A Black Lives Matter activist is planning what appears to be a major act of resistance against White evangelicalism in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jomo Kenyatta Johnson, a Christian pastor and co-founder of the BLM Savannah, Georgia chapter, will spearhead the Church For Black Men, “a new Christian denomination of house churches,” in February 2018. Members will meet in the “familial setting” of a home in congregations that will not exceed 25 people, Johnson, who garnered national attention for his hunger strike to raise suicide awareness this summer, said in a news release to the Memphis Flyer.
The church, described as “primarily Black” and not exclusive to only African-American males,” will not collect any money from its members, a practice that that is common in Black institutional life.
“The belief is that by removing the church’s emphasis on money while also addressing political issues that lead to black oppression will enable a greater number of black males to partake,” Johnson said.
The church will avoid pacifying Black men when it comes to those political issues, another component separating it from the Evangelical church. Johnson, who has worked in several “predominantly white Presbyterian churches” after becoming a Westminster Seminary graduate, understands the division between White evangelicalism and Black activism.
“The reason that black men do not connect with the American Evangelical church is because (the church refuses) to suffer with blacks and, therefore, are unable to communicate in a message by which black men can understand,” Johnson stated.
Many Black Americans have spoken out against charges of evangelical churches being designed to serve the interests of Whites and its controversial ties to politics, racism as well as White supremacy. Black men are the “least churched demographic in America” and “need of a safe place to be unapologetically black while learning and seeking spiritual truth,” Johnson said.
In providing refuge for Black men and catering to civic concerns, the church will forfeit tax-exempt status, Johnson added. He insisted that the churches will welcome other demographics through its doors as guests.
“Meaning, we will ask that if you are not a black male, to come as a guest of a black male who attends the church,” Johnson said.
SOURCE: Memphis Flyer
Are Black Churches Doing Enough To Advocate For Poor Folks?