He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Questions For Black Christians

Recently, a pretty popular pastor in my hometown, Dallas, posted a status that basically said that we can question God but not challenge God. I read and re-read that status because I was intrigued. First, on some level, I felt like there wasn’t really a difference. I know that there is a difference between, let’s say, your child questioning you and your child challenging you. One would likely get a less gracious response than the other. However, when talking about the almighty, it seems like anything that us mere mortals would ask would be seen as a challenge to the sovereignty, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience that we are all taught that God has.  

I deal with anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. The anxiety and panic are things that I’ve dealt with since I was a young child. The depression, I guess, may be a product of the vicissitudes of adult life. It actually began in my late teens and after a bad divorce and two monumental deaths within 2 years, it started to really show itself strong in my life. Most days I can fight it. Some days are much harder than others though. 

I’ve had Christians say that they are praying for me or will pray for me and I appreciate the gesture; I really do. I mean, if someone has a connection to any deity, I’d never try to disabuse them of their belief in it. Being Black, it’s rare to meet other people who are also Black and aren’t subscribed to some type of Judeo-Christian belief system. That system is usually Christianity. You have the Pentecostals, the Baptists, the AMEs and the CMEs. You have the 7th Day Adventists, Church of Christ, and even the Catholics. Let’s face it: Black people luuuuuurve Jesus. 

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And I get it. I don’t argue like a Hotep about why Black people love Jesus. We all know about colonialism. We all know about Africans being stripped of their native religions. I don’t really see a point in rehashing that part of the story. 

But, I do have a question: when do we make God prove himself?

Black people give God, and by extension Jesus, a lot of credit. Woke up? God. Legs work? God. Have shelter? God. Have food? God. Have water? God. Have a job? God. Feeling better from a recent illness? God.

I’ve started to wonder though, for Black people, does the standard ever get any higher? If a normal parent fed their kids, provided shelter for them, and gave them medicine or  took them to the doctor when they were sick, we wouldn’t do back flips and give rounds of applause. We’d say that’s what parents should do for their children. In fact, we’d say that a parent who doesn’t do that for their children should have their children removed from them because the children are being neglected.

So, if God is the father and we are his children, why do we become enthralled with the basics that we presume he gives us? Further, when you look at the state of Black people all over the globe, why aren’t we asking more of him? Why aren’t we asking him to prove up? 

Why is it considered blasphemy or disrespectful on an epic level to even suggest it?

Many of us were taught or told that when you ask God for something or to do something on your behalf, the answers are either yes, no, or wait. But, what if that’s unsatisfactory? When someone needs help, is it fair to tell them, “Well, God loves you so you should take your concern to him buuuuuut, he may or may not help you. Or….he might help you, he just may make you wait a little while.” 

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The last time I was seriously in mental upheaval, I asked my ancestors to give me peace no matter what happened. They did almost immediately. The next day, when I woke up, that peace was still there. When I got one of the worst phone calls of the year an hour later, the peace remained. 

But, instead of sounding like the loving benevolent father that Christians sell on tracts, it sounds like dealing with God is a bureaucratic process almost as bad as trying to get social services or an explanation of benefits from your insurance company. Who could possibly be expected to hold on and endure, in faith, if that’s the best they can get in their time of need? And what happens when that time of need extends past a couple of days, or a couple of weeks and becomes months or years of trial? When the weight becomes more than the muscles and sinews of a person’s spirit can take and they still have no answer? The elders say to “be still.” But, what do you do when you’re dying in the midst of your obedient stillness? 

Though I like to think myself wise (most of the time), I have no answer to these questions. I will say that it seems like a maze, at times. I’m an outsider, but looking in, it can seem like a game and the worst kind of game – an unwinnable one that many people are too afraid to opt out of (cause of hell and all). On top of that, it seems like an abusive game. If “yes,” “no,” or “wait” is the best that seekers have to look forward to, what’s it all worth?

 

Why Not a Driver’s License? My Thoughts On The Changing (and Disturbing) Metrics of Cool

A FBF of mine sent me screenshots of a heated argument about “gender fluidity” a couple of weeks ago. In it, there was a young lady who called herself a man and was quite adamant that her rights were at stake should one of the many “bathroom bills” be passed by her local government. I visited her page. She noted that her pronouns are female (she/her). On one of her pics, she was modeling her new bikini. She had a post about acrylic nail designs. She received lots of positive responses to her post.

Maybe three days later, I was asked to share a GFM thread (I never do, BTW). I read the person’s narrative. It was full of buzzwords. This person needed donations because “capitalism” and some kind of “antagonism” had conspired to make them unemployed and as a somethingqueer person, they already knew that finding another job was going to be a task that would “trigger” their mental illness and cause them much “trauma.”

Three weeks ago, I was sent a link to what seemed like a GFM festival with at least 300 people asking for donations for anything from rent to groceries, to tuition. Because I notice trends, it didn’t escape me that every other person had some kind of mental illness, felt that work is a curse, or was…let’s say nonplussed…in regards to their identity/sexuality.

I haven’t missed the fact that a number of real issues have started to be used for attention and personal fundraising. Somewhere, in the midst of the revolution, people have learned how to game the system; ironically just like they claim the 1% takes advantage of them through capitalism. It’s interesting to watch a person become a mentally fatigued, battered, quadri-sexual, single motherfather™ with bunions and only a can of tuna in the pantry when they need to come up with a few hundred bucks. Surprisingly though, a mere 48 hours before, they were just Brad.

angela

I understand the hustle. Financially, asking for money you didn’t earn is a crapshoot so you have to make the best plea possible to get as much as you can; especially from strangers. Those who make up complex personas on the internet strictly for “likes” and friends are running a similar hustle. I mean, who’s going to “like” or follow you if you’re just who you are and live a typical life? That will never get you invited to the party, right?

For all my understanding of the game, I think it’s a little sick. There are people who have been diagnosed with terrible mental and physical illnesses. They are struggling, not because they don’t feel like waking up before 10 in the morning but because they have physiological aberrations that hinder them. Feeling bummed that you can’t eat at Chili’s this week or your boss won’t let you take Friday off doesn’t justify you telling everyone that you “struggle with depression” or are “oppressed” and trying to make people feel sorry enough for you to open their wallets.

Ricky

Being a woman and preferring pants and football or being a man who has an affinity for wigs and makeup, doesn’t make you “gender fluid”, trans, queer or any of the other identities that people battle with internally and externally every single day. You are not Ricky Vasquez (look it up). This is real life and real life is not about who you can con into letting you sit at the cool kids’ table for the 12 hours a day you’re on the internet.

Your parents telling you that if you’re going to live in their house, you need to keep your room clean isn’t the same as you living in an “abusive” household. Trying to get empathy (and/or cash) from people with that lie when there are people who are really in abusive households and can’t go anywhere, is quite distasteful.

 

Being cool used to be about having a driver’s license, owning the newest gadget or possessing some remarkable talent. The fact that 20 and 30-somethings are feigning illnesses, abuse, dysphorias, and all other manners of dilemma in order to make up for the fact that they weren’t part of the “in” crowd in high school is rather macabre.

Ricky 2.gif
I know it’s fun to ride the wave, especially for the more insecure of us; but while you’re riding the wave, you may be treading on someone who doesn’t have the option to jump off the erratic jet ski like you do. If you want to collect e-friends or dollars, that’s your choice. Just come by it honestly.