Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, September 15, 2008

Does one need attend church to do God’s work?

As I was leaving the YMCA last week after a workout I encountered a gentleman as I was walking to my car. As I was opening my car door the gentleman said from afar, “As salamm alakaim,” which is an Islamic greeting meaning “peace” or “peace be upon you.”

I really didn’t know how to take his greeting initially because I’m not a Muslim. I’m just someone who is trying to live his truth.

I rarely delve into the religion discussion for various reasons. But I think now is as good of time as any to share my personal thoughts on the church and religion.

First off, I’m a child of God who has been given the precious gift of life. I'm of African heritage and I’m a citizen of the world who resides in America. I believe in humanity irrespective of perceived differences in terms of religion, color, sexuality, and social status.

I don't subscribe to nor confine myself to the jurisdiction of a specific religious. I’m merely a spiritual being. While I think all religions are good I chose not to be part of one. To me attempting to live a good life is more important to me than professing a religious affiliation.

It’s important for me to be honest rather then attempting to be right. Living my truth and serving humanity based on the blessings God has given me is my chief aim.

For a long time I had a big problem with religion and the church but not some much anymore. From a historical standpoint religion, particularly Christianity was utilized as tool for oppression during slavery. The religion was an instrument racists used to justify enslavement and keep Africans in a state of subordination.

Now, in my greater wisdom I know it wasn’t the religion that forced servitude-it was the racists and their twisted interpretations of Gods’ word that fueled their actions.

Religion and the church has been a vital part in the African American experience in the United States. For centuries commencing with institutionalized bondage belief in God is all one had in dealing with bondage.

But our forefathers turned a negative into a positive.
The African American church was vital in the formation of institutions of higher learning to manifest throughout the south. Colleges like Howard, Clark, Fisk, Tennessee St., and Grambling were erected to facilitate the need African Americans had to be educated because whites didn’t want us at their centers of learning.

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond the church was targeted by racists because they knew he power of belief in the African American community. Churches were bombed by racists to break the collective will of African American’s spirit and soul. By violating African American temples of worship racists attempted to further curtail mainstream advancement.

Though religion has been instrumental in the African American community it’s also been divisive. It can promote separation rather than unity because many think their beliefs are superior to others.

Depending on the level of open-mindedness of those involved discussing religion can turn sour because many are quick to defend something that’s dear to their hearts. Sometimes ones faith clouds objectivity.

Two of the greatest leaders of all time were Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. One was a Baptist and the other a Muslim. Though both embraced different religions but their aim was the same. They wanted to liberate the oppressed masses.

Despite their differences they both were greeted with open arms at the gates of heaven because they did God’s work.

Another issue I have with some churches is some pastors use the word of God to make people feel good on Sunday simply to collect tides while doing little to help one deal with society Monday through Saturday.

I believe churches should better reflect the environment in which we live and address the problems that reside in it. This burden falls on the pastor some of which have agendas other than serving God.

Not all churches or pastors subscribe to the latter but we all know some do.

I believe in God but I don’t attend church. Does that make me not worthy of Gods love?

I believe God is everything therefore I consider the world to be my church. Where ever I go I believe the voice inside of me is God guiding me. I personally don’t need to join a church for further validation.

I'm just doing the work God has given me to do while attempting to live my truth.

Categorize me where you wish. I care little about how I’m judged because God is the ultimate judge, not man.

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