Good afternoon Saints. I understand that the black church has always been the hub of ALL black interests-politics, education, sports (remember the church league), and even entertainment. I would like to know how far should the church (the kingdom of God) go as for as entertaining. Well, we all know that if you go to most traditional fundamental black churches, it is funny. My life has always been centered around the church. It's all I know. When I decided to backslide and experience going to the club, others saw the church in me. Not only am I in church, I am in the Holiness church. For you who don't understand: Holiness folk travel all over the place. E.g. Youth Convention, Women's Convention, Brotherhood Convention, Leadership Conference, National Holy Convocation, these are just to name a few. Most of these conventions are in a different city each year. Ya'll COGIC, PAW,COOLJ, and House of God say Amen! I say this because in these predominately black churches, many of our lives are centered IN the church. Ya'll know when we get out of church we talk about the church and plan for the next church event. Yes, believe it or not this is our entertainment. What entertains us watching folk dance in the aisles, watching people praising the Lord and allowing the Spirit to have control over them. Yes, it can be very funny. We laugh at how people come off with attitudes in the church during meetings, rehearsals, and even worship services. We plan our family vacations during these conventions. We shop and prepare for major church events and conventions, especially ya'll hat wearing Saints. We men wear the baddest suits we can find and can't afford. Many will neglect their household bills to make it out of town and be in the crowd. Although, most of the congregation don't even know that we're there.
My point is that in the black church it is entertaining whether it's intentional or not. Black folk are funny and church folk are funny. I do believe that this modern day 'church' has gone to far from the innocent entertainment most of us partake in. The other night I was web surfing on some black church sites. I came across a network for ministers and when I logged onto the site I became astonished. There was this woman apostle hosting a christian talk show with the demeanor as of a worldly woman. I think that she was trying to make her show the christian version as the Monique show. I don't know if this woman broadcast this web channel from her home, apartment, office at church or a studio. She did have an audience. On that same network there's another woman apostle who was in my opinion to flashy to be an apostle or any kind of woman of God. I could not see God in any of this. Everything was all about her, the channel named after her, the band named after her. She even had dancers on there. There was a male preacher on there who had his wife doing (performing) praise and worship. I don't know where the Hell the praise nor the worship was at.
Saints, I'm only 34 and most people my age are into this contempoary mess. I'm just old school holiness. In my church I still conduct 'devotional service' singing those old santified songs that just get the better the longer you sing it until everybody has been touched by the power. These songs that these people were singing was like they were in a club. They were worldy dancing and looked like they were headed to the club. I just believe that the church must be different. God never told us to conform to the world-sing like them, look like them, act like them. Church is suppose to be different. A refuge, a SANCTUARY. What do ya'll think. Has the church gone too far.
You've made some powerful observations. In a certain sense, the Holiness Church (broadly defined) was so attuned to keeping fellowship, that it could be said even their recreation--their "entertainment," if you will--revolved around the church. At a stricter time in our history, the mothers and deacons would look askance at all outside pursuits--movie-going, skating, bowling, even athletics--regardless of their intrinsic harmlessness. Perhaps it was just easier to teach that "saints don't go to the movies" than it was to equip believers to make godly entertainment choices and avoid worldly entanglements.
Now that our organizations have relinquished any authority over our entertainment choices, it is very evident that believers have worldlier sensibilities than the church of a generation or two ago. It often creates confusion and negative publicity for Christendom as a whole when some egregious example comes to light (I think of the "Christian" nude beaches that got some ink about a decade ago). But, more perniciously, it may be leading to a coarsening of our religious culture, and even a coarsening of the liturgical elements we adopt into our worship. Look how worldly beats and dancing were just "a youth thing" at "Christian" nightclubs and Gospel music concerts Friday night, but now are showing up in the pews and choir stands on Sunday morning.
Still, considering both sides of this question, I am reminded of when I was verbally lashed for being a fan of the old TV serial "The Lone Ranger." An older sister-in-the-Lord was telling me how when she was a teenager, her pastor forbid the young people to watch that program. I interjected that the Lone Ranger was a genuine hero, and promoted the values of truth and justice. "What problem could anyone have with that?" I asked rhetorically. She looked at me with incredulity. "Brother Gill," she answered, "violence is sin!"
I don't know if we'll ever come up with a standard that we can all agree on, but we can at least agree that we must protect our minds from being influenced by the junk peddled in the popular culture. Some folks believe they can do so even though they're watching HBO and other cable network programming that celebrates sex and violence. Others believe they have to throw out the television entirely, which really sounds too extreme. We've got to navigate some treacherous waters living this life. We'd better be seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
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