What I’ve seen at Church
The United States is one of the most religious wealthy states, and the numbers remain fairly steady. With so many Christians and interpretation of what it means to be a Christian and how to showcase Christianity, it’s no surprise there are so many denominations from Mormon to Black Baptist. Yet, with so many believers and so many denominations the number of Americans who are members of a church or synagogue has declined from 70% in 1992 to 55% in 2016. I have been a member of three churches but have attended numerous over the years. To date, I am like the many millennialist who have yet to find a church home in my area of Florida. Here’s a list of reasons why I’ve been solo praising for some time or going through churches like a playa going through their hoes.
1. Church is TOO much of a business
Down in Florida, churches are businesses. They are money oriented and use religion, fake promises and cherry picked Bible verses to try to finesse money out of church goers. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in reaping what you sow. If God blesses you, you should return that blessing to your church and/or community. However, the history of tithing can go back to when the Catholic Church was in political power and similar to these mega churches use empty promises of huge financial success or spiritual punishment for tithing or not tithing. Florida is the first time I ever saw an infomercial for holy water. Although most clergy earn about $45,000, pastors in Florida warm between over $73,000 to over $101,000. However, I will say size of church matters.
2. Churches are TOO damn big
Between televangelists as churches so big that there are multiple campuses, churches feel impersonal. Too many people come to follow the hype of a famous pastor with no intention of being a part of the body of Christ. Church is a status changer not a spirit changer. The impersonal relationship between a mega church pastor and his or her congregation can easily be seen in the general impersonal sermons.
3. Sermons are motivational speeches with cherry picked Bible verses
I’m tired of the “If you believe, you can achieve” speeches mainstream pastors send out. Church is a place of encouragement and healing. Constant feel go messages give a false illusion to Christians that God is a big wishing well that if you holler enough (primarily to make a show for TV and live stream viewers) that your problems will disappear and all your financial dreams will come true. I always see a red flag when a pastor does not give any background of a verse used in a sermon or does not even show the verse but says it with the expectation that the congregation will blindly follow because they care more about hype than truth.
4. Pastors are hypocritical.
The drama that I’ve heard about churches is almost laughable. Pastors preaching about sin while cheating. Pastors of churches with predominantly black congregations never acknowledging racial injustices or supporting political parties and agendas that have recent and deep rooted history in belittling black and brown communities. Pastors talking about humility living obscenely lavish lives. There’s nothing wrong in being successful at what you do. But I strongly doubt it is God’s will for a pastor to have a private jet when God’s own Son was happy to have someone wash His feet with her hair after walking around.
5. Church is a show
The bright strobe lights, surround sound, big screens are all nice if I’m at a Beyoncé concert. However, when the praise music is longer than the sermon, there’s a problem. When the Female pastors and First Ladies got on more makeup than a RuPaul drag race contestant, there’s a problem. When the pastors’ suits shine brighter than King Solomon’s Temple, there’s a problem. Although it is great to have modern technology to move with the times and move the audience spiritually, I go to church to learn and grow, not just be entertained.
Church is a precious part of someone’s life. It is often the cornerstone for the development of values that spill into work and relationship decisions. Unfortunately, the image of church has been tainted with a long history of taking advantage of its members politically, economically, spiritually and physically. It is sad that over time I have become incredibly skeptical of churches. However, I have had church homes in prior locations with congregations that I loved and pastors that I trusted and respected. I know my church home is out there.
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