Why We Don’t Go to (a Black) Church: Part One

Every so often, the adoption community has a hissy fit about diversity. It seems that two groups – the “love is enough” group and the “love isn’t enough” group – cause a big brouhaha. Inevitably, those new to transracial adoption will ask, “How do I ensure more diversity for my kids?” The number one answer is always “attend a black church.”

I have decided to document why our family does not attend any church. This post will cover my spiritual and religious beliefs, in a nutshell.

[I] believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

[I] believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

[I] believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

[I] believe in one, holy, catholic*, and apostolic Church.

[I] acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

[I] look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

That’s the Nicene creed. I was raised Catholic, and attended eight years of Catholic school.

Note the asterisk (*) next to the word “catholic.” That’s “catholic” with a lowercase “c,” meaning “universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.” I no longer consider myself Catholic. As an adult, I came back to the church, but never really liked the Vatican. The entire concept seemed sketchy to me. The pope essentially decided he was infallible in 1870. I never bought that. But I liked the Mass.

Enter rampant sexual abuse of children by priests. My issue wasn’t so much that it existed – in any profession, you are going to find people who prey on children. In the 1980s, teachers abusing children came to light, and it seemed like every teacher was suspect. But the Vatican knew about the abuse and covered it up. I could no longer attend church and call myself Catholic. I was done.

You may note that the Nicene Creed does not contain any mention of the Bible being the one true, infallible Word of God. The Bible is a great, interesting book. I believe that the people who wrote it were inspired by God. I don’t believe it is infallible.

Earlier this year, I had to clean up web site text that had been translated from French to English. The amount of mistakes was staggering. The people who wrote it were educated. They wrote it down from their own minds and from documents that were created in the last two years. They had a great grasp of the French  language, and probably speak English far better than I speak French. Still, they came up with translations like, “Create a calendar that looks like you” instead of “Create a calendar that you like.” If these people could make so many mistakes, I’m pretty darn sure that those who actually wrote and translated the Bible made mistakes too. Most of the stories had been around for hundreds of years before they were written. So no, the Bible is not the infallible Word of God.

Notice that the Nicene Creed doesn’t mention marriage. It certainly doesn’t say that marriage is between a man and a woman. Most of the Creed is about Jesus, who said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus did not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. I’m pretty darn sure he wouldn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation either.

If you believe what Jesus taught then you have no basis for racial intolerance, no basis for treating women as second class citizens, no basis for denying rights to anyone or for treating anyone badly. Jesus didn’t say, “Love your neighbor as yourself, as long as he isn’t Muslim (or gay, or black, or whatever).”

Oddly, this belief in Jesus means that a lot of Christian churches don’t agree with me, as we’ll see in the next post.

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