Archive for March, 2011

One More Church?

March 7th, 2011 Comments off

Quaint steepled churches of our parents’ time are gone and replaced by palatial structures costing millions of dollars. Shuttle buses and valet parking are common along with patrolling security as well as video surveillance. Today’s megachurches are architectural treasures filled with state of the art sound systems, television studios and stadium seating. Within a 9-mile radius of my home stand six churches that cost well over $100 million to build. The Potter’s House is about a mile out side of that radius and comes in at a little over $30 million.

Within that same radius, there is only one hospital, a handful of schools and plenty of neighborhoods that could stand makeovers. Less than six blocks away from  three of the churches are large pawn shops and car lots. Nevertheless, the modern edifices are remarkable sights often taking up several blocks of space for parking and large congregations. The churches are air-conditioned, lavishly decorated and a phenomenal waste of money that could be put to better use. The last thing the black community needs is another church especially when people are out of work, lacking insurance and struggling to keep their homes. Just four blocks away under the I-20 bridge at least six panhandlers set up permanent residence. Around the corner from the bridge is a parking lot where a Dallas policeman was shot to death. On the backside of the same modern edifice, just a half mile down the street sits Southwest Center Mall, where all the anchor stares such as Macy’s and Penny’s left long ago. However, there are seven tennis shoes stores in the mall and at least four clothing stores where the latest in pimp suits can b purchased.

It is not the Mall’s fault. The area  headed down long ago when legitimate businesses moved out and check cashing shops and payday loan buildingsTmoved in. In other words, although the churches are in the community, they are not of the community. Millions of dollars for  at best dubious investments and in reality–a waste of money. These temples to egocentricity palatial eyesores for anyone knowing of the squalor surrounding them. There are two libraries  within a couple of  miles and a few small businesses where few if any blacks are employed.

On Sundays, the Mercedes, Lexus, BMWs and the occasional Bentley are parked outside these monuments to God as is only fitting. Well known pastors for these churches rake in millions of dollars every year, but one needs to study diligently to find where that money hides. In all honesty, the majority of churches in the community are little more than are entertainment spots in all but name. They are the Sunday morning night clubs complete with music and a show with Christian rappers, comedians, steppers and interpretive dancers. To make sure the show goes on; ATM machines line the walls for easy access to your cash. All that is missing is a bar, however, there are coffee stations to help you get your swerve on while sitting in the comfortable seats.

Looking at these palaces to ego makes the blood boil considering that nearly 16 percent of  blacks are without jobs, nearly half have no insurance and the situation is getting worse. One hundred million dollars would go a long way toward feeding families, paying for doctor visits and buying groceries. A private school, library or even a recreation center would be useful. The list of things to do with that much money goes on and on, but another church building is not one of them. It is enough money to fund several businesses that would bring employment to the community, but we get churches instead. Buildings that sit unused all week, collecting dust and housing a few staff members waiting for Sunday to come when they fill to the rafters.

Barring a surprise appearance by Jesus, they Holy Ghost dance halls are an embarrassment to black Americans struggling to make it. It is a slap in the face of all hard working African Americans trying to make ends meet to have to drive past these places after a hard day of work and there is no one there, literally or figuratively. It seems that the more things change the more they stay the same. We got plenty of nothing but “we gonna see Jesus.” Hallelujah!

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