Church is a struggle for me.
And, not because I “don’t luh God”, because I do, but there are so many intricacies to the black church that I loathe, and many more that I love.
Side note: I do not, cannot, tolerate the song “I Luh God” because it’s not traditional enough for me. Even still, I sing it all the time – mockingly, I admit. But, you know when you can’t stand a song, but you sing it all the time, and you secretly like it, but you don’t want to.
Anyway, I find comfort in the idea that I can attend a black church anywhere in the country and for the most part – the experience will be one in the same. The things we see in the movies – people singing, shouting, dancing, praise and worship, the choir (love the choir), the choir director, the deacons, communion (because if it wasn’t for the blood. . .). The tradition. The culture. I love it all.
At the exact same time – I cannot stand it. I often see it as a replicable production. A show. Something to make fun off. Something to duplicate and produce for people to watch on tv. Something to roll my eyes at. The deacons are the same. The preachers are the same. Everyone has to turn to their neighbor and repeat after the pastor. 30 second praise break. Church announcements that are too long.
Then again, the spirit.
The spirit is real.
And when you’re part of the production there is no ill intent fathomable. The presence of God is something that cannot be mistaken, or taken for granted for that matter.
When I visit churches that don’t have as much “production” as I’m used to, I get bored. And, it’s harder for me to feel the spirit, the presence.
Silly, probably. But, real feelings, nonetheless.
So, it has to be conditional. It has to be cultural. That production is part of me. It’s a part of my upbringing. I see it as: the same way some people learned their ABC’s through a sing-a-long, I’ve learned to worship through this replicable production.
Some Sundays I wake up and I’m all about it. Other Sundays I wake up and just can’t.
Though I sometimes can’t stand the hype – I have to believe the hype. And, I do.