Monday, May 16, 2011

Is the Black Church Keeping Black Women Single?



As a reasonably well traveled individual and student of my race, it is my observation that overall black folks are an extremely spiritual people, always keeping at the forefront of our minds the spiritual foundation upon which our infant culture was built. The African American experience involved a gradual, deep rooted bond with what is today known as the black church. During times of great distress, during the darkest moments in our fight for equality the black church was the glue that kept us in place, together. It was where we obtained our community information, education, spiritual guidance and in many cases kept us peaceful, when violent revolt was imminent. Of course that was not always successful. It is no secret that Sunday in America is the most segregated day there is in this country and it is where discussions of race over the pulpit is expected and embraced. It is no surprise, that even the President himself came under scrutiny during the 2008 campaign because of the way the country viewed the church he attended and the Pastor he sat under. 

A persons religious affiliation and spiritual leadership is what defines the individual in many important ways. It holds them to a particular standard, creates specific expectations and in most cases invokes stereotypes. It is the foundation by which many of us live our lives and affects the decisions we make from the extremely minuscule to the infinitely pressing. Just look at how Islam and the Vatican have altered the course of world affairs in amazing ways. It is no surprise that the black church influences marriages, career moves and of course individual conduct and overall morals.

The influence of the black church in recent years has continued to decline in that, black women overwhelming outnumber black men in regular church attendance. While black men may believe in God, in most cases it ends with the belief. I have seen and heard in recent years many black women coin the phrase "A man must be so deep in God until he has to seek him to find me." I thought the term was interesting. But if single black women are attending church regularly and following the guidelines that the church has put in place and the black man is not, what does this say about the future of the black family. And is this strict outlook on love the reason so many black women are single?

In our carnal society, where you have to cover your kids eyes to walk past a news stand and where music videos and other aspects of pop culture has shaped the perceptions of many young men into developing a warped sense of beauty. Particularly amongst black men. With this in mind, what chance does a young woman have wearing a 3/4 inch skirt, loose fitting sweater and short and clunky square heals have to find love? Especially since chances are there aren't any men their age attending who may understand the reason for the "plain jane" style of dress. Granted superficiality is only a small reason for the disconnect. Certainly moral standards and life goals prevail.

The self-righteous attitude that often times accompanies a young Christian sista's cute face is one of the first ways to ensure that woman will remain single. The bible asks the question "how can two walk together unless they agree?" yet I hear the best Pastors preaching that if you marry for any other reason besides love, the marriage is doomed. 

There isn't much new that can be said about this topic, from the appeal of a religious woman to single men, to the potential need for black men to step up as men and fathers and embrace the black church again, as we once did in our not so distant past. Conforming to moral guidelines is undoubtedly the reason for the hesitation. Not only will that black mans wife hold him to the standard of being a husband, but also to the standard of being a Christian man. In my own family I've seen the wife call the Pastor after a spat with the husband and think to myself, wow. Not sure if I could go for that. So with this concept in mind do you think the black church is keeping black women single? Do you think that if more black men attended church that there would be more stability within the black family? Finally, should a woman base her choice of a mate, based on his religious affiliation, or lack of?
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