B Stands for Building / Thinking About Religious Unity



I was watching TVOne (check it out if you're fed up with BET, or just need some balance) this past Sunday: "Divine Restoration," this show where they go to a black church and fix it up -- kinda like extreme home makeover, black church edition (except I don't think TVOne has enough money yet to really do an extreme makeover, but still, slapping a few fresh coats of paint on the walls and getting some accessories from Ikea went a long way in fixing up this Black Christian Nationalist church in Atlanta). Anyway, that's what caught me: that the church was a BCN church. It was called The Shrine of the Black Madonna and was very heavily influenced by pan-african thought and african religions. I started thinking about how vital it is that we connect with those ways that kept our ancestors in such close connection with their higher "selves."

Then I talked with a friend of mine this weekend about the idea of merging african spiritual practices with black christianity. We of course touched on Ethiopia and coptic christianity, etc. But at the essence of her skepticism (for lack of a better word) was the fact that she had experienced first-hand some african practices and was completely uncomfortable with them, even to the point of thinking they were satanic in their nature.

My question then was: do you think you felt that because it was indeed true? or might we be conditioned to stay away from our true selves, or at least some of those things that make up who we are historically (therefore, make up who we are, period)?

Which led us to analyzing (or trying to figure out) the reason why black folk (self-proclaimed "black christians") are so stand-offish when it comes to embracing african spirituality. And we attempted to answer the dilemma of creating a bridge to fill the gap between these aspects of our spiritual character as black people in america.

The conclusion (with no research, what do you expect?) was that we need to dialogue more about it. We need to have panels and workshops where we are not just asking people of various religious sects what they believe, but challenging them to answer the question of how they are similar to other african/black religious practices and spiritual beliefs.

Then this morning I was reading this Billy Graham interview and really feeling it to my surprise! Seriously, I always looked at that dude as some evil type character. But there's not much that I can disagree with in his words here.

Then I peeped this article on the discovery of a statue of the so-called egyptian goddess of war, Sekhmet. And basically this reminded me of another part of this weekend's convo -- the reason why my friend believes(ed) that what she experienced was influenced by something anti-God, was because they were calling on spirits of war and destruction (not to mention her interpretation that they are worshiping many gods). But my question in response was, even in the old testament, doesn't God help the Israelites destroy their enemies? Doesn't he allow plague, etc, to come of nations? And it brought me to the powerful words of Malcolm X, and I asked her what she thought about him instructing us to "send to the moon" anyone who dares lay a hand on us or those we love. (and don't the Native Americans, and others who we call polytheist, really worship One true and supreme God? Check out Of Water and the Spirit, by Malidoma Patrice Some.)

What's for d--- sure is that we need to be building on it.

p.s. what's up with this Yellow Dust cloud sweeping across Asia? Weird. Apparently, it ain't nothing new.

p.p.s. and check out Aristide seeing a little bit of himself in Nelson Mandela. ok, ok.

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