The Undershepherd

The Black church was once the cornerstone of the embattled African American community -especially post emancipation.

Out of the Black church came some of our most prestigious institutions of learning.

The much heralded Spelman College started as a seminary school for young African American women.

Some of our greatest leaders were nurtured in these religious institutions.

As of late however, there has been much dispersion cast on the Black church.

I recently viewed a movie titled The Undershepherd on TV One.

Flabbergasted is the word I guess that immediately comes to mind.

All of the classic elements of the human experience were front and center:

Young versus old.


Male chauvinism

Black male machismo

Don’t get me wrong readers. I am not naive. I am well aware that these elements have always existed in the African American church.

What bothers me is that these factors are threatening to overwhelm the true message of the church in our community.

I sometimes wonder about the relevance of the church and its power to sustain us as it once did.

Our neighborhoods and communities are in disarray.

The violence among our young people is so great that I suspect that they will be the main culprits who decimate our numbers.

They will help wipe us completely from the face of the planet.

Our children don’t really belong to us.

Unbridled capitalism has a deep vice on the minds and souls of our children.

It doesn’t help matters when we see our ministers dressed in thousand dollar suits and more iced out than some of our hip hop artists.

It seems that more than ever the church is becoming a space where diversity of thoughts and ideas are not tolerated.

As the movie depicted, the pulpit is the one place where the Black man in America can wield power.

And believe me, he rules over his fiefdom with very little challenge to his authority!

And the women?

Traditionally and historically women have been the backbone of the African American church.

I remember the mothers dressed in white would shush the children each Sunday.

They were the strong disciplinarians who ran the organization of the church.

They were dominant in the membership but not the leadership.

They were the faithful.

I am glad that Black women are wielding power from the pulpit nowadays.

As the prodigal daughter who has strayed, I have not witnessed firsthand the prevalence of Black women preachers.

I wonder how they are received by their congregations.

I also wonder if they, like their male counterparts try to rule over their congregations with an iron fist because they have been disenfranchised in American society also.

At this present moment the missing element in the church is our disenfranchised young people.

Why aren’t’ they filling the pews every Sunday?

Why aren’t they front and center on Sundays giving their testimonies?

Heaven knows that they have a multitude of testimonies to give.

Perhaps we need to bridge the generation gap.

Youth ministries should be taking the lead in the fight for the souls of our children.

I strongly believe that it is with the children that the greatest change in the Black church will occur.

And isn’t it with every major occurrence in modern America that the children were at the lead?

Look at the Civil Rights Movement:

It was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who affected the greatest change on a mass scale with their sit-ins.

It is time for elders to recede to the background so our children-our future-can create the blueprint for our spiritual survival.

Just my thoughts.

Until Next Time….