I really want to get this going....

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Friday, November 28, 2008


251. HANGING OUT AT THE OLD CHURCH - 'God So Demanded a Fealty' - (nyc, 1970):

I couldn't feature any other aspect of things except continuity and simplicity - the sort of things which came from steadiness and awareness and because of that I'd often stop into places where there would be something to learn - something anything no matter what - the small Negro churches tucked in old cinder block buildings - they'd not think twice to let me or anyone in if you simply approached - singing along with a hymn or two and listening carefully to all the rising cadences of the preachers whether extreme preachers worldly preachers or strictly religious conservative ones : those intent on saving hearts and souls had always to be contrasted with the others who took the precise opposite tack of God benefiting believers and awarding wealth and possessions and money and gold to those who firmly believed and it was still a big deal - that sort of Rev. Ike ideology was - all through many of the black churches tucked here and there and way uptown in Harlem there was even a temple dedicated to that proposition - a really true and exalted Rev. Ike Temple - but sometimes the distances between these two forms of worship were so extreme as to render everything useless - prayer was hope and hope was prayer and nothing else made a difference really and that was the point of view I took as I sat on metal chairs or cheap flexible pews to listen to the words of one or another - either for comfort or care I couldn't decide - a sometimes warmth and a sometimes chill but always a refuge and somewhere to be : it had always seemed to me that poverty had its own methods of going about things and that (it always happened) when situations got so dire and extreme and the people were left with nothing but their own local ghetto - when businesses and stores and all the rest had given up and moved out - that was when the small converted storefront churches came in - taking over one after another defunct building fronts and almost really never 'looking' like churches yet bearing the simple signs like 'Shiloh Baptist Reformed' or 'Blazing Light Heavenly Church' or 'Right of God's Glory Temple' and all the rest - always then with some minister's name tagged on as if they were the author of the book so entitled or they were the ones claiming the prize of both the title and the church AND the ear of God Himself - and the people loved it and they'd dress all up to come in - big hats and store-bought Sunday finery and shiny shoes and big handbags - and it all made for a stunning and perplexing show of both Glory and Beseechment yet I always wondered why this God so demanded a fealty which resulted in nothing more than showy clothing and cheap attempts at portraying some weird form of worldly success such as this clothing supposedly showed - it was never understood by me but I never really cared either - and I knew I could never partake nor grasp what black religion like this was about anyway : idols and images and the trite symbols and trappings of 'worldly' success so as to prove a spiritual success - perplexing all the time and it did always seem that as soon as civilization crumbled and the local social structure moved out the small storefront churches and religions moved in but in any case by this time overall Christianity - all of it - had disproved itself of any real value and had become a mere set of markers by which to note and declaim various 'achievements' one of which was somehow the claim a person made upon his or her own soul : in some incredible (and indecipherable) fashion all these church yappers seemed to have it smugly in control how they would go about or had already gone about achieving their salvation (on purely personal terms) even as they declaimed the source of it for all Mankind - oddly disproving then in their way how they'd gone about the selfish achievement of their own destinies and salvations - selflessness vs. pure selfishness - something I never did quite understand and no one was ever able to explain to me how all religion wasn't a mere vanity : in any case I went around everywhere I could and did eventually come to my own terms and enlightenments with any personal (and very 'quiet' by contrast to these many noisome rabbles) structures of belief and credulity and no matter anyway that I'd seen religion as yet another form of exploitation and nothing more - the exploitation of weak people by self-appointed power brokers in mitres robes and gold and scabbards lording it over the weaker folk with gibberish and magical incantations chanted and spoken along with control-manias of 'secret' information insider tactics old-boy networks and darkened corridors of chant and sorcery- each item of which the weakest fell for the hardest and what IS control anyway really but a political tactic of monstrous proportions - proportions worthy of death and warfare propounded for a cause and in this case a 'cause' made up of holy writ and certain inalienable traits of power and origination by which thousands and thousands and thousands of people needlessly died in all their religious crusades fiery 30-year wars and inquisitional slaughters - no I found the tactics of warfare to be on a par with the tactics of religion any day and thus could never quite understand the crazed-post-African freed-slave tactics of all those singing and dancing and wailing and yelling 'religiousiers' in all of their down-home churches and found none of it any different than any stupid Easter in any St. Patrick's Cathedral anywhere uptown OR downtown.


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