Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The Black Church, Hip-Hop and Weaves
It’s been a bad month for pastors. Instead of headlines about tackling black on black crime, a growing academic achievement gap and members facing less cash in their wallets, the talk about the church has been minimized to hip-hop and weaves.
Really. Come on, it can’t be true. You would think people of faith would have more important business than to get caught up in such foolish dialogue.
The most recent move to madness involves Pastor A.J. Aamir of Resurrecting Faith in Waco, Texas. Aamir informed a group that he has instructed members of his female staff to chop off the weave. He has banned them from wearing them.
“Our black women are getting weaves trying to be something and someone they are not. Be real with yourself is all I’m saying,” Aamir said on AmericanPreacher.com. “Long hair don’t care. What kind of mess is that? I don’t want my members so focused on what’s on their heads and not in their heads. I lead a church where our members are struggling financially. I mean really struggling. “Yet, a 26 year old mother in my church has a $300 weave on her head. No. I will not be quiet about this.”
Aamir went on to say that he told his congregation that weaves is unacceptable in the eyes of God. I wonder how that will play out on Sunday morning.
Next up in the lets make the Church look bad game is the firing of Rodney Willis. Willis got the boot by the deacons at the Mt. Salem Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina after serving as their pastor for four years.
Willis committed the unpardonable sin. He went to a Rick Ross concert. Scandalous I say.
The vote wasn’t even close. The deacons gathered on Saturday evening after Pastor was spotted at the concert. It wasn’t the first time. Pastor Hip-Hop was spotted nine months earlier at a Little Wayne concert and was given a tongue lashing.
As the guru of hip-hop ministry (if you don’t know, ask somebody) I understand Willis’ desire to hang out with his peeps. Did I mention he’s only 26 years-old? There are a couple of things that come to mind upon pondering his situation.
First, he deserved to be fired. I say that as a fan of hip-hop who would attend one of those concerts. The problem isn’t that it was wrong for Willis to attend. The issue is that Willis failed to engage in dialogue with his church to pave the way for him to attend after he got caught the first time.
Second, I have issues with the person who saw him at the concert. Not because that person is a low down dirty snitch. I believe in snitching within reason. But shouldn’t the snitch be held accountable for being in a place that he or she considered out of bounds for the pastor.
I’m just saying. Isn’t that hypocrisy? I’m reminded of a message about big logs in a person’s eye while looking at the speck in their pastor’s eye. Well, I embellish a bit, but you know the story.
Third, isn’t there a Biblical precedent for Pastor’s hanging with the heathens? Jesus spent most of his time with drug dealers, pimps, bookies, prostitutes and crack addicts. Well, he didn’t, but I’m sure he would have given the types of pariah’s that kept him in trouble with the deacons of his day.
There’s more on that, but first, let’s go back to Pastor can’t stand the weave.
The truth is Aamir makes a valid point. Churches are packed with people attempting to portray something they’re not. The biggest obstacle related to the development of an authentic spirituality is the bags of stuff used to cover all of that low self-esteem and misplaced identity.
The problem with Aamir’s contention is that it is rooted in the type of patriarchy that continues to subjugate women who attend church. If that was too deep for you, let me put it another way. The brother has no right in telling women what to do with their hair while refusing to call the brothers out for doing the same thing.
All of it is an illusion. The fancy cars, the big homes they can’t afford, the wardrobes used to set them apart from “those people”, the overemphasis on bull to the stank that has nothing to do with who they are in relationship with God. All of it covers the truth. All of it does the same thing he claims the weaves do – create an impression that isn’t real.
So, what do these stories have in common? They both expose the root of what ails the Church. Both reflect power struggles aimed at forcing others to dance to their type of music. Be it hip-hop versus Gospel, or natural hair versus relaxed hair and weaves, what does any of that have to do with what is glaring us in the face?
Black folks have too much to contend with to be locked in battles over hair and hip-hop. Something tells me there were countless young people at the Rick Ross concert looking for a place to worship on Sunday. Who knows, maybe the pastor’s presence at the concert would have led them there. There is no way of knowing, but one thing is clear – it’s a bunch of talk about matters that keep us from finding the more excellent way.
Rick Ross says it best in his song Pray for Us.
Please forgive us for all the sins we have brought upon us
And look down upon us with forgiveness for all the sins we will have in the future
I know you understand that niggas ain't perfect
But we try, Lord
We try to keep our heads up in bad times
This is a bad time
Show us the way
And if you can't show us the way
Then forgive us for being lost
Sounds like a brother in need of prayer. The pastor hears the prayer and gets fired for showing up at the hip-hop alter.
I wonder, what would Jesus really do?