I ran across news of the book, “The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking out on Religion—and Others Should Too” in one of my favorite Facebook communities, For Black Women Only. I couldn’t be more delighted that many black women–the backbone of the black church and the golden lining of the preacher’s pocketbook–are FINALLY leaving the black-church culture that tells black women to stuff their feelings down and pray it all away, which often blames the sufferers of depression and mental illness of not being “holy” and “sanctified” enough. And as a result, many black women, faithful to the church, stifle their pain with food and praise dancing.
Author Candace R. M. Gorham explains…
More about the book:
Black women are the single most religious demographic in the United States, yet they are among the poorest, least educated, and least healthy groups in the nation. Drawing on the author’s own past experience as an evangelical minister and her present work as a secular counselor and researcher, The Ebony Exodus Project makes a direct connection between the church and the plight of black women. Through interviews with African American women who have left the church, the author reveals the shame and suffering often caused by the church—and the resulting happiness, freedom, and sense of purpose these women have felt upon walking away from it. This book calls on other black women to honestly reflect on their relationship with religion and challenges them to consider that perhaps the answers to their problems rest not inside a church, but in themselves.
When Deborrah Cooper came out with her ground-breaking expose′ on the black church, it caused quite a ruckus, but it looks like the movement is catching on.
More than anyone, black women need healing. We need our souls fed. We need our mental illness addressed and attended to. We need not be shamed out of it because some folks are scared that money for the psychiatrist means less money in the offering basket. As a long-time sufferer of General Anxiety Disorder, I was told by my church and well-meaning family members to just pray for healing and thought it was unnecessary that I took Zoloft when all I needed to do was clap three times, read the 23rd Palms and the Lord’s Prayer 10 times in a row and like magic, the palpitations, sleeplessness, inexplicable crying, whirring thoughts of doom would go away. If I were just Christian enough, the Lord would heal me.
More than anything, I’m grateful that a critical mass of black women are beginning to question certain dogmas that have been spoon-fed to us, and that we are becoming more focused on ourselves and on our well-being.
And thank God for that!
Now does this mean every black woman should become an atheist for her own sanity and well-being? Hell no. Once folks realize that God doesn’t just live in church we’ll all be better off. Religiosity is of man. Spirituality is divine.