Shifting whose Faith?

No mom, let’s go!

I’m tired honey. Let’s stay home tonight.

Mommy! Please? Can we go?

We can stay home and pray and sing. God will still hear us.


The above dialogue is between six children and their mother in the late ’90’s. It was my family to be exact. My mother came from a southern religious family and raised her children the same way she was raised, to trust and believe in God. She did this and more with the help of the Church. As the Canton Spirituals would say, my mama drugged me to church. By the time we begin to make decisions on our own, church was always included.

For someone like me who grew up in the church, I can’t imagine no longer going.

This is what I thought when I read ‘Shifting Faith’, an article in the April 2011 EBONY magazine,  written by Adrienne Samuels Gibbs.

‘Shifting Faith’ speaks about the growing number of people choosing to worship elsewhere than a church, ‘switching from a traditional denomination to one less common for Black folk or flat-out deciding to become “spiritual”and not “Christian”to accommodate a more modern lifestyle.’

‘Shifting faith’ basically speaks about people backsliding from the church but it talks about the situation as if it is justifiable.

If I choose to stay home from church to pray alone, wouldn’t I be a backslider? Okay so a lot of people choose to backside at once, so now it becomes a shift?

And what does it mean to become ‘spiritual’ and not ‘Christian’ to accommodate a more modern lifestyle? I can’t imagine being one and not the other, being ‘spiritual’ and not ‘Christian’ or being ‘Christian’ and not ‘spiritual’.

As I continued to read the article, I couldn’t help but pray.

‘We are choosing to worship God…differently than our forefathers.’ Gibbs stated. ‘That new worship could include praying at home with friends…or joining a multiracial church that eschews long services and fire-and-brimstone doctrine.’

So, is this really a shift?

Why would anyone want to pray at home with friends when they can go to church with their friends to pray and meet new friends? As a matter of fact, one can go to church and still meet with his friends to pray. Oh, that may be too much praying and talking to God for some. Especially, if one can’t sit still and listen to the word of God for an hour.

Isn’t our main goal heaven or are we trying to get ‘back to Eden and live on top of the world’ (what ever that means).

Another reason given for the break up of traditional church culture is given by Dr. Sujay, the former president of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference. “This is an instant generation- microwave, YouTube, iPhone- they’re not committed to sitting for long periods of time.” Just because the world is moving fast, doesn’t mean the church has to move any faster.

I sit in places for long periods of time. I am in the office at work longer than I am in the sanctuary.

I don’t mind going to church and building up myself in the faith. No matter how long it takes.

As long as my soul is fed and what I am feasting on is right and true I have no problem.

Leave a Reply