. The spiritual formation of any person of color with roots in the Americas centers in and around a personal responsibility and relationship with God and His son Jesus the Christ. America needs to develop more awareness of what is happening to the oppressed peoples of Appalachia and some Bible belt southern areas caught in the culture of poverty and a time warp. Progress has been made with the African American, the Ellis Island American, and the millions of immigrants coming in from all parts of the world. There is no suggestion of the same level of progress demonstrated in the Appalachia areas. Racism, hatred, anger and frustrations are strong in areas where progress and opportunity are limited. Why has the rest of America made significant progress, black and white, and Appalachia remains trapped in the 19th and 20th century? There are areas of the country still fighting the Civil War, and fighting for the right to fly flags representing Civil War views and beliefs. Religion, and especially Christianity has failed these areas. They had no Moses to lead them out of Egypt; they are still trapped in Egypt under the occupation of a powerful outside government. It is time to drag Appalachia, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Top institutions must be in place to educate good people out of ignorance. Free colleges preparing individuals for top paying American jobs, and opportunities to upgrade the quality of life for a man and his children must be provided at once. America can build nations, but she neglect home base just because the base in combative and hostile. America should not permit any of its people or its lands to withdraw from the Union and form states of stupidity and backwardness as a right. The Constitution does not give citizens the right to stupidity, and when in the national security of the country and its people, changes have to be made, and then it is time to make the changes.

 America used the church as the main transforming institution in the country, and with people declining to attend church, the transformation strategies will be more difficult. Politics is not religion, with politics, the methods used to persuade the minds of men to adjust behaviors for negative or positive rewards, Heaven and Hell were always more useful than any politician. Lots of folks are unhappy and they are not going to church to feel better, but the church continues to be the most effective means for change and satisfaction.

The church was the process through which people could handle life problems and maintain strong mental and emotional health. There were very few, if any, mental health clinics, but there were many small churches in each neighborhood. With the decline of church attendance, there are few if any institutions sincerely involved in helping the needy and the oppressed to make it through the system.

The pastor of small churches were the Moses for his people, he would not lead people out of poverty or oppression, but would lead them in a circle of satisfaction and acceptance. Storefront churches, and churches to the poor, black and white, played a significant role in maintaining a stable society.

The pastors of these churches would focus on scripture relating to hardship encountered by peoples in biblical times. There were always some scripture or biblical story, providing degrees of relief from suffering. Children hearing the suffering of parents presented before the congregation during what was called “testimony,” were careful not to add to the burden and scripts of their parents, no one wanted to hear reality stories played out for the entertainment of the church.

They learned to be “good ” or accept the fact that they would become the main topic of the village event, and the entire village was involved in correcting wrong behavior. Christian children were good, and Jesus did not do it, but the big mama store- front church- women did. It did help that there was always a large cross in front of the church, with a man nailed to it bleeding from the head and the side.

Children did not quite understand how he got there or what he did to make people treat him so badly, but they were sure it must have been something terrible and they wanted to avoid any behaviors, which would lead them to the cross. With set in the right place as a control factor for the children, the women were free to get their Jesus fix provided by the only man with the courage to set foot in the place.

The pastor, usually a big man with a big ego was able to lead these groups of women as spiritual guide and romantic role model through the trials of and became the drug dealer for their souls. The Jesus fix help them to adjust and accept the conditions of their lives. This was also the time when religion focused on the “hereafter life” rather than worry about the problems of this world. Sometimes a sermon inspired by the Holy Spirit and supported by the hypnotic beat coming from the music director could whip women into a fanatic trance enabling the to see the face of God and experience His awesome presence, they were hooked and they would come back for more. The women led the family out of poverty taking with them the men, who did not see any way out except violence. Violence was not the answer, and with careful planning, individuals, families and ethic groups eased on down the yellow Brick Road to economic freedom.

The opiate of religion is that it taps into the part of the brain, which also controls the  drive, and the secret of religion is that it has the power to bring mankind directly into a spiritual presence physically and emotionally pleasurable and satisfying. It is an experience so powerful that it can transform lives, fill empty voids in lives, release the ability to forgive horrific events, unplug receptor cavities in the brain filled with mind- altering chemicals made by man.

Religion  rest in a Holy places, and women will prepare themselves for these experiences the same way they would prepare bodies for an encounter with a loved one on a date. They wore finery, and just in case the Holy Spirit hit them and they engage in the dance of the spirits, the finest lace on a satin slip would peek out.

The cadence of the pastor’s voice and the experience of the music director ushered many a waiting expecting and unsuspecting storefront churchwoman. Women return to the spiritual watering holes, week after week, sometimes two and three times a week and some on a daily basis to receive the gift to the poor. Young compliant children would often accompany these women, before they reached the age of rebellion and resistance, men however, avoided these store front churches and these store front women like the plague. Many of these women were on the streets of despair and rescued, they were grateful for this place and times where they could talk about all of their troubles, and for a short time feel free and accepted.

The pastor was the savior, he knew what to say how to say it and when to say it in order to bring to troubled souls the mental and physical relief that they needed. Women receive the courage to stay in abusive relationships, content to live in dangerous neighborhoods, and send children to low performing schools. The social workers of God had helped them to accept conditions in life as a divine plan; they learned to bear crosses in silence and obedience.

Oral tradition coming down from slave literature and the experience of slavery, suggests that one of the reasons that slave owners in the British North American colonies were encouraged to teach slaves Christianity was that it was an effective means of control. Rome and England conquered most of the world using the power of religion in satisfying and controlling the masses.

The writers of the Bible sometimes suggest that God had something against women. Why were women the ones who were in the churches and the ones who were talking about suffering? Where were the men, and what God were they serving and why was acceptance of some of these women to the conditions of their lives? This religion was the core of the culture of poverty, and this culture had all of the other support system in it to sustain it for generation to generation. Religion is a family experience and so is poverty, in order to break out of the culture of poverty it is necessary to change the experience. You cannot continue doing what your family has done for generation and want different experiences. There is a god of poverty and you must choose this day that you will serve. I separated God from the physical, social and economical environment I found myself living in. I wanted the kingdom in this life, and on this earthly plane. God was not a God of poverty and injustice, and with a change in mental attitude it was possible to achieve more and improved conditions in life.

Somewhere the image of God as the symbol of strength and endurance in the time of hardship comes through. From the perspective of slavery, the slaves were freed from the bondage of the Pharoses of the Americas, and made a mass exodus into the wilderness of freedom. God  is in the events of the past. God  is in the survival of a people who could have been emotionally handicapped by tlife events . God held the emotional health of the people, and there were few if any recorded records of mass insanity as the results of the institution of slavery. The stories told in the Black Church has always been about endurance, survival and making a better life. The strength of the Black Church has been its ability to help people remember when they were in bondage, and how they got over that period.

If you were a fighter against injustice it is not easy to emphasize with a culture that accepted the injustice, and released their frustration through unanswered prayers. The presence of some of the ministers is viewed as a condemnation of survival tactics. The fact that if the Blacks in America had been more violent they would not have survived. History would have written about them as a glorious people, but a dead people. It is a respect for these differences that are important in ministry to a diverse population and another history, to relate to how a people see God, and use Him in their worship.

The transporting of Africans to the New World would lay the foundation to the transformation of the entire world. Europe wanted to conquer the world and it was brazen enough to go into the world and declare themselves as rulers. It was not as easy as it sounds. They were smart enough to know that little countries cannot conquer continents and large countries without a master plan.

They developed a master plan, which was so genius that it enables small countries such as Italy, England and Germany to almost bring the world to its knees. This was done through sociology, psychology and religion. First they sent in the social scientist to determine the strength and weakness of intended victims.

Poverty in the world is caused by little attention to the resources and the environment, and mistreatment of the women and children. Conquering countries go after the resources of the land through sending a team of religious people in to work with the oppressed and neglected providing much needed services for this group, the gratitude for the attention and help always result in praise and worship of the God of the helper. Without oppression of the ruling class on the poor, or the mistreatment of women and children, religion, especially Christianity could not have spread all over the world.

The church was sent in to work on the weakness of the people, and provided services and attention to the abandoned of society. Christianity has a strong theology, which addresses the needs of women, children and the poor. The period after slavery, called the wilderness period or the racism period, is where people put on the armor of God, and began to use the teaching of Jesus in the acts of forgiveness and acceptance. It is through slavery that Christianity is introduced.

It is through Christianity that character formation is developed. Without Christianity there could not have been a slavery system. A violent oppressed population would have destroyed the colonies God had to become real to a people who were living face to face with the realities of life. Ministers had their hand full with helping people to accept the idea and fact that they, the slaves and the peoples of color, were indeed the chosen peoples of the earth. It was only with a complete knowledge of scripture that ministers were able to cite chapter and verse in the bible, which related to the conditions of their lives.

The Old Testament demonstrated that, peoples of color, they were not alone in the trials they were going through. The New Testament gave them a personal savior who would carry burdens, pain and sorrow. The spiritual formation of any person of color with roots in the Americas centers in and around a personal responsibility and relationship with God and His son Jesus the Christ. America needs to develop more awareness of what is happening to the oppressed peoples of Appalachia and some Bible belt southern areas caught in the culture of poverty and a time warp. Progress has been made with the African American, the Ellis Island American, and the millions of immigrants coming in from all parts of the world. There is no suggestion of the same level of progress demonstrated in the Appalachia areas. Racism, hatred, anger and frustrations are strong in areas where progress and opportunity are limited. Why has the rest of America made significant progress, black and white, and Appalachia remains trapped in the 19th and 20th century? There are areas of the country still fighting the Civil War, and fighting for the right to fly flags representing Civil War views and beliefs. Religion, and especially Christianity has failed these areas. They had no Moses to lead them out of Egypt; they are still trapped in Egypt under the occupation of a powerful outside government. It is time to drag Appalachia, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Top institutions must be in place to educate good people out of ignorance. Free colleges preparing individuals for top paying American jobs, and opportunities to upgrade the quality of life for a man and his children must be provided at once. America can build nations, but she neglect home base just because the base in combative and hostile. America should not permit any of its people or its lands to withdraw from the Union and form states of stupidity and backwardness as a right. The Constitution does not give citizens the right to stupidity, and when in the national security of the country and its people, changes have to be made, and then it is time to make the changes.

Poor school turn out poor citizens, inferior health care produces a weakened population, America has permitted this to happen on her soil, and the disturbing demonstrations in our 2016 presidential election process is a system of dysfunctional thoughts of select people in select parts of the country.

 

Leave a Reply