July 27, 2010

Black Preaching Myths – Is It Only For Black People?

Some have the idea that Black preaching is only for Black people. You “preach Black” when you are in front of Black people and you “preach White” while in front of our Caucasian brothers and sisters. One wonders what are you supposed to do when preaching in front of a evenly ethnically mixed congregation.

This misconception is largely based in the idea that Black Preaching is just about style. We have already discussed that myth at this link. You shout loud while in front of Black people and you keep your volume down while in front of other groups is this faulty idea.

However, this is a myth that robs Black preaching of its ability to communicate to all. As Sherman Cox notes, “Black Preaching is not about WHO will hear our preaching, but WHO is preaching.”

No we preach to “whoever is sitting in front of us,” but we come to the text with a mindset that is born in the unique experience of being the outcasts of society. That angle on the text allows the Black Preacher to speak to all who have been alienated from the dominant. We can speak to those who have been set aside because we come from a group that has been set aside. We can speak to the depths of pain that only those who have been marginalized can feel.

Photo by Matthew Woitunski

So no, we don’t just speak to Black People, but we do make a specialty of speaking to the hurting. So if we speak to white folks, we zero in on the hurting ones. We don’t just speak to Black People, but we do make a specialty to speak to the marginalized. we don’t speak to just Black People, but we do make a specialty of speaking to those who find themselves with “their backs against the wall.”

No!! Black Preaching is simply what we do as Black Preachers. We may alter the style somewhat in different locales, but we are still obedient to the Master who calls for us to remember “the least of these” in all of our preaching and messages.

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George Larry

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