Skip to content

Is There a Conspiracy in the Traditional Black Church to Keep Black Women Single and Lonely?

June 13, 2010

Why are church-going black women so lonely?

In the spirit of one of my favorite fluorescent garbed, big-haired 80’s girl band, The Bangles, happy Manic Monday.

Do you wish it was Sunday, back when you were sitting on those hard, wooden pews, fanning away the heat, and perturbed because you sat in back of a very big woman wearing a hat that resembled a cornucopia?

Millions of black women went to church yesterday; and chances are that 99.99999% of the single ones went up to the pulpit for the pastor, deacon, or associate minister to ‘lay hands on them’ and pray, for the 12,654,234th time, for God’s favor in finding them a good black man.

I speak from a position of knowledge.  I used to be one of those women.  Determined to live right, be virtuous, and find a damn man, I attended a very well-known black mega-church in Los Angeles (which will remain nameless, but they know who they are).

I jumped in with both feet.  Not only did I go every Sunday, I joined the Singles Ministry.  On any given Wednesday, the meeting was populated by about 15 women, and on a good week, 2-3 men.

The head of the ministry was a cute, twenty-ish black man who got the goo-goo eyes by every lady there under the age of 40.  So when he asked me out, I said, “HELL-TO-THE-YEAH!!” Erhm, I mean, I was really excited.

Had God answered my prayers?  Would he be the one?  Did I need to get on a 24-hour prayer line real quick so someone could confirm the prophecy?

Dude showed up at my apartment and suggested we spend the night in.  I guess he was all worn out from all that church-y stuff he did that day.  But always accommodating, and desiring to please, I submitted to the lame-assed date.

He spent the next four hours trying to get in my pants.  Confused, and trying to speak whilst his tongue was in my mouth, I asked him if he felt any shame for gunning to “know” me in the biblical sense.  Guess what he said?  “God knows I’ma have sex.”  He said that with all the seriousness afforded to a man of his stature.

Alex, I’ll take Hypocrisy and Black Male Privilege for $1,000!

There continues to be a grumbling in the BWE community about the Traditional Black Church’s (TBC) role and possible stake in keeping black women in perpetual singlehood–unless of course they get really, really, really lucky and marry someone within the church and have a bunch of descendents to fill the offering tray.  I caught wind of a Tweet exchange just yesterday on Blow The Trumpet’s page.

And interracial dating?  Fuggitaboutit.  Someone, maybe even a black woman, will  give you the side eye if you show up with Peter, Pedro, or Phillipe.  Probably single herself, this woman has been successfully brainwashed into holding up the torch for the entire Black Race at the expense of her own happiness.

Of course, there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue.  But honestly, I’m only interested in the side that will free black women from their bondage, which is why I’m dedicating an entire chapter in the book about it.

I spoke with dating and relationship expert, blogger, and radio host, Deborrah Cooper, who has some very strong opinions about this issue. As usual, she does not tippy toe.  Take a listen by clicking the link: Deborrah Cooper_black church

What say you?

Stand By…

Deborrah picks up this issue on her blog, www.survivingdating.com, later today.  Yep, we tag-teamed.  It’s just that important.

Also wanted to plug this Tweeter and blogger, She Ponderings, who wrote a very honest essay about her TBC odyssey.

Advertisements
70 Comments leave one →
  1. zoriansmom permalink
    June 13, 2010 11:58 pm

    I don’t think that there’s a conspiracy in the black church to keep black women single I think its just an unfortunate situation because in most black churches I’ve attended there’s so few men who actually attend church regularly and some of the men who come regularly who are single have past issues that sometimes make it very difficult for them to put their lives in order (ex-players, former drug addicts,con men and men strugglin with serious strongholds) so for women single in black churches its very difficult situation being that women are the majority, me being the grandchild of a minister tell single women all the time if your interested in meeting single men in church and there’s very few in your church your attending the wrong church.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 3:05 am

      First, thanks for being the first to chime in. In your reply, you mention so few men attend church regularly. So…wouldn’t the church have a vested interest in holding on to their bread-and-butter parishioners?

  2. June 14, 2010 3:19 am

    Sis, I agree with you on this post. I attended a black church, one that was conservative and supposed to be THE way on purity, chastity, all that good sounding stuff while your natural hormones have set in and your vagina is throbbing for some attention . . . When I asked one of the preacher’s wives what was her take on interracial marriage she said “I think a couple can better serve God if the husband and wife are of the same race”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? FOR REAL? Mind you, I was dating a guy that was white who had no problem being seen in an all black congregation so who’s more “Down”. On top of that I am mixed race myself! But was there one eligible black brother for me in the church? No, either too old, too young, married a few times himself or already with kids. What young 20 something would want all that baggage? So marry who you want to marry, nevermind the skin tone. If I had continued to wait in that church for Mr. Right he would have NEVER shown up! Period.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 3:22 am

      Yet, LT, single women are encouraged to the enth degree to seek a mate at church. It’s like getting invited to a party and no one shows up but you.

    • beautifulbrown permalink
      June 14, 2010 8:58 pm

      When I asked one of the preacher’s wives what was her take on interracial marriage she said “I think a couple can better serve God if the husband and wife are of the same race”. interesting.. why would got be concerned about the colour of your husband/wives skin..?? i thought he was interesting in you giving your life to him and serving him.. well i guess i am wrong..

  3. June 14, 2010 3:20 am

    I didn’t grow up going to a black church, so I’ve never been exposed to this kind of attitude. Well, let me backtrack a bit. As a child, I went to my mother’s AME church. But when I was in 5th grade or so, I started going to a predominantly white Baptist church because they had a deaf ministry there. Interestingly enough, interracial dating was frowned upon there. Years later, I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and started going to a parish whose origins lie in Russian Orthodox. Yes, there’s not a lot of black people (but growing, slowly). The attention is more oriented towards how people can follow Lord Jesus Christ and not so much as to who you should or shouldn’t date (though, obviously, traditional marriage between a man and a woman is strongly encouraged). So, I was never exposed to this harmful attitude that you described, nor was I exposed to men trying to get into my pants. I’ve found that traditional, conservative Christianity will tend to focus more on the spiritual aspects of worship.

    By the way, there are black Orthodox priests, one of the most famous being Fr. Moses Berry (his story is a very interesting one . . . one of those black men caught up in the criminal system and finding his way back to God). I don’t know what he has to say about this particular issue, but I do know that the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black holds an annual conference, and part of their mission is to heal the spiritual wounds in the black community).

  4. June 14, 2010 3:22 am

    I should clarify my point on “The attention is more oriented towards how people can follow Lord Jesus Christ and not so much as to who you should or shouldn’t date” . . . obviously, one is encouraged to seek out a partner who is spiritually healthy and has a good character.

  5. June 14, 2010 5:31 am

    First I want to say thanks for this post. I have a lot to say on this issue as a black exChristian woman. More later and thanks again.

  6. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 14, 2010 6:30 am

    LorMarie :

    First I want to say thanks for this post. I have a lot to say on this issue as a black exChristian woman. More later and thanks again.

    We’ll be waiting!

  7. zoriansmom permalink
    June 14, 2010 6:31 am

    To answer you about the church haven’t an invested interest in single women I think the black church as a whole just hasn’t kept up with the times to even honestly deal with the issues most are facing now, the black church doesn’t want a majority women congregation its just a reality.

  8. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 14, 2010 6:33 am

    This was comment from a poster on a site that I often post on. What do you all say about this?:

    “To ask this question is to assume that all churches are the same and insinuating (sp) that the christian church is trying to keep women single instead of doing the work that christ has bestowed upon them….what a carnal frame of mind….. maybe you should just ask about individual churches, or talk about YOUR church, because I’ve never attended a church that conspired to keep women single and I must laugh whenever I hear something as ridiculous as this. Ministering to people and spreading the good news is a lot deeper then you realize.
    My ministry is more important then this, I take my responsibilities very serious as I do with my relationship with the one true living God, the God of Abraham. The work of the true church has nothing to do with dating and worrying about getting folks hitched, thats not what its all about and I’m sorry that you feel this way. I pray that God reveals this to you and gives you a deeper understanding because if this is how you feel then your definitly not getting the whole picture. Anywho have a great day Christelyn”

  9. June 14, 2010 6:43 am

    I grew up in what was supposed to be a multi-racial church. Ok. I say “supposed to be” and that insinuates it wasn’t. When I was growing up (joined when the church first opened, I was 9), it was. By the time I was a teenager it had turned into more of a black/white thing, but that’s fine. We had a lot of interracial couples and almost all of them would say they were so happy to be in a place where they could worship without all the side-eyes.

    My mother was (almost relentlessly) pursued by a very nice white man (he was smart, he made me like him first) for the first time at this church, I was able to bring my white boyfriend to the church…

    But the truth of the matter was, there were side-eyes. It’s worth noting that while our slogan was “A place for every race” it was still a predominantly black church. There were the black men who thought that white guy who pursued my mother only attended the church because he had a fetish for black women.

    There were the side-eyes I got from some of my mom’s friends at the church when I brought my boyfriend (a couple of years later one of these same friends quizzed me on my dating history and all but instructed me to stay away from the white boys).

    I saw the side-eyes new interracial couples would get. It was like they had to prove themselves.

    I don’t think it’s a conspiracy of the church as much as black churches are just super concentrated pockets of blackness, in all of it’s goodness and faults. Tack on tradition to one of the potential faults of blackness and a black church becomes a safe haven for ridiculousness with regards to social progression.

    I really feel like Jesus is going to start pimp slapping black churches for singlehandedly turning off the most people from Christ. I really do.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 7:09 am

      Thanks for the comment…sounds like there were a lot of side-eye’s going on over there. To your comment regarding the impending wrath and lightening bold from the heavens: I agree. The TBC has been, and continues to be in a position of power to facilitate change. So much of what is going wrong–OOW children, the disparity of marriageable partners and their discouragement of interracial dating (some, not all. I rarely speak in absolutes). There’s no way in Hades I’d bring my husband and four children to the types of churches I frequented as a child and into young adulthood. It’s sad to me, because there are aspects of the TBC that I love and miss.

  10. zoriansmom permalink
    June 14, 2010 6:46 am

    Keeping women single is not a benefit to any church due to the fact that married people usually have a more prosperous life with more stability. My grandfather was a minister after retiring from boxing, and his storefront church had a congregation of mostly women a few of them married women but more of them single and unfortunately with not many available men there some of the women were eyeing the pastor whiched caused problems in his marriage. I also asked the pastor about interracial relationships he said “God made male and female in each ethnic group to be together as mates for a reason it is where you belong all black birds fly together all white birds fly together” that was his response.

    • SassyJ permalink
      June 15, 2010 12:56 pm

      @Zoriansmom- I have to respectfully disagree here a bit. I think single women are definitely more of a benefit to churches than married women. Single women (in the church’s view) have more time to dedicate to a ministry(ies) of the church, whereas a married woman is taking care of children and home. A good friend of mine (at the same church I reference below LOL) met her husband at church and they both ended up working there. Prior to them dating/courting, she was active in the church and her position in the children’s ministry. One of her colleagues was married and had children, and over the course of time, she noticed that she was asked to stay later after work, work additional days, and other committments, while the married colleague wasn’t asked those commitments. It was perceived as though because she was a single woman, she had all the free time in the world, basically, no life.

  11. June 14, 2010 7:07 am

    I don’t think there’s a conspiracy against black women in the church. However, I do see a huge problem with “church light” in the black community, where it’s all about the tradition of church on Sunday instead of the power of God through Jesus Christ. No one takes the gospel seriously; you just show up in your big hat, do the “church thing,” wail and shout for a few hours to assuage your guilt for the next six days. Then go home believing Jesus only lives at church–the way we used to think teachers lived at school. That kind of thinking poisons from the top down, and everyone–black women, black men, and their children–falls prey to the lie.

    Anyhow, I’m enjoying your blog! I’m married to a black man, but my church is multi-cultural and there are tons of interracial families within. I think interracial relationships are beautiful and, especially in our case, part of the reflection of a healthy church community.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 7:14 am

      Thanks for chiming in, Traci. Your church sounds like one I’d like to visit sometime! 🙂

  12. Dessalines permalink
    June 14, 2010 8:01 am

    This kind of perpetual idiotic dialog is what keeps people of African ancestry in a perpetual state of crisis. Perhaps dealing with the Black community’s state of chronic economic dependence along with virtual genocidal levels of incarceration of the black male population (with female numbers exploding) would be a good start. Incarceration levels the explosion of which is for crimes (non-violent) that have remained stead for years. Crimes committed by other at the same rates but do not lead to incarceration when the perpetrator is white. If the Black church is to fault it is by inculcation the notion that issues surrounding the Black community can be prayed away instead of being dealt with by taking collective, sustained and systemic action.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 8:29 am

      So…are you saying, yet again, that the onus is upon the BW to “save the race?” Really?

  13. Dessalines permalink
    June 14, 2010 8:02 am

    The notion that you are gonna interacial sex your way out of this problem is also idiotic. It does not even add up mathematically.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 8:31 am

      I have to (as respectfully as possible) wonder how much math you’ve had. Me, I suck at it. But even I know that once you open up your dating pool, there becomes a LOT more single men available.

      • June 14, 2010 9:36 pm

        Check AND Mate!!!!!!!!!!

        “I have to (as respectfully as possible) wonder how much math you’ve had. Me, I suck at it. But even I know that once you open up your dating pool, there becomes a LOT more single men available.”

      • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
        June 14, 2010 9:39 pm

        Hey girl! Thanks for stopping by. I do know how to throw a party, eh?

  14. Pamela permalink
    June 14, 2010 8:08 am

    Someone posted about the carnality about a church dealing with dating or somthing like that and that the message should be about reaching people. Whoever made that comment must go to a very unusual church. I say this sincerely. In almost every flavor of church I have attended highlighted marriage to the point that it seemed to be a badge of approval from God or some foolishness. Single people that want to marry (God’s idea) will think about it at least once in their lives. Ministers also know if they can pull the hesrtstrings of any group attending their churches the chance of people inviting more to cone will increase their opportunities for more offerings. Let’s be real. Many ministers will say anything to anyone in hopes of keeping the consumers (church members) returning for more. People know that they will not marry if people do not meet and discover chemistry in every area of life. One way to keep singles in church is to tell them to only date people in their congregation. The line given when I was growing up was to prevent doctrinal confusion. Their was one teenage boy to about 20 of us gals. They also taught tlhat being unequally yoked meant that you did not marry outside the race. I left the tbc when I left home never to return.

    I’m not sure of the conspiracy to keep bw single. That may be true for the lust filled preachers out there. I am totally convinced that many leaders will promise that God will bless them if they do X which in some form directly benefits the pastor and/or the church funds. The carrot for most single people is marriage. This hurts bw because of the drastic numbers of eligible bm in the church. My definition of eligible is more that his gender and that he is breathing.

  15. June 14, 2010 9:37 am

    How many of us can say we are a one race people? If anyone of you knows that for sure, please let the rest of us know. Being open to any man, no matter what color, who has what it takes to really make a family work, be responsible and love me for me is ALL that should matter. This whole thing about “sticking to your own” is BS. Many churches use scripture to promote an agenda…has nothin’ to do with God, nothin’ to do with Holiness. That’s for real. If you really study your Bible, Jesus came from a line of Gentiles and Jews. Jesus did not come from a line of one race of people. So what should that tell those of us that believe in Christianity or at least the prophets if you are Muslim or Bahai or some other faith? This whole thing of sticking to your own is another way for insecure “leaders” to try to control people.

  16. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 14, 2010 9:52 am

    Here’s another interesting comment I pulled from another blog that I posted on. Scary stuff.

    “I had a very bad experience with a “single’s group” once. The group leader used the group as a way of meeting women to manipulate. He was twisted soul. I had only gone to the group meeting twice before he tried to indoctrinate me into his harem. I left the group and reported him. They ignored me until somebody’s 16 year old turned up pregnant. All my other experiences with single’s groups would be more aptly named women’s group since there were no men. I don’t think they are conspiring to keep us single but I sure don’t think they help any with getting married.”

  17. NiQ permalink
    June 14, 2010 10:24 am

    I can honestly say that my church from home is the best. I grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts and it was for sure and “IR” haven. There were plenty of people married to their “own” but then again there were almost as many people there dating, engaged or married. Many people came to the church single and a year later were married with kids. So yeah I’m sure there are “bad” eggs but not faith baptist church.

  18. NiQ permalink
    June 14, 2010 10:35 am

    Excuse my rambling text cause I’m on my blackberry but I was saying that at my church there are just as many non IR at my church as there are IR ones. The church is very welcoming and I think that is why a lot of people did come to our church because no one have them the guilty look for being married to an white, asian, latin or black man. FYI I’m watching a baby story and they have had back to back married couples who the wife is black and husband white…how exciting.

  19. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 14, 2010 11:23 am

    A fellow Tweeter reached out to me and told her story about her TBC odyssey. Thanks, She Ponderings!
    http://sheponderings.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/living-outside-of-the-church/

  20. June 14, 2010 12:52 pm

    Thanks for this article! This sums up my experience in a nutshell with the church. She’s telling the truth about how it is in most organized religion, if you REALLY open your eyes. That’s why Jesus didn’t condone churches, really.

    • June 14, 2010 1:40 pm

      LT, I definitely can’t speak to your experiences, and I would never try to belittle or ignore them. I won’t pretend the church is perfect and that there aren’t those who use religion to further their personal agendas. I actually agree with almost everything you said in your first comment.

      But I have to speak up about your statement that Jesus didn’t condone churches. Jesus created the church and is the head of the church–this is what the Bible teaches, and this is what he said from his own lips. (For clarity, I’m not talking about a building full of random people. I’m talking about the people themselves who actually follow him. Jesus calls these people his body and himself the head.)

  21. June 14, 2010 1:55 pm

    I definitely hear what you’re saying Tracie and that’s what I was talking about, organized religion are the churches that I was referring to in my comment, is not what Jesus created. He spoke against the Pharisees and Saducees. It was these same people that wanted to stone to death the woman caught for adultery, but didn’t want to punish the man who was involved with her. Many churches are claiming to do God’s work while dividing people based off race and how much they put in the offering plate. They set up shop trying to push sales products like at the temple back in the day but if you or I were to come to them and ask for assistance, they won’t give it or will put some condition upon it. I’m speaking to those religious authorities that try to divide people in an effort to control and say if you don’t show up “here” at this time you are not a part of the church. It doesn’t matter where I am and if I don’t step foot in another “man’s” building again, so long as I believe and I am helping my family and community I am a part of the church, the one without a commercial name that’s simply called Christ’s people. The whole commercialized, organizational institution that pushes products and sermons mingled with bits of truth to keep you hooked is what Jesus was against, and other prophets for that matter for those reading who believe in other faiths.

  22. kaikou permalink
    June 14, 2010 2:56 pm

    I have felt uncomfortable going to the “black” church my mothere still attends. There is just something wrong in my mind of a man preaching to a group of 90% women (single) on what they should do in their lives. Any man that walked in there was immediately put on a pedastal and allowed to preach. There was a definite male hiearchy that didn’t flow in my child/teenage mind and I didn’t not look forward to attending. If you are a woman looking for a quality man at the church, it’s safe to say your chance are low if any. Either way why limit yourself to one place to meet a man? Time goes by too fast to have limits that aren’t necessary. If you are single and on the hunt venture elsewhere.

    • beautifulbrown permalink
      June 14, 2010 9:12 pm

      what your saying is so true.. i live in a predominately black society and when you attend churches women outnumber men 5:1..

  23. A.C. permalink
    June 14, 2010 5:36 pm

    Hello All. In my opinion, MANY churches endorse the “submission” of females, whether black or white. I am a Roman Catholic. I can imagine how many of you are cringing just at the mention of those words… a church associated with rigid, archaic behaviour and that has a less than spotless reputation both in the past and the present. We all know that the R.C. Church endorsed slavery; there were priests and nuns who committed atrocities against children and many other sex scandals. In fact, we know that women are encouraged to “serve the Lord” either through Marriage, joining the convent or service to the church. Only recently were there female Altar servers and deacons. The role of women in the church was mainly for wife, mother, teacher, assistant…

    Here in the Caribbean, I would see many interracial couples in the church; there would however, be the insistence that the couples be “equally yoked” through marriage IN THE SAME RELIGION, or else the partner who was not Catholic was asked to convert… at least in the past.

    Today, the church would marry ANYONE (Christian, Hindu, Muslim), as long as one of the spouses is Catholic. The Children, however, is supposed to become Catholic too. Conversion is now a CHOICE. Archaic views are a choice to uphold. There are many in the congregation who would uphold the hierachies, the snobbish, holier-than-thou attitudes, the exceptionally devout/ staunch behaviours that border on fanaticism. There are also people like my mother who taught us to embrace our faith but KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

    In other Pentecostal churches here, there was the adoption of the above African American attitudes (and accents…imagine a Trinidadian pastor preaching in an Afro-American accent, huh, yeah, huh, AMEN! How I laugh at them…) that are being discussed in this blog about equally yoked races, with very similar anti everyone-else-who-is-not-of-us, everything-for-the-pastor and His comfort attitudes etc…

    My point is that I really do not think that there is a conspiracy to trap BW in the church… However, I do think that the church not only tries to promote spiritual and moral values, but the views that the SOCIETY endorses… therefore, depending on the Church type, Social and historic background, type of community (Caribbean, Latina, African American etc),Pastor, priest, deacon, leader etc, that PERSON would normally endorse their views, the views of the church and/ or the views promoted by society.
    For Example (true story) let me give you the ideologies of three priests I’ve listened to in the past month here:

    Priest #1- After the Haiti Earthquake, he said that they “deserved” (paraphrasing) their “punishment” for all the voodoo they practice there. Of course it was a sign from God that they need to change their ways. Of course he does not mention their history, but his tainted views on it. He then proceeded to quote Canon laws of the church, THEN talked about what the Bible said. His views about Women would naturally be as staunch and strict…according to canon laws laid down by whatever pope of course…

    Priest #2- “The church is your church; it’s our church; we are the church friends; we should all remember our place in the church; not that I’m talking about class you know, when people are told to “know their place” (chuckles at his own joke), but I am talking about what we DO for the church and for our parishioners…let us pray…”

    Priest #3- ” Friends, God put us here so we can help one another, Amen? I had an interesting talk with a Parishioner, about her not wanting to help Vagrants. Now I understand how they are smelly, and not appealing, but how do you think that man must have looked to the good Samaritan? Did he not do God’s work when he showed kindness to that man? WE are all part of this parish. We are not here to judge, condone, gossip… we are here to fulfil God’s work and His plan for us…”

    In the end people, the role of the church in your life and its influence depend on YOU. If your Pastor/Priest/Deacon starts spouting words and attitudes etc that YOU do not believe in, then do NOT internalize those words. Move away from the negativity! Get to somewhere that endorses God’s love for us and positive, spiritual upliftment!

    I am a Roman Catholic. I do NOT endorse the errors of the church in the past or the stupid/archaic/ atrocious actions of some priests, nuns and the past church. I endorse my faith as it is, as it is what makes me comfortable. I endorse the good the church is doing now and God’s words and His love for me.

    Peace be with you all and Blessings.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 14, 2010 7:20 pm

      Thank you A.C. for your eloquent post.

  24. June 14, 2010 5:47 pm

    I will try my best to keep this short. I come from a strict pentecostal background but am now an exChristian. Strangely enough, the strict pents didn’t discourage a woman’s natural desire to be married or have children. A few years after I had become what is commonly referred to as a born-again Christian, I stumbled upon Charismatics (I group I consider to be far worse than pentecostals). Among them you’ll find the super spiritual foolish idea that no one needs to seek a mate but that God will whisper in your ear exactly who you are to marry. God will tell the other person too although probably not at the same time, LOL. With that said, women are taught to simply do church work until the magical moment that God speaks. Don’t date or even think about getting married…to do so would mean that you love marriage and relationships more than God. All a woman has to do is sit back and wait. Needless to say, I’ve known women (black and white) who were emotionally harmed as a result of this teaching. However, many white christian women woke up while black churches are still telling black women to wait on God. I knew a woman who would get up in front of the church and testify that she would maintain her faith that God would sent her a companion. She died a couple of years ago with no move of God in that area (LOL, my still present Christian lingo). My best friends and I are still single in our mid-late 30’s unmarried. Why? We listened to those telling us that we should simply wait and that we were wrong for desiring marriage. We believed the foolish hype. I lost my desire for marriage but my 2 friends still want it. They are both actively dating because they stopped believing the hype about waiting.

    To sum it all up, I don’t believe there is a conspiracy to keep black women single, but there are poisonous doctrines that are pushed on black women with good intentions if that makes any sense. Luckily, there are many christian groups who have abandoned such teachings…of course, they are mostly white.

  25. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 14, 2010 7:35 pm

    LorMarie :

    I will try my best to keep this short. I come from a strict pentecostal background but am now an exChristian. Strangely enough, the strict pents didn’t discourage a woman’s natural desire to be married or have children. A few years after I had become what is commonly referred to as a born-again Christian, I stumbled upon Charismatics (I group I consider to be far worse than pentecostals). Among them you’ll find the super spiritual foolish idea that no one needs to seek a mate but that God will whisper in your ear exactly who you are to marry. God will tell the other person too although probably not at the same time, LOL. With that said, women are taught to simply do church work until the magical moment that God speaks. Don’t date or even think about getting married…to do so would mean that you love marriage and relationships more than God. All a woman has to do is sit back and wait. Needless to say, I’ve known women (black and white) who were emotionally harmed as a result of this teaching. However, many white christian women woke up while black churches are still telling black women to wait on God. I knew a woman who would get up in front of the church and testify that she would maintain her faith that God would sent her a companion. She died a couple of years ago with no move of God in that area (LOL, my still present Christian lingo). My best friends and I are still single in our mid-late 30′s unmarried. Why? We listened to those telling us that we should simply wait and that we were wrong for desiring marriage. We believed the foolish hype. I lost my desire for marriage but my 2 friends still want it. They are both actively dating because they stopped believing the hype about waiting.

    To sum it all up, I don’t believe there is a conspiracy to keep black women single, but there are poisonous doctrines that are pushed on black women with good intentions if that makes any sense. Luckily, there are many christian groups who have abandoned such teachings…of course, they are mostly white.

    Wow, so sad about that lady that died alone waiting on God.

    The main point of this post, and using the word “conspiracy” was, in part, meant to incite conversation. As I read through all the posts from women all over the U.S. and abroad with the same experiences, I still say it’s a conspiracy. It is a conspiracy of silence. Silence about the real problems in the community, passes for people who don’t deserve them, false hope to desperate, lonely people. It is the sin of omission, not of co-mission. It is the sitting on the hands that I take issue with. The NOT doing–the complacency. When you sit and watch 70 percent of a female population unmarried (although I could allow a lesser percentage for those like you who now prefer to be single) and holding out hope for a group of males who have no problem exercising their options to marry other races, planting their seeds in wombs without a wedding, or not bothering to marry at all. Then with this knowledge, you sit on your hands. When so many women have the same story from all over, that’s a conspiracy, whether intentional or otherwise.

    As for faith, I am a strong believer in God. I know He is real and he has shown his presence in my life too many times for me to ignore. On the other hand, I am evolving into a fierce anti-religionist.

  26. June 14, 2010 8:56 pm

    I don’t think that the black church is purposely keeping women single. I too understand the issue of having many single women (of all ages) in a church with too few ie 1 or 2 men (hence.. I chronicle my plight as a single christian woman in my blog). I have also had this discussion with two other single christian women. The bottom line is men are just not interested in attending church unless they are married or trying to get married or wanting to get sex very easily. I do believe that us women are more faithful to Biblical teachings and are afraid to explore and this keeps us single and fighting over the 1 or 2 men that happened to be in the church.
    The church I attend has 2 or 3 interracial couples and no single men [That was the first thing I checked for :-)] but I have also attended a predominantly black church and had never seen so much as a white person visit (the once or twice a white person was there it seemed so out of place) so could you image if there was an interracial couple?
    The bottom line is churches will always be filled with single women of all ages. So any man that comes in has the pick of beauties because there are so many available women. I believe this is true of black, white and missed churches. The other truth is most women do not want to go outside of their religion and if you are in a predominantly black church then forget about having Bob, Giseppi or Hector accompany you to church. Furthermore, most churches do not focus on the issues of singles because the expectation is that single women should spend their time serving the Lord while waiting for him to deliver a good christian man.

  27. June 14, 2010 8:58 pm

    mixed not missed churches 🙂

  28. Ali permalink
    June 15, 2010 5:41 am

    I think there’s a def. a conspiracy. As Random pointed out, it’s a conspircay of silence. At my church, it’s 70% women – single women. The singles ministry is all women. Everyone who works there who is NOT the pastor is a woman – we’re the ones who tithe, who volunteer, who donate – black woman make 70% of the wealth in the black community, and donate and volunteer more than any other group in America, including white men – look it up.

    I don’t think people realize how many salaries depend on desprete, single black women. If these women started thinking for themselves and looking out for their best interests, the black community would collapse over night, and that’s the truth. That said, I don’t understand the mindless following of all church teachings. People can use the church to justify anything – they used to use it to justify slavery, back in the day.

    I like my pastor, I think his semons are really great, and I often learn something that I can mull over, use to improve my everyday life. I can honestly say that going to church enriches my soul and my spirt, and allows me to connect to the black community in ways I otherwise couldn’t – with a non -black partner and non-black co workers. I really look forward to church, I’ve attended Bible Study in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I also beleve in tithting, volunteeting, giving back, etc.

    ALL THAT BEING SAID – I’m not blind to the sad elderly ‘church ladies’ all around me when I’m there. I decided aginst joining the ‘singles ministry’ because the brainwashing was so sad and so obvious – all these women sitting around talking depretely about how to meet single black men. And half the men coming in with non-black women on their arms. Meanwhile, if you have a man who’s not the same color, you get dirty looks. Any black man, no matter how busted, is feted and fawned over as soon as he strolls into my church – the hopeful sisters line up.

    So I simply take everything with a grain of salt. Just because I love Jesus, doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything church folk say. I have no prob. with gay marriage, for example, or the concept of evolution, and many people in my church don’t believe in these things. I don’t understand blindly following everything the preacher says – why don’t these women think for themselves a little bit?

    You haven’t had a date in 20 years but you’re waiting on the Lord ’cause that’s what Pastor says? Talk about brainwashing – that’s pure foolishness. I mean I feel bad for them, but come on now. I’ve read the Bible front to back, and nowhere does it say ‘stay away from white men, die alone instead’. Go to church, take what you need, ignore the rest. I’ve been doing that for many years, and it works for me. THE PASTOR IS NOT GOD. AND ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME. period. So what’s the problem?

    sorry for misspellings.

    • Marie permalink
      June 18, 2010 6:49 pm

      Well said! And don’t sweat the misspellings; you came through loud and clear! A lot of the things you mentioned are the reasons I don’t really roll with organized religion. I have my faith, and I try to serve God in my way; I don’t need a church for that (not knocking the fellowship and sense of community you get from your church). I suppose I have witnessed too much hypocrisy from those who pride themselves on going to church regularly and being “Godly”, then acting a fool once they get out of church, as though there is some kind of cosmic do-over every Sunday.

  29. SassyJ permalink
    June 15, 2010 5:42 am

    Christelyn (sorry if I misspelled your name)

    I will come back to comment, but WHERE did you find the picture of the two ladies in the post???? If it’s who/what I think they are, it makes your post oh-so-relevant!

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 15, 2010 5:49 am

      iStockphoto.com is my crack dealer.

      • SassyJ permalink
        June 15, 2010 12:41 pm

        Okay, so I know those two women. I went to this “mega church” in California in middle school, off and on during high school and college, and then shortly after returning to Cali from undergrad. At this particular church, there was a group of women that were really close friends…and some family members. Sweet, funny, godly women. But they were all single. Around ’96, this particular group started a single’s ministry based off of the book “Knight in Shining Armor” by Michelle McKinney (I believe that is her last name). To this day, all of the originial group members are still single…doing this ministry. Now this particular church is extremely multicultural, I mean, peoples from alllll corners of the globe. But there are VERY few IR relationships with bw and non-bm. Most of the IR couples are bm and non-bw. Throughout this time, I’ve wondered why these women continued to be single. It seemed like even with remaining committed to God and the church, living full lives, having successful careers, but if looked at closely enough, there seemed to be some sadness.

        By all means, I am not speaking for the women in the above picture or trying to delve into specifics (cause i don’t know it all), but it brought a chuckle out of me when I realized the correlation.

  30. Browncow permalink
    June 15, 2010 5:53 am

    CW :
    Check AND Mate!!!!!!!!!!
    “I have to (as respectfully as possible) wonder how much math you’ve had. Me, I suck at it. But even I know that once you open up your dating pool, there becomes a LOT more single men available.”

    Exactly! I haven’t read all of the posts for this, but this guy (more than likely) or woman is arguing for BM’s stock going down due to BW dating and marrying out of the “community”. Has this person even thought of what is going on and how it effects BW? Well the answer is obviously NO. S/he is only thinking about the fact that if a great number of BW date/marry out then there will be a lot of BM single, but doesn’t give a sh*t about all the single black women out there. Like how many? 70% is what I heard last. No one is taking up for that vast number of BW who are single. Are they all to be a harem for BM to just knock up, shack up, and use up? This guy is full of crap and I can smell crap a mile away.

    As for TBC, my sisters go to those churches and I have a 40 year old sister who is single. She has been praying for a BM for like 20 years. I’ve told her that there are other men out there, but she continues to wait for her BCM (black christian man) to come to her door with a bouquet of roses and a ring to take her away to her fairy tale ending. Hasn’t happened yet. I feel that not only do a lot of churches have a vested interest in keeping the women single, the women are so indoctrinated in the church that they can’t see that they’re rotting in there. ALONE. While they’re being told that they can change a man, turn him heterosexual again with prayer (yes, I’ve heard this BS too from my sister who chased a gay man for like 5 years before giving up), pick up a broke down man and “fix” him. Well my sister tried that too and it also didn’t work. I just don’t get it and I have just decided to live my wonderful life as a SAHM (stay at home mother) with my beautiful husband and children and let the fools be fools. I can’t waste any more breath trying to get someone to see that what they’re doing is not working. My father and mother always told me that “experience is the best teacher, but for a fool there is no other way”, so I just let it be. End Rant…

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 15, 2010 6:00 am

      Cheers to a fellow SAHM mom!

  31. June 15, 2010 8:59 am

    These are great comments. Many of these ladies expressed frustration and shared experiences discussed in the article. SMH. Church is really not the place for women to be.

    And the poster that typed “I really feel like Jesus is going to start pimp slapping black churches for single-handedly turning off the most people from Christ. I really do.” had me ROFL! The image in my mind will stay the rest of the day!

  32. randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
    June 15, 2010 12:57 pm

    SassyJ :

    Okay, so I know those two women. I went to this “mega church” in California in middle school, off and on during high school and college, and then shortly after returning to Cali from undergrad. At this particular church, there was a group of women that were really close friends…and some family members. Sweet, funny, godly women. But they were all single. Around ’96, this particular group started a single’s ministry based off of the book “Knight in Shining Armor” by Michelle McKinney (I believe that is her last name). To this day, all of the originial group members are still single…doing this ministry. Now this particular church is extremely multicultural, I mean, peoples from alllll corners of the globe. But there are VERY few IR relationships with bw and non-bm. Most of the IR couples are bm and non-bw. Throughout this time, I’ve wondered why these women continued to be single. It seemed like even with remaining committed to God and the church, living full lives, having successful careers, but if looked at closely enough, there seemed to be some sadness.

    By all means, I am not speaking for the women in the above picture or trying to delve into specifics (cause i don’t know it all), but it brought a chuckle out of me when I realized the correlation.

    OMG are you serious? Oh! The irony. LMBO!! BWAHAAHAHAHAAHAA!!! Oh so sorry. That’s not funny. It’s sad. It’s funny/sad.

  33. June 15, 2010 3:08 pm

    Great pieces from both you and Deborrah, Christelyn. I agree that, unfortunately, many sisters seem to be treating God as a “genie” and expecting to be delivered a black prince in exchange for their service to their church community and their many prayers. I think many women miss the “mysterious ways” in which God chooses to answer us: in the silence to these “black prince” requests, in the slim pickings in many churches, in the presence of men from other ethnicities who express interest in us, in the comments of friends who encourage us to expand our horizons. I’ll never forget what Lorraine said in my book, about how she’d been praying for a Christian man… but when she met the man who ultimately became her husband, she tried to get him to go away. Finally she realized she’d been praying for a Christian man– and here he was. He just wasn’t in the package she’d expected, since he was white and a little nerdy. They’ve meen married now for 15 years! LOL.

    In the name of “religion”–and I don’t think we have to limit ourselves to Christianity– black women (indeed all women) around the world have been suppressed, oppressed and repressed. I’ve heard horror stories from women who “escaped” from the Nation of Islam and other black Muslim churches because they felt their resources were being taken advantage of in ways similar to what Christelyn and others described. If there’s a conspiracy, it’s in the mindsets of those who exploit the weakness of others for their own interests. You’ll find that in any human endeavor, churches included.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 15, 2010 7:09 pm

      “I think many women miss the “mysterious ways” in which God chooses to answer us: in the silence to these “black prince” requests, in the slim pickings in many churches, in the presence of men from other ethnicities who express interest in us, in the comments of friends who encourage us to expand our horizons.”

      My sentiments exactly, Karyn. It’s the drowning-man-in-the-lifeboat scenario. God answers prayers, but often doesn’t respond like a short order cook…(much to my chagrin, because I could really use $300,000. Thanks for chiming in, and loved your book–very well done indeed.

      • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
        June 15, 2010 7:24 pm

        Hmmm…
        Christianity=black women
        Islam= black men

        Too bad there’s no such thing as a Christislam, or a Muslichrist.

        In seriousness, thank you for taking the time to explain these nuances. What is interesting is that both religions subjugate women–which reinforces your point about the importance of being spiritual rather than being religious.

  34. Pantherbaby permalink
    June 15, 2010 7:41 pm

    @Sassyj. I’d like to respond to your disagreement with me for stating that women who are married being more of an asset to the church than single women the reason you mentioned you disagreed is because single women are more available to volunteer to help in various areas of the church can I pose a question to you: why would a single woman tie up her time doing all these various activities if she’s looking for a husband? Men don’t like a woman who is too busy and putting a lot of things in her life a man would wonder where would he fit in at? The reason why I stated married women being more of a asset is in the area of tithes and offerings if both the wife and husband are working she can usually tithe and give offerings more abundantly than a single woman which honestly speaking is a very big deal to most churches.

  35. June 15, 2010 8:09 pm

    To christianity’s credit, an argument can be made that it’s black woman affirming. Consider Number’s 12, The Song of solomon, the genealogy of Christ, etc. Thus, my problem isn’t with Christianity in and of itself, its certain denominations and their doctrines.

  36. June 15, 2010 10:24 pm

    I’m not sure this comment is relevant or not.

    15y ago, I was a member of a very large thriving Unitarian Universalist congregation. UU congregations are usually small. Like most UU churches, they were extremely liberal theologically and socially. We wanted to diversify our membership, created task forces, community outreach activities, joint-worship services, guest sermons, etc., to try to do so, and, while the events we held went marvelously, … we failed almost completely. Before our efforts, we had a smattering of mixed couples where the minority spouse might be either gender and just about any ethnicity, including Black, but no unmixed couples or minority singles. After two years, when I left, we had gained one Black female divorcée who was a friend of one of our ministers.

    Very educational. We made a lot of friends, but what we had to offer apparently just didn’t taste right, or didn’t have enough flavor, or maybe intimidated.

    I was the leader of this movement, and I took it rather hard.

    I just bring this up because here was a place where, if we could have made them comfortable, a few BW would have been greatly empowered to find a man. That wasn’t our goal, but that would have been a side benefit. It’s not at all easy to make such transitions happen, even when everyone involved wants it.

    — Aaby

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 15, 2010 10:38 pm

      Aaby, could it have been the music? The message (preacher)? I think that your plan was great but it might have failed not because of you, but because the music might have been boring or the preacher wasn’t charismatic enough–two things VERY important to church-going black people. I belong to a multicultural church with a white paster who is compelling and a multi-race choir. The place is teeming with interracial, biracial, ethnic, multi-ethic, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Icelandic…you name it. So I guess what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t take it too hard…there may have been other factors involved that were out of your control.

  37. June 15, 2010 11:24 pm

    I didn’t blame myself, except that I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to inspire much change in the look and feel of the services (sermon style, music, the ways the audience was encouraged to interact). Current members were quite satisfied with the existing style. *sigh*

    • Browncow permalink
      June 17, 2010 6:16 am

      Actually, my family attends a UU church in our area and we love it! The first UU church we went to was when we were living in New England and it was great. I loved the music (the director really reached to get some nice compositions played), the people were so sweet and helped us when we had our first baby, and though it wasn’t a diverse church in the least, we weren’t made to feel strange. I even liked some of the more traditional “churchy” things like when the musical director would put the piano on pipe organ and I felt like I may need to kneel.

      The church we attend (infrequently at this moment) is really nice as well, and becoming very diverse. There are several multiracial couples including my husband and I who attend and a couple of black couples with children who come as well. They aren’t First Universalist in Yarmouth though. I still miss that church. Had we stayed we would have become full on members in a heartbeat. We’re still looking for the UU church for us since we love the openness of the church and how I don’t have to change my belief system to be a part of it. My husband and I are also an interfaith couple so it’s a wonderful place for us to go in that respect too and where we can meet in the middle per say.

      Anyway, I agree with Christelyn (sp?) when she says that maybe the church wasn’t “jumping” enough to attract a more diverse membership. Too bad. The UU church is a great place to meet new people, that is unless the church is pretty old in its members, then you’re kind of stuck if you’re looking for a date.

      • June 17, 2010 7:32 am

        The Twin Cities have an odd racial dynamic, compared to other metro areas. For benign historical reasons, it’s very white, but also very accepting. Because of the excellent social services, refugee immigration (African, SE Asia, Russian, Tibetan) has really flourished here, and there has been a lot of economic immigration from distressed parts of the US.

        This means there is majority of Whites (Northern Euro ancestory) who live comfortably and have deep roots here, and a very fast growing and varied minority segment that is poor but mostly successfully striving.

        Specifically for Blacks, there is a huge income disparity w/ Whites, bigger than most of the rest of the US, which might lead one to assume it’s a place w/o opportunity for Blacks. But a close examination reveals that the disparity is greatly due to heavy immigration of people who come here poor but with a lot of justified hope.

        In other words, there are very few middle-class Blacks or other minorities because most came here from elsewhere recently and haven’t been here long enough to reach their potential.

        Altogether, this leads to the unusual situation that Whites and Minorities (esp. Black) live in radically different circumstances, YET race relations (even IR) are quite good here relative to elsewhere in US.

        But despite not too bad race relations, the pronounced differences in class and culture make integrated congregations difficult to pull off.

  38. Bunny77 permalink
    June 16, 2010 5:43 am

    SassyJ :
    Around ’96, this particular group started a single’s ministry based off of the book “Knight in Shining Armor” by Michelle McKinney (I believe that is her last name).

    I have that book. It’s by P.B. Wilson. I was given that book as well as a gift in oh, 1996! (I’m not from California though, so I wasn’t in that group! :))

    While a few of my BW friends who subscribed to the general notions in black single Christian women’s books have gotten married, a whole lot more are single… and still reading/praying/hoping.

    • randomthoughtsfromcali permalink*
      June 16, 2010 8:13 am

      Bunny! You came! Are they organizing a party to have me stoned in that “other” forum? hee hee

  39. June 16, 2010 12:53 pm

    I really think it’s important to not limit ourselves at an opportunity for true love. We cannot allow others, church or no church, to dictate to us one of the most serious and crucial parts of a person’s life. I wish that I had given myself more time and more options as I was intentionally leaning towards and doing when I entered the dating game before getting married. If I had allowed myself more time with a greater pool of men from different backgrounds, I truly believe I would have found my soul mate. If Mr. Right happens to be black, good, but Mr. Right, just as Mrs. Right is not limited by skin color.

  40. June 16, 2010 7:09 pm

    Amazing. Please keep them coming!

  41. June 17, 2010 7:21 pm

    I’m so glad so many bw are posting about these relatiionships. I get so tired of hearing about the negativity although I know that it’s tough at times.

    Wonderful post!

  42. June 17, 2010 7:24 pm

    oops wrong post^

  43. Mabel permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:20 pm

    You know it is stated in the Bible that we are Gods and Jesus said anything he did we can do it too. Basically, we don’t need God to pull off anything, what we really need God for is for guidance since HE knows the heart of all persons and we are limited, HE can effectively direct us if the man/woman we are interested in is genuine. As for achievement the sky is the limit for all Godly persons who believe that they are made in the image and likeness of God.

Trackbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Is There a Conspiracy in the Traditional Black Church to Keep Black Women Single and Lonely? « Beyond Black & White -- Topsy.com
  2. Part II: Is There a Conspiracy by the Traditional Black Church to Keep BW Single? « Beyond Black & White

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: