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Black People In Church


When I was growing up, life was a world away from the entertainment writer life I’m living now. I am the grandson of a former pastor so my formative years were spent in every black church within the state of New Jersey. If it wasn’t choir rehearsal on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, it was Bible study on Tuesday and youth group on Wednesday. With spending so much time in the house of the Most High, you tend to see things that aren’t funny but are totally funny.  For example, my choir director was in the middle of reading us the riot act for fooling around when we should have been learning the three-part harmony in “Love” by God’s Property. She was yelling so hard that her Poli-Grip decided it wasn’t going to be an adhesive anymore and her dentures  fell out of her mouth. Not funny, but you know we all laughed and got smacked for it.

Thinking about that led me down road of remembering all of the universal things that happen at black churches that kids will get smacked for laughing at. Check out some of them below.

1. The Woman Who Caught the Holy Ghost At Every Single Sermon

As a child, the highlight of any church service was when women caught the Holy Spirit. I used to crack up laughing because it was always the handicapped woman who needed a cane, an usher, and two deacons to get her to seat that would all of a sudden be filled with the spirit and wind up doing the Hammer Dance. There’s also the woman who walked in complaining about how her weight is making it hard to walk who somehow manages to drop down and get her eagle on for the Lord.

2. Pastor Screaming After Every Word

There’s nothing more inappropriately funny than a pastor who seriously gets into the message he’s delivering. Why is that funny? Because once the sermon gets good to them, they pepper their sentences with random screams between every other word. It’s like the pastor doesn’t want to get ratchet and clap on every syllable, so he does that as a compromise with his ratchet and spiritual halves. Mom Dukes still popped me for laughing too loud though.

3. People Who Sleep In Church

I’m guilty of this. I’ve fallen asleep in church and felt no shame about it. But I’ve learned the error in my ways. Now, I sit and laugh when people fall asleep in church because it’s so blatant. People don’t try to catch a few moments of rest while the long-winded parishioner is talking. (They’re only supposed to be up there welcoming visitors, but instead they give their testimony, announce their prayer requests, and send shout outs for those who comforted them during their time of bereavement.) People chose to sleep right as the pastor is making his way to the pulpit to deliver the message God put on his heart that Sunday. This gets even funnier when the pastor acknowledges the sleeping church member from the pulpit.

7 Things You Got Smacked For Laughing At In Church  was originally published on

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