Saturday, October 1, 2011

#24- New Christian Cool 2

1.  A House Divided


At my new semi-permanent church Emmanuel Haitian Baptist Church there were two bodies in one building.  The church was essentially segregated based on language and culture.  Although we were all Haitians to some degree language, style, and tempo caused us to choose one side or the other.

Having been in the states since 1988 I couldn't keep up with the older side.  They were boring and I got nothing out of the experience except tiredness.  This was distressing because I felt that I was still Haitian enough to make it through those dreadful sermons.

Luckily Emmanuel had a budding youth movement.  I had visited the church when things were still being sorted out when the youth preached and hollered on the second floor.  Upon my steady return they had established themselves as a separate entity called "New Vision Emmanuel Baptist Church" on the first floor.  I didn't like the separation of old vs. new because I felt like more kids were like me in the fact that we were losing our Creole and our Haitian identity.  As painful as the sermons was I liked being around other Haitians.

What really got me interested in Emmanuel and eventually new vision was their Sunday School.  It was fun to come to church early and be in a small, focus-group type setting.  It was there that I was able to ask questions and be myself.  The topic that drew me in was relationships and dating for Christians.

The teacher was a beautiful, dark-skinned sister with a heart of gold.  She promoted an abstinence-based approach to dating.  I was barely able to withhold my comments when I blurted out that their standards were not only unrealistic but dangerous.  I told them that men did not take girls out just to be friends.  I spread common sense as best as I could and drew uneasy gazes from the pupils.  I had no idea of how much that I had rocked the boat but I started making waves that would eventually reach the Head Negro In Charge.

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