We experience this in churches that tell us that out human experience should be that of suffering and hardship until we get our reward in heaven which equates to NEVER living HEAVEN on Earth, to turn the other cheek when and during injustice to become like sheep following mindlessly to the slaughter. In essence the Bible when in the wrong hands can be used as a weapon to destroy and distort the truth of who you truly are. It is a psychological and spiritual attack on your mind. If has at times been taken out of context and used as a tool for control. After all if you control the minds of the people then you can live like a God and live off the sweat and equity of the people.
One of the key words that I remember that was often used was the term OBEDIENCE. This is something that is used to shutdown any form of critical thinking and code for attacking those who are expressing are bold of enough to speak up against injustice. Be wary of any church that is pushing the OBEDIENCE trap for it is designed to keep you enslaved in your mind. The reason I am speaking on this first and foremost because if you can psychologically and spiritually handicapp the mind then the rest is easy. Teaching a person to automatically attack their own innate nature to question and analyze a situation is the key to making them dependent for life. They begin to think that the devil is putting crazy thoughts in their head especially when they begin to doubt or question teachings. If they vocalize the these thoughts run contrary to what is being taught then by default a heavier indoctrination process will begin that involves more exposure and targeted scriptures on obedience and thought stopping slogans/ scripture to combat our natural inclination to use critical thinking.
In my experience I was kicked out of my Church. I always had this nagging feeling or need to understand how to properly handle my everyday challenges at school. The turn the other cheek model did me no good. It wasn't sufficient enough to really resolve any conflict. The " Count it all Joy when prosecuted" scripture was useless because all it taught you to do was to pretend you are happy when you are suffering. You learn to repress your anger instead of expressing it in a healthy way. This starts a new program that teaches you to mask your true feelings. Thus the lie began there. I wasn't really good at pretending for long periods of time. I became the target of humiliation every sunday and wednesday.I was labeled rebellious. (I was the child that teachers had nothing but good things to say in Elementary and Middle School. My parents never received a call from any of my teachers for bad behavior.) I would speak on the contradictory behavior that allowed certain groups in leadership to do and say whatever they wanted while all others had a restrictive and unspoken code to abide by. I couldn't understand why a whole body of people were so willing to give these few wolves in sheeps clothing all of their power for a cheap fix of feel good sermons that ultimately did nothing to fix the root of the problems in their lives. Personally I don't care for band aids for a wound that requires antibiotics and stitches. People need real solutions and for the shackles to be removed from their minds.
People need to realize that they don't need to wait for someone to lead them to the water when everything they need is already inside them. God designed us in his own image and equipped us with everything we need to live heaven on Earth we have to discover that gold in ourselves.
What needs to happen in churches is the need and importance of critical thinking and creativity that will challenge people to become the architects of their own future by using the innate talents and qualities within themselves to increase self worth, community and acceptance. Real problems in the community need to be talked about so that we may begin to figure out creative and effective ways to handle them. This whole OBEDIENCE term needs to be thrown out because I have seen it destroy and hamper the lives of many people. I seen this term used to coerce a battered woman into staying with her abusive husband.
Particularly in our Black communities we truly need to assess the propaganda that is attacking the image of our people. I am talking about how we are degraded over and over in the media, thru our own music, we degrade ourselves in comedy standups, the images and symbols that destroy our own perception of ourselves started from the time our ancestors were brought over on ships to the Americas. We were indoctrinated and brainwashed to believe we were and are inferior when in fact we are in fact creative, unique and powerful through our flavor of expression and resilience. The Key word is INDOCTRINATON, OBEDIENCE and the Inferiority complex through propaganda= MEDIA.
We need to create the image we desire to be . We need respectable examples of our people, positive symbols that empower one another and that foster a sense of community. In the video "This Is America" video by Childish Gambino, we see a perfect example of how our people are being used to play these stereotypical degrading roles to represent who we are.
This is why we need to start creating our own propaganda about our own people. These are things that we need to talk about in our churches. This serving the preacher without getting nothing in return but a feel good message and empty pockets has got to go. Selling lies about suffering now to reap an after life in heaven needs to also go. Teaching learned helplessness will keep us in the same predicament we are in today and leave a legacy of defeat for our children.
One place I encourage my people to start is with the book "Brainwashed" by Tom Burrell. You read it for free through the Libby App.
This book put together all of the pieces of the puzzle that explains our programming and really illuminates a realistic strategy to fix our perception of ourselves as a community. For me it started with my hair. For years I have had a love/hate relationship with my hair because I have been taught that straight or fine hair was acceptable and so it started with some family opposing my fro and then my own community and finally relationships. I was tired of relaxers that were destroying my hair shaft. Wigs were uncomfortable and hot for me and not a fan of heavy make-up to hide or cover up my features. I have always been uncomfortable with men treating me like just a piece of arse. Just makes me feel dirty in that way so I prefer to be seen as real as I can so that I know that it not a surface affiliation. Through my hair journey I have started affiliating with other men and women who are also on a natural hair journey, listening to artist like Ari Lennox, Sampa the Great, Tobe Nwigwe who are embracing their natural appearance and proudly giving us powerful messages about our black power and magic.
I stopped listening to the typical ho's-ni**$ -drug music because I didn't like how it made me feel. By choosing the kind of messages that empower me through the music I listen to has made a remarkable difference in how I see myself. It also revealed to me that we have a serious colorism problem in our community and that our women with more ethnic and prominent black features are being treated like crap by our own people that have the same features. It kinda lets me know how deep our self hatred is so ingrained within our own community.
I even see how the white people that I work with feel threatened when I play music that talks highly of my black heitage.... Being KINGS and QUEENS how the hawk eyes quiet down and pierce the skin on my back. They are okay when it comes to oversexualized jirating black women artists in music but seem uncomfortable with anything pertaining to positive symbols about our people. So it lets me know that it is not just a thing from our distant past. It is thriving right before pur eyes which is why we need to wake up from our slumber and begin to recognize the settle messages coming through in propaganda that degrades who we are and start feeding our spirit man with symbols that feed our worth and purpose. The messages that we need to pay attention to are the ones that build us up.