Blended families! Masturbation! Ethnic Self-Hate! Racism! Sexism! Having Children out of Wedlock! Mental Illness!
Although I have no grounds to say that most churches ignore these subjects and subjects as controversial as these because I have not been to, seen, or heard the sermons preached at most churches, the truth of the matter is that in my limited sphere, I have heard complaints from many people who say that their churches skip over many of the subjects that plague its members the most. In fact, this past weekend, I had three separate conversations with individuals who said they wish the things that were heavy on their minds were discussed in church.
One lady said, “My son is really growing up. I believe he really desires to live his life for the Lord. However, I’ve recently had to talk to him about masturbation. I know it’s my responsibility as his parent. When I told him that I believed it to be a sin, he was shocked. I wish the church would teach on this stuff. I’m not saying that the church doesn’t preach against lust. I just wish the church would talk about things like this a little more often and in a little more detail.”
Another conversation was about the growing epidemic within the African American community that is called ethnic self-hate. The conversation started because of the notice of the fleeing of a great deal of African Americans from their predominantly African American churches and into predominately White or multi-cultural churches. On one hand there is totally nothing wrong with it. I’m from Chicago which is a very diverse city. I work for Youth for Christ, which is very much a growing multi-cultural parachurch ministry. I whole-hardheartedly believe that heaven will be multi-cultural/multi-ethnic/ etc. I am probably the biggest fan of diversity that you’ll ever meet. Because those who know me know that, I was asked the question, “Why are most of the growing multi-cultural churches in America led by White pastors?” I even had a conversation with a black woman who was alluding to the idea that the church she now attends is better than the church she left because, well…in a nutshell, it wasn’t predominately black. It’s not that her family’s needs were being met more at the new church. It’s not that the new church had more opportunities for them to serve. It’s not that there was a major theological disagreement with the old church. It was because they sing contemporary Christian music, take notes, and everything about it is excellent. That’s to insinuate that there are no excellent predominately AA churches. That’s a warped view of African American congregations as a whole…and it came from a black woman. Why aren’t these mentalities talked about in our communities of faith?
Although I don’t have the time or space to address all of the scenarios concerning every taboo subject I can think of, I will say that these issues are not male or female issues. They are not black or white issues. They are not issues of the young or old. They are issues of people in general and by and large, these issues make the church (universal) uncomfortable. Older married women masturbate. It’s not just a single, young, male problem. Rachel Dolezal is a white woman who pretended to be black. I wish the church as a whole would tackle these types of subjects a little more. Now, there are those who believe that in church we should only be learning about God. In church, we should focus on worshiping God. Everything about church should be Christ-centered and scripturally backed. I’m not saying that I disagree with that belief. What I do disagree with is that church is restricted to our weekly services. I believe that even if these topics are not addressed from the pulpit, there should be other opportunities or forums provided for the needs of the “total person” to be addressed. After all, Christianity is not relegated to church services. It’s all things pertaining to life. So, today I’ve decided to give my two cents on how we can be more faithful in talking about prevailing “elephants” of our day.
Be More Faithful to Bible Teaching
What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The Bible teaches that there is nothing happening that hasn’t happened before. This means, there were blended families in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t speak on them much. However, we do know that Jesus was raised by a man who wasn’t His father. Also, Jesus had half siblings. Even the total family of God, the church, can be considered a blended family. Acts chapter 2 shows a picture of people from every nation. Revelation 7 gives us a picture of people from every nation and tongue coming together as the family of God. With every subject, we should be faithful enough to preach it in its entirety. Now, let’s not make the Word say what it’s not saying. However, there is enough there for us to not have to be afraid or too uncomfortable to talk about the things that keep Christians bound.
Be Sober Concerning Real vs. Ideal
Of course, there are ideals. Ideally, every single Christian will wait until marriage to have sex. Realistically, having children out of wedlock has become the norm. We are not to abandon the ideal. We just can’t ignore the real as if ignoring it makes it disappear. The more we acknowledge the reality, the more we can acknowledge the commonality. The more we realize that these issues are not uncommon, the less they should make us uncomfortable. The more comfortable we can be with addressing uncomfortable situations and answering uncomfortable questions, the better off we will be as a true representation of the body of Christ. After all, Jesus tackled tough subjects. You don’t have to agree with me. Ask the woman at the well!
Romel Gibson is a youth and college pastor, mentor, community leader, motivational speaker, musician, and songwriter living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He serves as a full- time Campus Life Director with Youth for Christ, one of the largest non-profit youth evangelism ministries in the world. As a songwriter, his most notable works include L. Spenser Smith and Testament (Greater, Surgery), Tonya Baker (Miracles), The Anointed Pace Sisters (Praise and Worship), Myron Butler (Changed), Marvin Sapp (Never), Ruben Studdard (Holding On To You Lord), and Johnny Gill (Black Box).Romel has been married for 12 years to his college best friend Quanedra. Together they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters; Allayna Pilar, Moriah Kelis, and Rylee Addison.