So is the black church keeping black women single and lonely?

Hello World!!!

Happy Hump Day! Now that I have offered that nicety, let me get into the not-so-nice business at hand of the day…

I have been trying to ignore this topic for weeks (Black women and our dating and mating woes seem to be the topic du jour of 2010, huh?) , but Facebook friends and other friends have e-mailed this article to me one time too many, and now, I feel compelled to respond…

Dating expert, Deborrah Cooper, through her Web Site, Surviving Dating, has written an article that has the blogosphere buzzing…

The Black Church: How Black Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely

Tadow…she’s really trying to hit us in the kisser huh?! If you criticize the black church, you may just be taking on an army of Christian soldiers anyone would be hard pressed to beat…

But she does make some interesting points…I won’t rehash it all here but below are a  few excerpts from her controversial article…

An examination of any congregation of the average Black church shows that single Black females fill the pews. Results of a recent study “African Americans and Religion”by the PEW Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life found that “African Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole.”

The PEW study also reported that “Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation. Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13% of women.”

Single Black women trying to live a sanctified lifestyle won’t be caught dead in the places where men are likely to be found. These church women refuse to go to parties, sports bars or sporting events, or clubs where there is drinking, card playing, domino throwing, s*$t talking and cussing – you know, the things that most men who enjoy life like to do. Instead these single Black women sit at home alone, or get together with their friends and read the Bible, then pray that God will bring them a husband.

Some women will argue that there are lots of “nice” single men in church and that I am being harsh. Okay, I’ve been to dozens of churches around the country and looked hard at those guys. Without a doubt I can tell you flatly that the vast majority (I’m saying 98%) of them fit into one of four categories:

  1. A loser working a 12-step program. These guys are in church looking for structure and something to believe in besides themselves, because they are weak and confused. They need help getting their lives back on track and are seeking solace and comfort in church. If they can hook up with a woman looking desperately for a church-going man of any ilk, they’ve got it made.
  2. Openly or in the closet gay men, neither of which is interested in marrying. Some gay men are wrestling with severe guilt and confusion about their desires, which they hope to pray away. Others are openly gay and attend church seeking acceptance from a community which turns its nose up at homosexuality; they are also seeking forgiveness for their sins. Whatever may be this guy’s issue, he is emotionally and psychologically unavailable.
  3. Opportunistic players on the prowl. Every player I know goes to a couple of different churches… some of them go quite regularly. They have easy pickings amongst the hundreds of horny, lonely single women that will cook and give them free meals and satisfy his sexual urges (though these players have no intention of marrying and committing to anyone). Since sex amongst unmarried singles is a sin, it is easy for him to gain the assurance of the women that they keep things secret and not speak of their “transgression” lest they feel the wrath of the Pastor. This secrecy makes it easy for him to hide the fact that he is bed hopping with four or five single ladies, right under their respective noses.
  4. Elderly reformed players. These guys have played themselves so hard and so long, they’re worn out. Their old butts finally realized that the end may be near and playtime is over. Worried about dying alone, they bring their behinds back to church to find a “good Christian woman” for marriage. Essentially they are looking for a free nursemaid and bed warmer… someone to provide comfort and take care of their old broken down a$$@s before they die.

In spite of these facts, Black women go to church week after week, hearing over and over again the message that they should be seeking “a God-fearing man.” Sistahs in church are instructed by their Pastor that there should be no room in their lives for a man without faith in The Lord.

But with so few Black men attending church, and those that are in church being largely unsuitable as marital partners, what is it that single Black women are looking for in church?

Why do Black women run to church in droves and willingly put themselves in the position to be dictated to, harshly judged and instructed like a child on how to live their lives by some man that is not their father and to whom they are not married?

Cooper also includes a YouTube video from a pastor that she believes is contributing to this issue…

Hmmm….I get what this pastor says, but I cannot agree with his premise of being hidden…The very notion of hiding suggests that one does not want to be found…This pastor seems to be saying that unless you are at church or at home or doing something obviously religious, you are setting up yourself for failure in the dating game…

But on the other hand, I don’t think a woman should chase men either…I think there is a happy medium that can be achieved…What is wrong with dating Web sites like eHarmony or going out with your girlfriends to dance at a club? God has been known to work in mysterious ways and you may meet that man through the Internet or on Friday night instead of a Sunday morning…

But I submit this whole notion of being hidden is a fallacy being promoted throughout the church in general – not the white church, not the black church, not the Asian church, not the Hispanic church, etc…

In the book “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping,” Dr. Henry Cloud, a white Christian psychologist, describes a similar scenario in which a woman, Lillie,  was waiting on God to bring her a man. When he asked her how it was going, Lillie confessed to him she had not been on a date in TWO years.  He felt compelled to help her at that point…

“Her lack of dates had to be a combination of her sitting back and waiting for the man of her dreams to come and find her and some personal dynamics interfering with her desire to be married. I could think of no other reason someone who actually wanted to have a man in her life would be that stuck.”

Within several months of counseling, the woman in Dr. Cloud’s book was in a significant relationship and eventually, some months later, she got married….And Lillie met her Christian husband through a dating website.

Below is another excerpt from Dr. Cloud’s book.

“Many people have been taught to view dating similarly to the way Lillie did: ‘God will bring the person to you. Just wait.’ And they think this approach is spiritual. But in reality, it negates the dual track of the Bible that teaches God will guide the way, but we have to actively walk in that way and fight the battles.”

Now on to Cooper’s belief that if one does meet a black man in church, he falls into one of the categories above…

Again, it’s not just black women that seem to be frustrated with men in church, white  Christian author and actress Susan E. Isaacs, describes her hilarious dating life in her book,  “Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir.”

“I also spent time with loads of Christian men who were funny, emotionally present, and not threatened by my intelligence. Men like Mark who were gay or trying not to be. The rest of the single men at my church were perpetually on the healing conference tour. And who has time to date when you’re at the healing conferences, getting healed? (Or taking notes about getting healed?)”

Hilarious huh? Yes, a good man is hard to find in church —and sometimes the church promotes ideologies that keep men of all races outstide of the church….

— but the real truth of the matter is a good man is hard to find anywhere…just ask your girl that is not a Christian…

Any thoughts?

~ by jackieholness on July 14, 2010.

14 Responses to “So is the black church keeping black women single and lonely?”

  1. Excellent article. I wish this topic was brought up when my book club had our discussion after reading “The Conversation” by Hill Harper. I won’t say that the “church” itself is the blame, but I do know that as a woman, we often get in our own ways. I’m also guilty of this and trying to work through it.

    • I think anytime a situation repeats itself, one must take into consideration one’s own actions…I am guilty of making mistakes in the dating world for sure:) but hopefully, I have learned from them..

  2. I can’t say I agree with her 100%, however, she has some valid points and I agree. There are several factors that contribute to the present day relationship woes some experience, and yes, the church is definitely one of them in my opinion.

  3. Good morning :- )

    I think that a big part of the problem is why some who relate to this article so whole-heartedly go to church in the first place. The reason why church exists is not about you… it’s about getting closer to the one who created you. When Jesus created the church, he didn’t create it so that you can get a date, but so that Christians can be mutually built up… for growth. It’s not about “religion”. It’s about building up a relationship with Him. It’s not only about life here on earth. It’s also about eternal living, which is a very very long time.

    “Why do Black women run to church in droves and willingly put themselves in the position to be dictated to, harshly judged and instructed like a child on how to live their lives by some man that is not their father and to whom they are not married?”

    The pastor is just the messenger. When you go home you should be able to validate anything your pastor said in the bible. There are many versions of the bible that you can choose from which makes it easier to understand. When you don’t read the bible for yourself, you get trapped in to conversations like these, which tend to frustrate even more by giving you false information.

    The Bible says “he who finds a wife, finds a good thing”. In the meantime continue to grow in the things of Christ and continue to grow into your purpose so that you will be ready when the right guy shows up. The Bible says that God knows the matters of your heart, so when you take matters into your own hands you are telling God that although you prayed for a husband, you don’t have the patience to trust Him or to open your eyes to possibilities around you. This goes guys seeking a wife as well.

    My wife was hidden for years, but it wasn’t until I rededicated my life to Christ and was serious about getting close to Him, it was clear who the type of wife that I dreamt about since the 5th grade was. For the complete story n how we met, see: http://tinellis.com/.

    .. and if you are looking for a solid Christian man why would you think that it would make sense to look for them in places where they would most likely not be found… “parties, sports bars or sporting events, or clubs where there is drinking, card playing, domino throwing, s*$t talking and cussing”?

    The author’s first line reads “Black women have an inordinate amount of faith in both Black men and Black churches. My position is that such blind and unwavering faith in either is misplaced.” This I agree with… “and my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Phillippians 4:19(NIV)

    Have a great day!!! :- )

    • Thanks Ellis for responding! I adore a good LOVE story so I will have to read it later today, and when I said club, it I didn’t mean a regular club – but a nice club, a salsa club or something similar..but what about sporting events, restaurants, etc. A man should find a woman, yes, but if she is hidden where will he find her…there is an African proverb that states “when you pray, move your feet!”

    • Ellis, I read the story…it was very sweet and inspiring!

  4. I could go on for days – but I won’t :-). Simply put: we put God in a box! We say “I can only meet so and so here on this day at this time ….and they must be wearing these shoes!” God shows up in all types of places and does amazing things in every situation. I think its silly to think you can only meet your mate in the church – or that if s/he isn’t sitting on the front row every Sunday they are “not worthy” of being considered as a mate. Did we forget that one of the purposes of coupling is to make us better people – more Christ-like? What ever happened to meeting someone that helps/inspires us to be better people – to bring us closer to Christ? What happened to praying, trusting and believing that if God (not your friends) lead you to your mate 1) it may not always occur in the conventional way, i.e. in bible study; 2) He has a plan in store for how the two of you can build each other up thus hopefully and ultimately bringing you closer to HIM; and 3) He is in control in terms of when and how this all occurs. I didn’t meet my significant other in a church and as a matter of fact of all the guys I have met at church – NONE of those relationships worked out. They had more dirt that people I met elsewhere (but that’s just my story). When I opened my eyes and allowed God to lead – there he was in a place that neither of us would have expected … or were looking.

  5. I’m laughing after reading this. I’m not black, and I’m not a woman, but this is exactly what I’ve gone through. I’m a successful software developer, have a nice car and good career, and yet the single women I’ve run into at church treat me rudely, ignore me, or have no desire whatsoever to connect with anyone. I have to agree that the church environment is not a safe place anymore. The same goes for single men as well. There are many single moms, so deciding on whether to date a woman with 1, 2 or more children is a good idea is difficult. Many women have also come from a background of addictions and are there in the church to find the “right” man for her. For men like me who have never been into drugs, drinking, and all the other stuff that goes along with it, I find it funny that I meet better women who are non-believers than I do in the church who are supposedly believers. I recently met a woman that I am very happy with and while not a believer, enjoys having me around, smiles when I show up at her door, is excited to see me, etc. This is unlike the “christian” woman I dated a month prior who was more interested in her text messaging and her cell phone than in me. Disappointing, but sometimes it’s the way it goes. I guess I’m saying that each woman and man needs to choose their own path. I finally decided that being single and waiting for a Christian woman in the church was not working, and no matter how much I prayed about it, I couldn’t get anything started. It’s not that the Lord didn’t lead me to some good women, it’s just that they chose to reject me. So I went elsewhere, and it wasn’t in the church.

    • Wow, Marcus, you said a mouthful! How did you find my blog? I did not know Christian guys felt like that as well…So is your new girlfriend willing to go to church with you? At any rate, you have an interesting perspective…I just think dating is just difficult for everyone…

      • Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I just ran a google search because I was wondering if anyone else felt the same. Seems that I was am not the only one that feels this way. It doesn’t solve the issue, but at least I don’t have to worry anymore if I’m not good enough, or if there is something wrong with me. It seems to be the way of the church these days that the ones who truly trust in the Lord are not respected or taken care of. The church seems more interesting in taking care of non-believers to get them into the church, than taking care of the ones who are faithful. Although it has not been an easy decision for me, I felt that being single for so long was a far worse position than waiting for someone who was a believer to enter into my life. Take care and thanks for the blog.

  6. You’re welcome and let me know how it all turns out. I’m sorry that you feel that way though…but I understand :) In my experience, it’s best to keep petitioning God not necessarily man for guidance and answers…And He will use a variety of means to get His thoughts to you in a way that you can understand…

  7. [...] So is the black church keeping black women single and lonely? July 2010 13 comments 5 [...]

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