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Bridging The Gap
  Thursday 21 December, 2017

*It’s time for black men to admit defeat. The jig is up … it’s over … the fat lady is singing … the game’s in the refrigerator, the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the jello’s jiggling.

That’s right, fellas. The tide has completely shifted, the pendulum has swung, and black women are running thangs now (some would argue they always have). It’s time we take a hard look in the mirror and accept this cold, bitter reality.

I shared this point of view with the men at my grandfather’s church during a breakfast meeting recently.

“We have to take the church back,” one of the elders said. “We shouldn’t be catering to them [women], they should be following our lead and obeying our instruction. And that’s not coming from me – I’m telling you what the Bible says.”

“But elder,” I shot back. “More than 90 percent of the congregation is female. They’re paying tithes and offering faithfully to sustain the upkeep of this church and YOUR bank account. Do you really believe they’ll sit and listen to you demean them without resisting? They don’t need you or this church. YOU NEED THEM!”

All of a sudden the room got quiet and eerily still. I could feel everyone staring. Their eyes flickered with contempt. It was as if I cursed God’s name and poured Vodka in the baptismal pool. Tension spread like wildfire, and it was aimed at one person – me.

black chhurdh - womenz-in-church
“Young brother,” the elder fired back. “You need to man up. We put money in their purses. They fill the collection plate with OUR money. God put men in charge. And I’ll drop dead before a woman takes the lead in this church. If they won’t fall in line, it’s our job to break them down.”

“That’s the problem,” he continued. “There are too many single women in the church giving birth to these boys and raising them to be sissies and yes-men. I know a few young ministers who I’ve had to pull aside and set right because they were allowing women to run the show. That’s not what God ordained – he appointed men to lead and women to follow.”

While I prepared my rebuttal, every man in the room nodded in agreement. There was even cheering. Their behavior underscores the ego-driven, testosterone-fueled bravado that aggravates modern women. I sat and witnessed grade-A sexism unfold as if we had all gathered at a stripclub.

“What about the young women who aren’t married and earn their own living?” I responded. “What about the ones who have advanced degrees and can’t be manipulated into supporting the misogynistic orthodoxy of the Christian Church? How do you plan to keep them around? More importantly, how will you replace them and their donations if they choose to leave?”

“So what are you saying brother,” the elder quickly answered. “Are we supposed to look away while God’s house is transformed into ‘The View?’ This isn’t a stage for women to flex their muscles and independence. If they can’t submit to the authority of their spouses and the clergy of this church, they can leave.”

In recent years, more women have stepped into roles of leadership within the Black church. There are more women pastors across all denominations than ever before. And one day soon (if not already) there may even be a woman serving as a Bishop for the church.

However, despite these advancements, many orthodox Christians (male and female) share a strong prejudice toward notions of women calling the shots on Sunday.

It’s simply out of the question, especially if you ask the baby boomer crowd (individuals who range in age from 60 to 80 years old).

“If you hear a hen crow – kill it,” advises Los Angeles resident and veteran evangelist Margie Houston, 78.

With her cohorts in 2005, she co-founded The Missionaries Ablaze, an organization dedicated to promoting the use of women’s gifts and ministry in the church.

“That’s what my father in law would say whenever he was asked about sharing the pulpit with women. He was a bishop in Tyler, Texas and oversaw four different churches. He always used that analogy because a hen doesn’t crow, a rooster crows. Just like women aren’t called to be pastors and decision makers in the church. These duties traditionally belong to men.”

Although for several generations the black church has been controlled by men, Houston says that women are no less capable of teaching the gospel or “leading their own flock.”

“I don’t see any reason why there can’t be male and female pastors,” she mused. “It’s 2017 – women are smarter and more assertive than we were. Some things will have to be adjusted – and soon – to accommodate the changing times.”

She continued, “There are plenty of women in the Bible who were called by God to do incredible things. They fought in wars, they worked miracles, and a few of them held positions in government. I’ve tried to explain that to my husband who is a pastor. But he’s from the old guard. It’s like talking to a wall.”


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