The New York Times recently published an article by Trymaine Lee detailing the hard times that the smaller, less well-known African American churches in Harlem have come upon. This includes not only financial difficulty but poor attendance (which are undoubtedly linked). Both have to do with the utter absence of young people in not only these churches but many mainline Protestant churches across the country. But in Harlem, there are very local factors as to why these smaller churches are struggling.
Posts Tagged ‘black churches’
For some scholars, “religion” gives the social cohesion and moral purpose without which a merely self-interested and fragmenting liberalism could not survive. Others see how, at moments of crisis, figures like Lincoln—or now we might argue Obama—draw on biblical language to call a special nation to its higher and redemptive purpose, and thus name common purposes that mobilize nation-building or rebuilding. In 1968, Bellah linked civil religion not only to consensus but to dissent: he invoked the examples of William Lloyd Garrison and Eugene Debs to argue that critics of racism or empire must speak in widely resonant, biblical terms, or they risk cultural marginality and political impotence. Critics who do not invoke “any genuinely American pattern of values,” the “better instincts of American patriotism” or indeed “the deeper moral instincts of Americans,” he argues, will fail, and a corporate and imperial regime will continue to “undermine essential American values and constitutional order.”