A new documentary takes a critical look at the evolution of the historical Black Church in America and puts megachurch pastors under a harsh spotlight, especially those who are treated like superstars and amass wealth from preaching a Gospel they might not necessarily adhere to.
The institution of the church is at the heart and soul of black America, for whom the church has been, among many things, an escape, a means of upward mobility and a celebratory community where its leaders are respected and members’ humanity affirmed.
“Black churches are different for a variety of reasons. One, is the need to address the social, political, the cultural and economic ramifications of anti-black racism in the United States,” explains Dr. Anthony Pinn, professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, in Black Church Inc.
Pinn, an atheist and expert in African American religion, is just one of several voices in Black Church Inc. that help lay out the historical, cultural and social significance of the age-old institution for viewers. Other commentators include activists and New York City pastors the Rev. Herbert Daughtry and the Rev. Taharka Robinson, T.J., founder of the watchdog website Church Folk Revolution, CNN religion writer John Blake and Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation, among others.
One church historian, in a separate discussion with The Christian Post about slavery and segregated churches,compared the traditional Black Church’s place among African Americans to the role of the synagogue among ancient Jews: “The church was the one place where African Americans could be human, could be leaders, could have community, could have solidarity. So the church, in some respects, is more like the synagogue was for the ancient Jews. It’s a place of community, it’s a place of empowerment.”
But what has happened to the revolutionary and rebellious Black Church that emerged more than 200 years ago amid slavery? Instead of being tended and fed by self-sacrificing and community-catalyzing ministers, are congregants being plundered by wolves in sheep’s clothing? Instead of preaching prophetically and being Jesus’ hands and feet, are “Pastor” and “Bishop” more focused on tickling ears and collecting tithes?
Source: Christian Post | NICOLA MENZIE