Community Capacity Building in African American Churches
Chapter 4. The Erotic in the Faith Socialization of Black Churches
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There is such a disconnect between our faith and our daily life. And that is where religion comes in. So Black youth just learn how to be religious and not deal with all the issues they are going through. But I have that openness in my church. Very much so. Even in the way of discussing sexuality. And even though we once weren’t allowed to [speak of sexuality in the church]. But the pastor realized we are living in a world where people have those [sexual] secrets that do need to be heard.
—Carlyle Hampton, Youth Pastor Cathedral Redeemer Church
Today, the prevailing culture in Black churches is still one of silence, repression, denial, miseducation…. When it comes to talking about sex in Black faith institutions, many of our churches are in real trouble, insecure and inarticulate in matters of human intimacy…. A frank new discussion about sexuality and the sacred including women and men, gay and straight, young and old, students and faculty, laity and clergy, is urgently needed.
—Alton B. Pollard III1
This chapter analyzes how parents and pastors teach the relationship(s) between religion and the erotic in the socialization of African American ← 89 | 90 → teenagers. As Pastor Hampton observed, the faith engagements and ritual of religious affiliation are too often disconnected from one’s sexual self and from other life aspects understood as taboo and responded to as necessary secrets unto one’s faith life. This artificial separation of the...
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