No More Waking Up On Sunday Mornings

Every Sunday morning for 18 long years – come rain, sleet, snow or hurricane – I woke up at 8:30 a.m., put on my Sunday’s best and managed to find my way to church with my mother and sister. My father- being a realist- only went to church on certain holidays. Besides my father, we were still faithful church goers.

Praise God!

Every Sunday, my mother, the minister of music, sat behind her piano and banged on the keys as if she had a vendetta against Jesus Christ himself. At one point, she would climb on top of her stool to direct the choir with such poise and tenacity. She had the ability to bring grown men to tears with every song. The more I sat through her ministry, the more I was annoyed. Why did I only get to sleep in only one of my two days off from school?

I don’t know when exactly I began to question my faith in God, church and all the things that come with it. However, the older I became and the more people I met, the angrier I would get with people for thinking the way they do in relation to what The Bible says.

Why do people feel The Bible has to tell us how to think or for whom to have sympathy? I always thought The Bible was a book of craftily written religious text, with instructions and moral guidelines. I can accept that, but I don’t understand how a pastor can tell me I’m sinning for hanging out at the club, indulging in a few cranberry-vodkas and having a good time. Why can’t I take my hard earned money to the casino? And more important, why are Adam and Adam going to hell because they want to be together? After all, studies have shown 10 percent of all living species show some kind of homosexuality.

Speaking of 10 percent, let’s talk about tithes and offerings. When I first started attending church, pastors had two offerings, and now I notice at least four. Some church lobbies have even been decked out with ATMs.  There are pastors driving Benz and Hummers, while living in houses the size of shopping malls. The Lord clearly must pay well, Saints.  A few months ago I had the luxury of working out with two young ministers. They made a few innuendos about incentives in it for them to motivate people to give.  After listening to them speak, I thought to myself maybe I should do this too. After all, it sounds like a great business venture.

When I ran the idea passed my mother, she became elated and filled with the Holy Ghost. However, once I told her about the conversation with the two ministers earlier, she wasn’t amused. She also explained to me that Jesus wasn’t either.

My good mother and a few of her sisters in Christ often complain about the slow decline in church membership. They whine about how many of the young children who grew up in the church who, like myself, had strayed away. , Since the church was in such a “financial” struggle, I suggested giving the pastor a pay cut. Many people associate the membership decline to people being tired of providing these lavish lifestyles for greedy pastors. Others think the decline is a direct correlation to the turmoil among the black race. Church was supposed to teach our black men to be civilized and decent, and yet I thought it was the parent’s job.

Needless to say, I have stopped going to church as an adult. I have to find a church or religion affiliation that’s less judgmental. Until then, I will just have to take my chances on my own. Attending church for those 18 years of my life taught me enough. I am not liar nor do I steal, kill or treat people unfairly. Hindsight, I would say I am a pretty good individual. I am honest and caring just like the Bible says. I still like to drink, party, and participate in premarital sex.  If God is as loving as the Bible says, then he will watch over me, even if I’m not contributing to the pastor’s car note.

  • Amber

    I love this. I’ve been having debates about church for years. And it’s finally gotten to the point where my mom doesn’t bug me about church unless it’s a holiday.

  • Antonio Maurice Daniels

    Although I’m a Christian and go to church nearly every Sunday and other days as well, I do understand what you are saying in this piece. One of the dominant problems with many preachers is they neglect to give serious teaching on those subjects you mentioned. They offer “that’s what the world does” or “that’s devil music” and don’t engage in serious instruction about what a critical study of the bible actually unveils. It’s the miseducation and miscommunication of God’s Word that leads people away from the Church. People in churches across the country need to always be reminded that the bible says, “With love and kindness have I drawn thee.”

  • @JonBlake5

    Hi Jonathan, initially I found your piece dauntingly long, but I persevered – to my benefit. You beautifully touched on relevant issues: how many offerings make a tithe, what happened to the simple life fostered my Jesus, etc.
    I’ve found the Unitarians to be an alternative to the traditional dogma of black churches in that they remind us of Jesus’s love for all of us and thus practice diversity in people and ideas. I have also found much comfort in Peter Gomes’s book titled “The Good Book,” in which he argues cogently for a careful interpretation of both the Old and New Testaments.

  • Renata Coleman

    All I can say is ‘Thank You’!!! This piece is very well written and truly expresses how I feel. I am a Christian and I grew up in the church. I was there every Sunday and sometimes weekdays as well. As I got older, I realized my pastor was not living the way he preached I should. Therefore, I no longer felt the need to attend my church. I was a nember there for almost 20 years. I don’t feel as though God will be angry with me because he knows my heart. I love and fear him but I don’t believe that I won’t get into heaven simply because I choose not to attend church regularly. My grandparents have raised me well. I’m an honest person, I treat others the way I want to be treated, I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, steal, nor have I ever been arrested. I’m not even a person who enjoys the club scene. I am who I am because of my upbringing and the things I learned as a child in church.

    As I stated before, God knows my heart. I don’t need to be a part of anyone’s congregation to validate my love for him. And I keep am not trying to fund someone’s extravagant lifestyle when I’m barely getting by.