So, yes, people rely on doctors, traders, teachers, CEOs and pastors to lead or guide them in the right direction. And yes, there are leaders in many other categories as well (like, heaven forbid, our government) that are relied upon. However, the ones who I believe can have the biggest impact—good or bad—on the largest groups of people are pastors. Why? Simply put, here in America, a primarily Christian nation, more people at varying ages between 1 and 90+, are in church on a regular basis than they are in front of a doctor, teacher, broker, boss, or one-on-one with a politician.
Why then, aren’t pastors more educated? Why isn’t their congregation holding them accountable to keep up on world economics? History? The health industry? Yes, even politics? Not to bring those subjects into the pulpit per se, but to just have a better understanding of those things when they’re preaching what they’re preaching. I get it that some may only have a high school or even just an elementary education due to conditions within their household back in the day. That still doesn’t excuse them from picking up a book, other than the Bible, and learning about current events happening in this great big world around them.
And I’m not even talking about some little one-room church in the deep Southern swamplands or in the Appalachian mountains. No, I’m referring mainly to urban churches full of supposedly educated pastors and parishioners. I’m calling out those mega churches that for the past near-20 years have been popping up all over the metropolises of America. In these mega churches (like the ones I have belonged to and attended), or slightly smaller congregations (like what I’ve also belonged to), I’ve heard things preached and implied from the pulpit that just aren’t true. Messages and beliefs that have always “bothered” me; making it difficult for me to be “all in” with their overall vision, mission and outreach.
I know I’m not the only one in those places who feels this way. So how can so many people sit there week after week, believing the propaganda without questioning things said and done? Oh, that’s right, we’re taught not to question the man of God or the Bible because we would be questioning God. No, I beg to differ. Sure, I don’t question God because He is The Almighty Creator. The Bible, however, while God-inspired, is man-written. And man is full of flaws, blunders and hidden agendas.
So I continue to do my own research because I’ve already seen where that agenda of Christian slave masters led us. Using “God’s” written word in their manipulation of an entire race of people for hundreds of years. And it’s CONTINUING TODAY, and still with nations in Africa! Still exploiting groups of people there by the millions. Still pulling the wool over the American people’s eyes about the people and conditions of African nations.
Yes, the educational system is guilty of this same thing; however, the church’s error, in my opinion, is of greater regard because of the moral aspect that is associated there. People don’t look to schools—or they shouldn’t—as their moral compass. When they do, they’re either going to be shocked by, or sucked into, all the corruption that occurs there.
But the church? The church has an educational and moral obligation to its people and it’s failing miserably. I heard the perfect example of this just last Sunday (not in church, but on TV). It hit my ears hard and I gasped at the offense. There were three religious leaders on the political news platform, Meet the Press, which aired April 16, 2017: Rev.TD Jakes, of the world renowned Potter’s House; JoAnn Hummel, pastor of a mega church outside Dallas called Bent Tree Fellowship (I lived near there in the early 2000’s, so I know it’s in a very progressive area); and Rabbi David Saperstein, a Jewish community leader and former United States Ambassador .
When the host, Chuck Todd, asked how they felt about the growing trend towards secularism and how it affects them, this Bent Tree pastor’s answer was appalling! Actually, an insult to my ears because it relayed just how uneducated she is on a subject that her church is highly involved in. I’ve referenced the video clip of the program so you can hear for yourself what was said. [i] However, in a nutshell, her answer included this:
“In the West (meaning this Western World) we have everything, but in Africa, they have nothing so their hunger for God is so much greater than ours.” What the what?? In Africa they have nothing? My jaw dropped and I almost fell out of my seat in total amazement at such a false (and stupid) statement!
First of all, which of the 54 countries in Africa is she speaking of? Yes, there are some very undeveloped regions and poor nations there, as with ANY PLACE on this planet. What she said, however, is equivalent to someone saying America is so economically poor—grouping all 50 states in one statement—while we know that is a flat out lie.
So, Ms. Hummel, like millions of other people need to learn once and for all that Africa is a continent and you can’t just go throwing the name around like it’s a country. You don’t hear someone from Germany say I’m from Europe when asked about their heritage. Neither does an Austrian say they’re only from Europe. No, because there are 51 states that make up Europe, just as there are 54 fully recognized sovereign states that make up Africa. “Recognized” being the operative word, apparently.
Secondly, to say they have nothing is ridiculous! And it’s even more ridiculous that no one else on that panel corrected her. If she, or the other two religious leaders, knew African economics, or if their congregations held them accountable to know, they could not continue to engage in such bs propaganda. They send missionaries there; they send money there; care packages. That’s all fine and good. It seems, though, they do it with the crazy understanding: “Oh my, we must send things to those poor natives sitting there with barely any clothes on, an empty bowl in their hands and flies swarming around their mouths. Oh, and they’re so helpless and weak, they can’t even swat the flies away.”
Thirdly, here’s a little Africa economics 101 for us all…
A World Finance article, written April 7, 2017, entitled The World’s Five Fastest Growing Economies, clearly states for the world, and Ms. Hummel, to see that three of those five are African countries. This ranking is based on the economic growth of these countries’ emerging economies, which are forecasted to outpace the likes of China and India.They are Ethiopia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, ranking #2, #3 and #4 respectively. For the record, the other two countries are #1 Bhutan (located between China and India) and #5 India.[ii]
Ethiopia’s forecasted 8.7% growth will be attributed to their service industry and public infrastructure investments taking place there. It is pacing to become a middle income country by 2025! Ghana’s strong 8.1% expected expansion is due to its gold, oil and cocoa reserves. Cote d’Ivoire, also forecasted at 8.1% growth, rely primarily on cocoa, coffee and palm oil to bring them to that status by 2020.[iii]
In Keidi Awadu’s The New Conscious Rasta Report entitled, The Sun Rises in the East, he as well examines the rapid changes in domestic development around the world. In his 2014 studies of the top 35 fastest developing nations in the world, based on year-to-year GDP growth rates, Keidi sites 17 of them as African nations. These growths are attributed to energy, ecology and agribusiness just to name a few of the many natural resources found there. They are, in order of growth: Libya, Sierra Leone, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Mauritania, Tanzania and Nigeria.[iv]
So, in essence, this woman and her church—and many other churches—are part of the problem of these developing countries more than the solution. Their lack of education, hence misguided efforts, result in propaganda full of fear, pity, disdain and total disregard for anything GREAT and GOOD about Africa. They’re sending aid to countries whose governments are not properly developed. So in many cases, the aid (food, clothing, etc) is not even getting to those in need. Or it’s done in such a way that some contributing American organizations are receiving bigger kickbacks than the poor are receiving aid.
Have these churches constructed different paths to ensure the money and goods they’re offering is by-passing the corrupt officials and going directly into the hands of the people? Who knows? Hopefully, that’s what the missionaries are ensuring by being there in person.
Oh, but let’s not even get me started regarding some of those church missionaries. Their main agenda in these poor nations is to “push” their white Jesus on the indigenous people, showing them how anything they were doing beforehand must have been some voodoo, or something stifling their personal and financial growth. Those poor people gather from miles and miles away (on foot, no doubt) to hear about this white Savior, whose true origins, ironically, are not far from the African soil upon which they are all standing. Will those missionaries ever teach them that? Hmm.
And let’s not get it twisted. It is not these people’s lack of Jesus-knowledge that is keeping them poor, uneducated and desolate. Most are coming out from decades of civil war. Most of them have never been able to master their own human potential, thanks to colonial domination and former imperialist regimes. And now, here comes further exploitation but this time, in the name of Jesus. And let the people say amen.
In conclusion, I’ll be the first to say I don’t have all the answers for how to get Americans to set aside their arrogance for just a moment in order to accept that this great big world has a whole lot of other people in it doing quite well. Better than us in some cases. You don’t think so? Just look at America’s low ranking when it comes to education and health care, for starters.
I do know that a great place for American’s to start is to become more global-minded. Only then can we get our heads out of the sand, and get un-brainwashed. That’s done through learning history. That helps us to become more competent about others who don’t look like us.
If we as Americans, particularly African Americans, would study 500-600 years of African history—information that is all very accessible—we could begin to know what time it is. It is time for the strength of 1 billion Africans across the globe to have a clearer understanding of our royal past. It is time for us to realize that for much of those 600 years, the civilizations of African Kingdoms were among the wealthiest and most productive nations on the Earth. It is time for us to negate the lies, half truths and gross lack of knowledge that continues to plague us, making us part of the problem instead of catalysts for solutions. Then we will have power that no one can take away from us.
In the words of a very scholarly woman who has repatriated to the Motherland, and has spent years assisting hundreds of others in doing so, “Africa doesn’t need anyone. We need Africa.” Let the church say Amen to that.
Love & RAWspect,
[i] Hummel, JoAnn, Jakes, T.D., Saperstein, David. Religious Leaders Stay Relevant As Americans Lose Faith. April 16, 2017. Retrieved: http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/religious-leaders-try-to-stay-relevant-as-americans-lose-faith-in-institutions-922251331604
[ii] Stannard, James. The World’s Five Fastest Growing Economies. April 7, 2017. Retrieved https://www.worldfinance.com/markets/the-worlds-five-fastest-growing-economies
[iv] Awadu, Keidi. The Sun Rises in the East. The New Conscious Rasta Report. Vol 8. No. 2. March 2014.