Is the African-American Church Silent? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I visited a Presbyterian church Sunday and the minister preached about using the spiritual gifts God has given us to do His work. He also said something that I haven't heard in ages. He said that the African-American church was silent in regards to addressing the plethora of social issues that plague us. Moreover, he said that we are merely concerned with the activities that go on in the church building. I was shocked when he made these statements! He then went on to say that in the next 5 years that we are going to experience some trying times. I hope this guy is not a prophet. He also said that some have said that we will address our problems when the situation gets to be so bad that it is obvious that somebody has to do something. However, the minister said that he was going to take proactive steps to address our problems. He said that he couldn't save the world but he could seek and achieve God's will for his life. I would like to hear your thoughts about my question.


-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002


I totally agree with the Presbyterian minister. In particular, our beloved African Methodist Episcopal denomination, when there are "issues" and/or "situations" (I recognize I am being vague in not being definitive about the "issues" and "situations") our powers that be play the "reassignment shuffle", do you read me?

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002

I must agree with him regarding the trying times. God is not pleased with the way things are being done in His church. Too many times we state the church of Allen, but we loose sight that it is God's church. There so many areas of concern. It sounds like the times prior to the reformation. There is no consideration for the pastors, people and community. There is so much spent on internal affairs and we wonder why there decay in the cities and churches everywhere. We better repent and get back to God's agenda. Making disciples, serving the poor and building up the Kingdom of God. The AMEC is not a kingdom, it was intended to be a vessel for soul winning and serving the needs of the people during a time of oppression. The real truth is that the AMEC has become the OPPRESSOR and is need of a healing and renewal. God save the AMEC from itself! My prayers are for spiritual renewal.

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002

These are trying times period! There have been occasions in which the church has been asleep. However, there are those who have tried to keep busy on the battlefield. This year our local church has committed its time and resources to community needs. One example has been supporting the AIDS effort through financial contributions and seminars within the church. We provide a place each week for support groups. To bring effective change within the community of faith, one must begin with one's own self. We must place "theory" into "praxis." When we practice what we preach, what a difference there will be.

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002

While social programs are good and should be pursued, they treat only the symptoms of most of them. Many problems are caused by sin, including a lot of poverty.

In the midst of any benevolence programs that are pursued, I'd hope evangelism takes first place.

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002

The gospel of Matthew displays a message which is social. Evanglism should involve love and compassion, and not have a hidden agenda. In my community, yes we have programs because we see a need. Before our program, we feed our neighbors and those in attendance because they are hungry. Then we continue feeding spiritually to teach that it was love which compels us to do so. Our youth bible study has tripled by children in the community attending. Why? Because we are social yet relevant in our approach. Before I witness to you, I must get to know you. There must be dialogue. There must be love!

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2002

I agree! We are also commanded to be wise as serpents in our dealings with the world. A former pastor of mine once pastored in a small community on a main route through far west Texas. Many people passing through town would stop by and ask for a few dollars for food, lodging, or gas. Upon discussing this with the other pastors they found they were being scammed. Seems the same people were hitting up every church in town, making the rounds, gathering up cash.

So they all made an agreement that no more money would be dispensed from the churches for transients. Instead the churches bought vouchers for meals at the local McDonald's, rooms at a motel, and gas from a gas station. Upon finding that no cash was forthcoming many of these "needy" people left in a huff. But the interesting part came in the second part of the minister's agreement.

Not only would vouchers replace money, but the vouchers were not to be dispensed at the churches. Instead they were handed out at the police station, and a check would be run in the process. That dropped the number of requests for aid dramatically.

Turns out many of these people were illegal aliens, had warrants for their arrests, were driving stolen vehicles, or at minimum were driving illegally with expired documentation or no insurance.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

While it is true that there are scam and con artists out there that will use the resources that the church offers, we must do what we can to help those who are lost. "In as much as you've done it unto the least of these you've done it unto me." I understand full well, RP, how those acts can occur, our church sits in the heart of downtown and transients sleep on our porch. And likewise, during the week and on Sunday's, they come seeking help. Our new pastor is addressing this need by making sure that he knows the places where these persons can get the kind of help they need right then, i.e. baths, hot meals, day labor, etc., and the church is supplying what help it can.

The previous pastor was not evangelistic or mission oriented, therefore, the people's eyes are just now beginning to come open to what is required of God's people. They are beginning to understand that the role of the church is more than paying the budget. Our sincere prayer and hearts desire is that we are able to meet the entire needs of individuals - physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Our heart bubbles with joy that there are African-American (AME) churches throughout this country that are meeting the needs of displaced, discouraged, and disadvantaged people, they are about the business of Kingdom building. Thanks Pastor Ray for naming just a few. I wonder if any of our larger churches unite with smaller sister churches to engage them in outreach ministeries? A coalition of kindred spirits working for the kingdom.

Let's keep in mind that these are God's children who need our help and that we ought to be feeding body, mind, and soul.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

Our church has adopted a smaller congregation to assist. The pastor has committed to a full time service to his smaller church and quit his other job! He wanted to pastor his flock. That is commendable, yet he decreased his weekly income by 60%. Our church supplements his salary by contributing to his church. In return, this pastor helps our church by assisting in our home and hospital visitations. We have contributed choir robes and other items to this church. When it is time to attend our district meetings, we pay for his night's lodging. The brother is thankful and truly trying to make a difference. His family is grateful. We are blessed to reach back and assist others in need.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

Pastor Ray,

Hallelujah!!! I'm dancing!!! Set the standard. Oh, how my soul makes her boast in the Lord.

I love you and your congregation. Work a work that when told nobody will believe. Reach out and touch those within to be able to meet needs, they want to help, too. God bless you, my brother.

By the way, Pastor, I'm told that the congregation in Palace AME Church on January 21, thought Dr. King was in the house after hearing Rev. Clark delivered the Word. My source jealoused me - but as much as I wanted to be there, I couldn't be in two places.

Dear brother, keep lifting God's children to higher heights.

That's where we can help as well. Our smaller (mission) churches can really be on a mission for the Lord, when we provide the help they need to do the Will of God.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

The peculiar silence of the black Church is a function of her myopic political posturing. When issues regarding "social justice" are defined and limited to racial economic inequality, lampooning Republican policies, criminal justice or portals of access into mainstream white America, the black Church resonates a loud, albeit cacaphonous, voice for constructive change. The black Church views herself as the unofficial Vicar for the Disenfranchised. However, topics which warrant equal if not more church invlovement are completely ignored. Consider the conspicuous absence of traditional black clergy in debates about abortion, genetic engineering, or ecological conservation. In my work and travels across the US I find it somewhat curious that the latter topics are practically conceded as being of "white-interest" hence our ecclesisastical invisibility at such conferences. I once coordinated a symposium which brought together theoretical physicists and leading church educators to discuss and debate the merits of the "Big Bang" hypothesis and the creation account provided in Genesis Chapter 1. Even though one of the panelists was a brilliant particle physicist, personal friend of me and my wife, heck, blacker than sun-tanned me, yet the turnout was disappointingly low. Now, if I had coordinated that same symposium around disparities in drug-sentencing guidelines and the "betrayal" of Justice Clarence Thomas, we wouldn't have been able to accomodate the overflow audience. This peculiar dichotomy (lound on social science, silent on "hard" science) which we have created in the black church is counter-productive because it limits our collective creativity. The GodFather of Soul declared in the late '60s, "Say It Loud, I'm Black & I'm Proud". If we are Black & Proud our concerns extend to the total human experience. We must put a stop to this silly anti-intellectual activity of reducing our involvement to exclusively racial politics to confirm legitimacy. QED

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

Interesting observation, and upon reflection I'd have to say that from my chair it appears true. I'd add that while the white churches are involved in the hard science area, with liberal and conservative Christian groups staking their positions and engaging in debate, they are mostly absent from the social science areas you mentioned.

From what I can tell the white churches don't discuss these issues in depth because they believe those battles are largely over in the US on a grand scale. What remains are individual situations, groups, and people still to be dealt with. For example, Sister Denise has had to deal with the KKK her area, so a battleground remains in her part of Montana. But I've lived in California, Washington state, Florida, and Texas, and can attest that at least in my areas the KKK are regarded with disdain, and receive no hearing at all from the white community both Christian and non-Christian.

So there may remain individual laws that need addressing, and civil action may be needed against individual people or businesses practicing discrimination, but these are "as they arise" situations. The nationwide battle is pretty much over, and those who attempt to pursue such battles on a national level are viewed as beaters of dead horses. The longer they continue, the more they are viewed in the white community as a fringe group, and the less credibility they'll have. Put simply, they're ignored.

I have also observed another move within the white church though, and that is a move away from the hard science areas. The realization is starting to sink in that that we've gained about as much ground as we can in those areas too. The anti-abortion movement, pro-creationism movement, and similar things are still alive, but there is emerging a realization that the battle must now move toward the spiritual. It is revival that really transforms communities, and that is brought about in the supernatural. Only the Holy Spirit's drawing people to salvation on a grand scale will really usher in what we're all looking for, and for that reason Christians such as myself are re- directing our efforts to prayer and spiritual warfare. We want to see the Book of Acts manifest in our communities. It's happened many times in history, and we're overdue for another episode. So whatever the tone of your earthly tent, and wherever you fellowship, focus on the root, and not the symptom.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2002

Professor Dickens,

Sir, you have made a very cogent statement. I am particularly in agreement with your statement that if we are " Black and proud, our concerns must extend to the total human experience".


-- Anonymous, January 31, 2002


You asked if the AA Church silent? WE ARE DEAD! We as a people are not addressing issues like getting ready to meet the Lord Jesus, but still dealing with the race card and trying to be accepted by the white man. The only I need acceptance from is Jesus. AAAAAMMMMMEEEEENNNN!

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2002

I must adress Rev. Wheatley who states thast the ame church has become the opressor. The AME Church has been and still is the most liberating institution and vehicle that we as African Americans have. And I also must address Jazz Man who staes the the AME Church is dead. The AME Church is not dead, and I feel sorry if you are speaking from a local church perspective, meaning your own local church. The AME Church is more vibrant than ever before. Yes we as a denomination have a few items we must address, but so does every other major denomination in the world. I feel that people should use their time more to be supportive and pro AME Church than anti. It is easy to be "anti" anything, but it takes courage to help be a part of positive change to help make our church what I klnow it can be, and what God would have it be.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2002

Dear Rev. Nelson,

Please read my posts in regards to this subject again. I am baffled as to how you concluded that I said that the AME church is dead. The original question was " Is the African-American church silent?" This question covers all African-American churches.

Jesus said that He would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Therefore, since the AME church is a part of Jesus's church, it is quite alive and as you can see from previous contributions it is addressing some of the problems of the African-American community. However, it can't do all the work by itself, it needs the help of other congregations.

Sir, you made a terrible mistake by misquoting me on this bulletin board. Please show that you have some decency by apologizing to me publicly on this board.


-- Anonymous, February 05, 2002

Dear, sir or ma please my dear fellow in christ may i use this

opportunity to introduce myself to you,my name is charles Godwin and my brother's name is John Godwin a citizen of Congo but because of the problem which occured in our country about the (fire)this lead us to being in one church in Accra,Ghana. so please for God sake i am begging you in the name of Jesus kindly help us with anny assistance you can offer us and i pray God will really reward you according to your heart desire, (AMEN).I am waiting for your success reply.THANK YOU VERY MUCH. charles.

-- Anonymous, March 04, 2002

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