Free Articles  >>  Religion >>  Page 1  >> 

Black Clergy Taking the High Road or Taking a Hike on Social Reform

Every Sunday (and for some folks it is every Saturday), millions of people put on their “Sunday best” and pack the pews, padded seats, folding chairs and rough hewn benches of facilities nationwide that constitute their places of spiritual worship.

While religion is practiced the world over, the connection for Black people to their church and the Black clergy who run them, seems to surpass all others, thus the role of Black preachers themselves has also followed that exalted path.

“Our culture has changed. Blacks have surpassed being an ethnic group, we are a whole cultural dynamic and what we always had in common was the church,” states Elene Patton, Co-Director, Primary Education, Davis Park Church of Christ. “Black clergy today not only have to preach the gospel, but they have to ‘perform’ for the attendees.”

Unfortunately, there are many Black clergy who have abused their positions as one of God’s messengers here on earth to the detriment of the parishioners who put their faith more in the messenger and less on the message.

Many practicing today seem to have lost their mission and instead of taking their communities higher, they have simply taken them for granted.

Despite the dangers associated with acquiring knowledge, biblical teachings became the infrastructure for Black families, particularly during slavery, and over time the Black clergy became the highly exalted spokesperson. The founding fathers of religious denominations that grew out of discrimination and ostracism brought forth community-focused churches and these ministers were not only great orators in their pulpits, but also significant advocates in their communities.

James Henrietta. who wrote Richard Allen and African-American Identity: A Black Ex-Slave in Early America’s White Society Preserves His Cultural Identity by Creating Separate Institutions, highlighted the success of Allen who was born a slave, but rose above his condition to not only became free, but also to become a tremendous influence on the church.

Allen and another Methodist pastor, Absalom Jones, decided to leave the main White Methodist church they had been a part of because of this treatment and they created an independent worship experience for African Americans.

Up from the shackles of slavery and through the Civil War, the Black clergy continued to make their mark on society and to lift their communities.

In New York’s well-known neighborhood of Harlem, another mighty man of God was forging a legacy into the 20th Century. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., who many may only know as the father of the late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., laid his own ground work from his pulpit.

He was called to pastor Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in December 1908 and during his tenure, he not only increased the congregation to over 14,000 and directed the building of a new church, he was also involved with building one of the first community recreation centers in Harlem in the 1920s.

Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. was a founder of the National Urban League as well as an early leader in the NAACP. His son, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. succeeded him at the helm of Abyssinian and took his advocacy role to the halls of Congress (1945-67, 1969-71) where he sponsored landmark legislation that positively impact social welfare issues nationwide, but especially in hard hit urban communities such as Harlem. This legislation included a minimum wage act, anti-poverty acts and bills that provided federal aid to education.

There is a strong history between the Black clergy and social reform throughout American history and while a few other names come to mind, only Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been recognized as the most visible global figure among the Black clergy who spoke not only truth to power from the pulpit, but added prayers to action in the community.

He spoke for the masses, but kept his focus on the daily struggles of his people. He shunned the trappings that many of the Black clergy of today relish in while their parishioners struggle, but the legacy he left behind during his lifetime has fueled the hopes of millions around the world.

“There was a time when the Black clergy was the voice of the people and, as in the case of Rev. King, the victim of the violence associated with standing up for the rights of others. Unfortunately, many of the Black clergy who have been ‘called to preach’ have to come to the pulpit with a multimedia message, not social reform, and they look more like entertainers,” adds Patton.

“Even with this mindset, people still have high expectations about their ministers and less connection to the Word and when the ministers fall short, the consequences are steep.”

Most recently, Atlanta’s Bishop Eddie Long was brought up on charges of sexual misconduct that he and his legal team are hoping will be settled out of court through mediation.

Many of his parishioners continue to stand behind him while others have left the church and mirror the thoughts of many who wonder what this all means.

According to Dr. Wallace Best, Professor of Religion at Princeton who wrote Lessons from the Rev. Eddie Long Scandal: Some Historical Context states, “If nothing else, the Bishop Long same-sex scandal has provided us with a crucial teaching and learning moment, and we must seize it. To my mind, one of the most important lessons is this: If your pastor drives a Bentley and wears a watch with a value equivalent to your annual salary, it is time for you to find another church. But the lessons go even deeper, cutting to the heart of Black church history and culture, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and sexuality.”

The Black community needs to return to understanding God’s word and redefining the role of the Black clergy as the messenger and not the new messiah. Many are now asking questions of the Black clergy today and wondering who among them is really taking the high road for the people and who may need to take a hike.
About Author Meta J. Mereday :

Meta J. Mereday is a writer for <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, an online magazine dedicated to issues affecting African American men. Visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> to view Local Online Classifieds &amp; Job Classified Black Business Directory. To read more about Black clergy visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.

Article Source:
Article Url:

Article Added on Saturday, April 28, 2012
Other Articles by Meta J. Mereday

Black Students Still Waiting For Superman
While the news was briefly all abuzz with the $100 million donation from one of the Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg to help bolster the New Jersey school system, the plight of the Black students, in many of the poorest performing schools districts continues to take a back seat in the discussion. Whether to pay more in salaries to recruit more qualified teachers, increase funding for much needed supplies or to repair and upgrade outdated buildings are definitely important items to consider,...

Investing and Black Males The Importance of Securing Futures
Saving money is always high on the agenda during an economic crisis for all families struggling to make ends meet when there is less. Unfortunately, with the increase in job losses and business closures, the concept of saving money and income investing to “build a nest egg for the future” has taken a back seat to more practical realities including keeping a roof overhead and food on the table for most families today. Putting a little aside, which was a long held expression that meant taking...

Parental Influence Missing in Modern Black Athletes
There was a time in professional sports, especially in football, when an athlete who had just scored a touchdown or made a significant play would always look into the camera and say, “Hi Mom” or “Thanks Pop.” The parental involvement in the development of athletes, particularly Black athletes has taken a definite turn and it is not too positive. Over-aggressive agents and single-minded coaches have often taken the place of the parents in the decision making of promising athletes with promises...

Black owned Businesses Addressing the How To When Feeling the Why Bother
With all the discussion about the growth industries including health, IT, education, green technologies, etc. that will lead the country out of its fiscal slump, you do not hear much about Black-owned businesses being a “growth area,” but it should be. The primary reason for the launch of many Black-owned businesses was the “concrete ceiling” effect within corporate America that drove promising Black executives into the entrepreneurial arena due to limited advancement opportunities. Other...

Addressing the Black Experience and the Impact of Credit Checks and Ratings
People of color are often accused of being hypersensitive when it comes to “perceived discriminations” and there is little recourse when there are issues that they feel they are being specifically singled out. A case in point is credit checks that many Blacks feel are used against them because of their historically low scores in comparison to their White counterparts. As credit rating checks are being used more and more for housing and even employment, the question is clear as to whether there...

Starting up Your Own Business Is it For You
According to Entrepreneur, there are an estimated 600,000 businesses that are started annually in a wide range of industries and that number changes very little due to economic conditions at hand. In other words, in good times, starting up your own business occurs because ideas as well as funding flows more freely and, in bad times, increased job layoffs and business closures provide incentives to starting up your own business or to buy other struggling operations and to re-launch them. The...

Economic Recession Hits Black Men Hard
There is a saying that when White people are in a recession, that Black people are in a depression and that is quite true in this current economic recession. People of color, especially Black people, and most particularly Black men are feeling the full brunt of the economic recession that has often resembled a depression that mirrors the “Great One” of the 1930s. Articles in mainstream publications, including the Washington Times and others, highlight the impact that the recession has had on...

Finally Black Farmers Settlement Appears Near
While the final amounts may vary, it is clear that those rallying for the Black farmers’ settlement to be, can almost rest assured that those long suffering laborers, many of whom have passed on, will finally receive the funds for a judgment they were awarded over a decade ago. Regal Magazine reported earlier about the plight of the Black farmers’ settlement, including Black and Native American farmers, who were part of a judgment in the Pigford case in 1997. At the time of our initial...

Black Veterans Still Not Receiving Their Due
With a Black President, many discussions have been re-kindled regarding the treatment of Blacks in various facets of American society. One area that still lacks in the depth required to first, identify problems and issues, and second, outline and implement solutions involves the care and support of Black veterans. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine all the problems and issues that specifically impact Black veterans and what they have been lacking from the country they have served for...

Adrian Fenty How His Losing Campaign May Help Others
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines arrogance as “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.” This is one of the terms that were used to describe why Adrian Fenty was not re-elected as mayor of the nation’s capitol. As we approach a major mid-term election period, questions are being raised about a number of local, state and national campaigns. In some locations, the primaries decided the next elected official because of the party...

Click here to see More Articles by Meta J. Mereday
Publishers / Webmasters
Article ID: 371114
DELINK URL from Authors Bio
REMOVE Article
Tell A Friend
Leave A Comment!
Download this article in PDF
Report Article!
Search through all the articles:

198 Users Online!!
Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
Religion >> Top 50 Articles on Religion
Category - >
Advertising Advice Affiliate Programs Automobiles
Be Your Own Mentor Careers Communication Consumers
CopyWriting Crime Domain Names DoT com Entrepreneur Corner
Ebooks Ecommerce Education Email
Entertainment Environment Family Finance And Business
Food & Drink Gardening Health & Fitness Hobbies
Home Business Home Improvement Humour House Holds
Internet And Computers Kiddos and Teens Legal Matters Mail Order
Management Marketing Marriage MetaPhysical
Motivational MultiMedia Multi Level Marketing NewsLetters
Pets Psychology Religion Parenting
Politics Sales Science Search Engine Optimization
Site Promotion Sports Technology Travel
Web Development Web Hosting WeightLoss Women's Corner
Writing Miscellaneous Articles Real Estate Arts And Crafts

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the views of and/or its owners.

Copyright © AwareINDIA. All rights reserved || Privacy Policy || Terms Of Use || Author Guidelines || Free Articles
FAQs Link To Us || Submit An Article || Free Downloads|| Contact Us || Site Map  || Advertise with Us ||
Click here for Special webhosting packages for visitors of this website only!
Vastu Shastra

Personal eMail Hosting Provided By AwareIndia

Company IDS