The black church isn’t questioned about racial diversity, relevance, or leadership struggles. It thrives upon segregation, and in the face of mounting questions around new age religious outreach and doctrine, and collectively bad PR about leadership and transparency.
Several HBCUs, for the exact same reasons, face the possible indignity of closure and cultural disdain among African-Americans. Why does one scrape to survive and the other thrive in the face of similar cultural challenges?
When the church struggles, seemingly, parishioners work diligently against the words and ways of man interfering with the anointed work and people of God. When the HBCU struggles, it’s classified as the failure and incompetence of man that even God can’t correct. An interesting dichotomy, given that many HBCUs were either started by churches, or founded to train black clergy.
The black church promises spiritual salvation and the path to blessed living. The black college promises liberation from social ignorance and economic hardship. The two share common struggles for support, balanced representation in media and engagement for today’s black youth. They also share a lasting and vibrant legacy of political clout, community outreach and activism.
Yet only the black college faces angst and lethargy against its existence, with most of the hottest opposition coming from its own people.
Heaven help us. Seriously.