When we shopped for a house two years ago, all four of us had our "dream" requirements and those had to be fulfilled in order for us to move. It had to feel right for everyone, not just one or two of us. We knew the minute we looked at this place that it was meant for us and we were all in agreement.
I think we just found that in a church. Only thing is, it's a black church. Have you seen my picture? We are what some black folk might call "whitey." But I love this church and all indications were that they loved me right back! I'm pretty sure I was supposed to be black. I'm so convinced after tonight that I wonder if maybe Jesus wasn't black. He must not have been, though, because if he was black, the preaching in the Bible would have had more exclamation points.
I have black friends, by the way, who will hopefully tell me whether or not it's disrespectful to call it black church, but the distinction needs to be made for the purpose of this post so I'm sticking with the term with no offense intended. Is it more PC to call it "African American church?" I don't know, so I'm just calling it black church because I've honestly never heard the term "African American church." It sounds like something a prissy-pants would be forced to say.
My oldest daughter and my husband went there on Sunday while I was at the winery, so they had prepared me. I know what you're thinking. You're either thinking, "Sinner!" or "I want some wine."
I was a little afraid I would feel out of place or like they wouldn't want me there, but there is none of that in a black church! It was like going down south to my grandma's house in Kentucky, except there was more hugging at black church. I even got a group hug on my very first visit tonight! People hugged me that I didn't even know before they said, "Hello." We weren't the only white people there. They were few, but there were others there, so it wasn't like they were hugging us because we were special. They were just hugging us because we were there and that made them happy. I could tell they pour love on everyone who walks through that front door.
As always happens when you're where God wants you to be, the subject of the class tonight was exactly to the tee about several things I am currently dealing with. It's scary how God can pinpoint your life via a speaker when he really wants to. I had to reign it in. I had to shut my mouth. I had to keep from speaking up and dominating the conversation. There were at least five different times when I could have spoken up, but I only spoke out once. For me to hold my tongue is torture. So of course the speaker even talked about that very thing! Every word seemed aimed at me. My neck will probably be sore tomorrow from nodding vigorously in agreement.
If you know me, you know my speaking style and the kind of places I like to spend time. You wouldn't expect me to love a small church whose parking lot is full of potholes, the porch light hangs precariously from it's anchor, the speaker says, "If you ain't got the Holy Spirit, then you never gonna have nothin'!" and proper English is second to a black vernacular I'm not accustomed to. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not making fun. It was raw and real and unadulterated. I understood most of what was said, but the important thing is that what I didn't understand... well, I felt it. There were no bells and whistles needed. I must admit, I miss the coffee bar though.
I don't care how they talk. I understood the language. The spirit of that place dwells within me. It was a spirit of love, truth, transparency, hope, and faith above all things worldly. They "get" God. I want God. I've missed the passion for God that my family and I once had - together.
|I just took this picture recently of the giant cross in Effingham, IL, the town|
I used to live in and thought, "Now what am I going to use that picture for?"
Ask and ye shall receive, sista!
I always wondered if I'd like a black church. I remember having a conversation years ago at my old church with a gal who told me that in a staff meeting, they asked the staff what could get the church more pumped up and she responded, "More black people!" She was right. They Amen when it hits them, they wave their hands like nobody's looking, and they love God without a doubt. It's a real life Madea movie.
I once said that I must have been black in a previous life because I love T.D. Jakes, I love Oprah, I love Barack Obama (okay, I'm going to lose some of you there), I love Tyler Perry, and the list goes on. I felt right at home there tonight. I have a feeling someday they will refer to me as Sister Cindy. I've only been there once, so time will tell if I am really an outspoken black woman in a little white girl's body.