The Easter Parade

Happy Belated Easter (to all who are down with J.C.)!
Outside of brunch and looking for eggs in the grass, for many of us yesterday meant three things: church, checking out the kiddie Easter outfits and food…not necessarily in that order.
Concerning the past week’s firestorm surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan examines American pop culture’s often extreme and one-dimensional depiction of the black church.

If you are familiar with the “traditional” black church then you know some of the stereotypes that have crept their way into film and television; the effeminate choir director, the fiery pastor, the young and hot harlot, the gossipy old ladies and their hats, and the holier-than-thou set of deacons, etc. Quite frankly, these stereotypes can be found in a Jewish synagogue as well.

In the article, Givhan discusses how nowadays churches, especially black churches, are becoming tourist destinations for their gospel choirs and larger-than-life celebrity pastors (can we say Creflo Dollar?). But after the show is over (and some folks leave), the black church becomes what it has historically been, a haven for candidly discussing issues that affect the black community which society may not be ready to confront; most notably race, class and history.

Last week we witnessed the nation’s reaction to a candid look into one-type of black church, but is society ready to accept an institution as complex as it congregation? Or will we settle for big hats, Cadillacs and dramatic gospel solos – which we love too.

A Failure to See Shades of Gray in The Black Church

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