Here in lies the problem of a CHRIST-LESS culture. The preacher I spoke about in PART I was posing the question. Where is Jesus in our churches, and where is Jesus in the preaching? As he spoke on that concept, my mind went into a litany of questions that do in fact include Jesus in our living.
1. Why can’t we have unity in the church anymore?
2. Why do people live one way inside and then live totally different on the outside?
3.Where are the leaders who lead under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not by the their feelings or their pocket kickbacks?
4. When will children and youth run to the church house again and be fully embraced, cared for, nurtured, guided and discipled without the hazing of cultural norms.
5. Why is it so much dissension, disparity, hatred, fighting, back biting among the laity and even with some clergy?
6. Why is it so much competition and compromise among the leadership.
I sat there with these type questions rolling in my head, you see because if JESUS was on center stage then we would easily have the answers to these questions. I love the church, I grew up in the church but in my adult stage, I’m sadden by the cultural norm of our church today. No, not by any means am I pointing fingers and I’m not targeting any denominational structure. Quite frankly, I believe it’s all in the body of Christ at large. That Bishop hit the nail on the head.
WHY is it like this? What are we doing TODAY? When will WE represent Christ-LIKE-ness in our culture. In fact in the title of this Bishop’s sermon……HE WAS ADDRESSING THIS CONCERN……. and yes I concur it is a concern. The world is having a hard time with the CHRISTLESS culture we exemplify.
Recently I had a conversation with a lady I’ve known for only about two months now. She called me to say, “I think I will start going to church. I hate the hypocrisy of Christian people. I have two small children and I want a religion but just haven’t been able to settle on one. I need to say to you Gewanda, that you need to know that in ALL of my life I have never met someone who lives by the principles of the Bible like I’ve seen in you. I really admire you but more than that I respect you. You exemplify Jesus to me and I want to get to know your Jesus more and maybe try your religion” No one has impacted my life the way you have in such a short time.
I was shocked, literally listening to this but after hanging up the phone I sat for about half an hour looking in dismay. I’d done nothing spectacular at all. I kept trying to go through scenarios where she would have seen particular godly qualities. I couldn’t think of anything that stood out. You see, Christianity is not something we PUT on to BE Christlike, it’s who we ARE. The culture of HOW WE LIVE, what we do, how we communicate, how we treat others good and badly. I was only being the best me I could be but clothed in the power of The Holy Spirit to shine through me. Here was a lady, married almost 25 years, older than me, of another race, and we only had casual times together. Yet she says NOW she wanted to get to know Jesus, my JESUS, MY RELIGION.
Give me that ‘ole time religion’ that’s what we need. The kind that brought our forefathers out of the bondages and snares of life. The kind that brought our communities together, the kind that made little children run to the church house for comfort and acceptance. The kind of religion where a simple hum could speak volumes in the atmosphere and the temperature of the place would change. We need religion with CHRIST as the main script and not the subscript. We NEED CHRIST on CENTER STAGE not in the back drop of our lives.
Without Mount Zion I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t know any of the black history I learned, I wouldn’t know any hymns, I wouldn’t have reference points of GOD moving in my life. That church shaped the fiber and the core of my soul. Oh how I long to see those days again. I mean, I long for the old days. I think back on them. IT WASN’T THE CHURCH … It was a richness in the midst of the system that permeated with CHRIST’S EXISTENCE. If only, someone, somewhere could take me back or show me where to find it again my heart wouldn’t ache the way it does for what I see today.
Let’s put JESUS BACK where Jesus belongs, in our church, in our sermons, in our conversations, in our homes, in our lives in our hearts. We need CHRIST TO CHANGE THIS CULURE.
PREACH ON MR. BISHOP of the AME CHURCH … keep encouraging the shepherds and the sheep to include JESUS in our CULTURE.
Right now that’s all I can see Through Gewanda’s Eyes.