The Old Landmark: The Role of the Church in a (Post)Modern World

September 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


Liz!

Guuuurl, I must say, life has gotten the best of me these last few weeks, but I am back from my looooong hiatus and ready to talk about some deep ish. Can you dig it…are you ready? **raises eyebrow** : )

So, all of this talk about the “Ground Zero Mosque” has gotten the little wheels in my head turning. I wholeheartedly agree with your take on the situation.

Some of my fave quotations:

“The same leaders who tout America’s superiority, due to its freedom and democracy, are the same who demand restrictions on fellow Americans’ freedom. Because let’s not be mistaken, this mosque and community center is for Americans. Islam is in America. It is not foreign. It is not other. It is American.”

“America’s values are its greatest asset and its biggest lie.”

Well, you betta PREACH!!

Once again we see politicians using important social and civil issues to fuel their own political agendas—while ignoring the damaging, long-lasting, and hurtful effects they are having on people’s everyday lives. We see the ugly parts of this “great country” seeping out from under rug, where they have conveniently been “hidden,” and into the mainstream, fueled largely by fear that is ultimately expressed as hate. **Sigh** It really does get tiring…I’m just saying.

You said in your last post, while arguing that much of the opposition to the mosque is characterized by racist sentiments, that “race and religion cross in so many contexts…one is used to characterize the other.” This is so true and this particular statement especially struck a cord with me because religion does cross over and/or influence so many aspects of our identities, our freedoms, our opinions, our experiences, our privileges, and our limitations. Yes, race and religion do indeed cross, as do religion and gender, religion and sexuality, religion and ethnicity, religion and mental health, religion and so many different and intersectional parts of ourselves.

Living in America, a country literally founded on white Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, it is safe to say that the dominant religious narrative in this country is Christianity. Faiths and belief systems that are not Christian are marginalized, definitely some more than others. With that said, I would argue that mainstream Christianity plays a role, to varying degrees, in influencing the lives of all (and I mean all—black, white, latino, Native American, middle-eastern, east asian, south asian, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, gay, straight, transgendered, woman, man—you get the idea) Americans, despite the bullshit that is the Separation of Church and State. And it always conveniently seems to creep up around election time—all of sudden America remembers its “morals.” Smh. This has been particularly evident in the rhetoric surrounding the “Ground Zero Mosque” where Christianity has been used by many as a means to demonize and silence. What has been demonized is Islam as “un-American,” and who has been silenced are Muslims (and many Americans of color who may not identify as such, but are racially marked or profiled). This happens time and time again. We saw it in a very real way in the summer of 2008, when California became the first state (albeit temporary) to allow same sex marriage. The opposition was fierce and once again that Christian (read: heterosexual) American myth crept up from out of its dusty corner somewhere in the basement of the Capitol Building to be used for the gain of a privileged few.

Christianity has many great principles, but it is also malleable in the way that anything that is open to interpretation can be. Because faith and spirituality are things that affect so many of us and shape our identities, religion has the utmost power to offer edification, emotional stability, and healing, but simultaneously has the enormous power to ostracize, inflict deep wounds and cause intense emotional pain.

In a country filled of “others” what is the role of the Christian Church, faith, individual (what have you) in actively moving away from this OLD, tired white American Christian myth, toward embracing a faith that celebrates holistic beings and is committed to anti-oppression in all of its many forms? Now, what would that look like…? I think it’s about time to move away from “The Old Landmark” (you Pentecostals know what I’m talking about). I’m just sayin.

Btw, when I googled “The Old Landmark” the video below popped up. So, now this is completely on a tangent, but just because I looove old gospel songs…and James Brown…enjoy the following clip and take in all its ridiculousness.


James Brown – The old landmark (The Blues Brothers)
Uploaded by Davidsonr62. – Explore more music videos.

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