We remember when we were younger, those days of being in the church for hours on end. Many times, all day on Sunday, we sat and were told about the “Second Coming of Christ.” The message was that we should have the mind of Christ or a Christ consciousness.
But for many Black folks, that presented a dichotomy of understanding and ideologies. When we think back to that period of time, we can’t dismiss the truth of all of the negative situations we were experiencing as Black folks. It seemed that when there were racist acts, the majority of the world’s consciousness and awareness toward us was so low that they could not really see Christ right in front of them in the form of flesh, walking, talking and eating- drinking, through Black people. They couldn’t see something that they had no familiarity with, which is, what you do to the least of your brothers, you do it also to you.
It seemed to us this highest level of thought and feeling was the clearest view Christ. In many cases, that view of Christ was in pictures that in no way reflected that I, as a child, could be Christlike. And from that anything opposite was the lowest level and is the cloudiest view. So, what we heard from some of those old time Black preachers on those long hot church days is that being Christ like, is what we all were supposed to pattern our life after.
Even as we heard this message, we were also told mankind was living at the lower levels of consciousness, in darkness or blindness or distortion, yet being Christ-like (light, truth, righteousness, equality, clarity). And that Chris appeared to mankind as Jesus, but mankind could not relate due to distorted principles and beliefs. They could not see it as truth because of the ignorance of the teachings at the time, and therefore rejected the truth.
Sadly to us, too often we experience in life too many times where we were undermined, marginalized, under estimated and worst of all, humiliated because of the color of our skin.
So when we got older it sounded more like conspiracies and hypocrisies because it gave different meanings to us about people who claim they are practicing being Christlike.
They seemed to us, over time, to water down the words we heard those long days and nights in church when we were young. Making the most of those words seemed useless or of no effect, and so doing instead created only memories of sadness and suffering for us and other black folks we knew.
It seemed those folks that were watering it down, could not see that they were killing us spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.
The older we got, it seemed that we mostly experienced people that showed low levels of awareness and seemed unaware of what those old time preacher said being Christlike looks like, sounds like or acts like.
Sadly both of us and many friends we know who have experienced these same bad experiences, have moved away from the church, though we have respect for its need in a community and some of our family still participate.
Yet, we on the other hand, understand more today. We understand that those old time Black preachers were really saying there should be and must be, Liberty and Justice for All, and this belief was and is being Christ-minded.
Craig and Sharon Butts of Unity in the Community
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