.

I bet you did not receive this deepl knowledge in any house of worship or as a result of organized religion.

Clearly, you have discovered the ancient knowledge of God on your own.

That, in my opinion, is true spirituality. And it is available to every man, woman and child on the planet.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 4:15PM
Richard Kigel
thank you for this blog. I have a lot inside my heart that I want to shre. I am a christian and a follower of the prince of peace. Amen.
Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 7:02PM
These comments shows what many spiritual masters have learned. It is possible to arrive at the same truth by very different paths.

I believe that if someone follows his or her own religious tradition with faith , love and charity, each one will arrive at the same place of peace.

You all show how valid that is.

Sunday, April 25th 2010 at 7:38PM
Richard Kigel
For Clark--I would call him THE "PROFESSOR" because of his Ph. D level of knowledge, insight and expertise in government and public affairs.

He is an educator at heart, a clear, informed, lucid and inspiring one at that. He has taught me so much already!!!

He will always be "The Professor" to me.

Monday, April 26th 2010 at 8:45AM
Richard Kigel
You get an AMEN for that one Rich aka brother Cow. I am always true to my self under any label...even aka 'Shorty' lol (smile)

O.K. Clark you still don't have a nick name yet...
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
My tkae on religion, Maryanne is th same now s it was from the moment as a Catholic learning that if not for the Pope using is Holy Bible to prove that Africans were not human therefre making it legal in America for my people to be treated as property and theching straight from the Holy Bible that the faster we worked our selves to death9 the happy slave) athe better chance we had to gain a way to get the souls needed to get intoheaven...is still the same...

so glad we still have so much VOO DOO at least in the Black Churches.Lerned this about the same time "I" learned why we speak Ebonics and a whole lot of tings taht makes me so proud to be a member of this UNIQUE RACE still resisting ALL OF OUR CULTURE NOT BEING TAUGHT OUT OF SOME OF US, LIKE ME.(smile)


Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM

3. excuses to be : PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATIONS and not treating others as one wants to be treated.

Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
jen, it would be so nice if you would do a blog about what you mean about organized religion...do you still attend Mass, Jen?!? YOu see I can't fully understand what the two of you mean by what you and Cynthia said as all religions have a set of rules / rituals when you go to church.

We visit each others homes, we pray, we chant but when we chant we are actually saying workd in rythm and as we do it there are others in 198 different countrys doing the same thing...then we have a discussion meeting sometimes it is sort of we have read somethig for that month or weekly meeting and we discuss it, have quwstions and answers,,,then we either have snacks and socialize or have so much food one cn never be able to eat it all...

Sometimes we study the Christian religion as most of us are former Christians and th eBuddhist there may have been in another form of Buddhism,,,we have a lot of spanish people...but as I said recently, I am now learning about the Shiks...I still find it hard to beleive theris has never cahange,,,I must start studying the first Guru...OH, well It is some what compclicated as I have never read about this religion before.

I have always wanted to learn about Santara...a person told me she would help me get started, but she is no longer on the site,...my eyes are closing again...good night...please do the blog Jen it would be different and very interesting...learning is always great, (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
Thank you so much Clark and what you just explained is way I never say "I" have a "practice" that teachs peace and happiness and would rather used the word "spiritual". I use spiritual as with this "I" can better see the individual..or see the deed and not the label is what makes that individual as worthy or respect or not.(smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
...so sorry...I meant to say "I" never say,My N.D. Buddhist religion"...

but " my N. D. practice....(smile)...and, once again "I" take this time to once again to thank my Christian friends for helping me to realize...the ABUSE of the Christain faith...LOV AND RESPECT...
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
hannah, what your just commented on was what we in my practice call BUDDAH NATURE or we all have the powers to : do, see, good/bad, and why "I" have no problems with any religion or any individual..if it works in ones life to make them a WINNER OVER ANY AND ALL OBSTICLES IN LIFE...GO FOR IT...you are the only 'expert' on your own self...no one has to teach anyone how to feel happingess, pain, sight, fear ect. as we are all born with the ability to survive and to communicat in one way or the other. right ?!?....

Your comment also ( to me)is what "I" learned as a Christian and still believe, because "I" am an individual, and this is SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND. (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
great, how about that Clark?...

sorry for going off topic. (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM

Maryanne Campbell,

Excellent Scholarship-

gerson said,

“Christianity was the religion held by slave masters

.....But African Americans found a model of liberation in the Exodus."

So does this mean that paganChristian racistEuropeans were Pharoah---

------ A Tribe of paganMen that ruled and thought they were Creator?

and does this mean that the AfricanAmericaSlaves were the jews, led by Musa(as) out of the wilderness?

neither of these two groups filled this description.

no Musa(as), no Destruction of paganPharaoah no wandering for their home-- no Prophet--no Commandments

That Generationally UNEDUCATED African slave 1865---that slave was liberated;


THAT slave took the American of european paganChristianity as their 'God'----Pharaoh........

THAT slave committed, in my opinion, the Greatest Crime against Humanity -- Ever

THAT slave acknowledged that kidnap, rape, pedophilia, sadomasochism and murder were

the attributes of their 'God'--- -and allowed Pharaoh or masterPaganChristian to "really" believe he was 'God'.

-----------no, maryanne, the africanAmerican community, in my opinion, is not driven to Christianity

it is driven to love of Pharoah----a false Human 'God' --- despised by African Asian Monotheistic Thought,

the Family of Adaam(as), and all Words of Creator from, Torah to AzZaboor to AlQur'aan

Thursday, June 1st 2017 at 7:00PM
robert powell
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