Friday, March 6, 2009

Still Searching

In 2005, the Washington Post published an essay by my husband John W. Fountain entitled "No Place for Me." The essay literally went around the world, published in newspapers across the country, overseas and forwarded via email to thousands. The impact of the essay and the discussion that it generated were phenomenal. John received thousands of emails from people of every denomination (even atheist), race and walk of life.

Below is an excerpt from the original essay (please click "No Place for Me" to read the full essay) and some recent poetic thoughts from John.


“…I am the grandson of a pastor and am myself a licensed minister. I love God and I love the church. I know church-speak and feel as comfortable shouting hallelujahs and amens and lifting my hands in the sanctuary as I do putting on my socks.

Yet I now feel disconnected. I am disconnected. Not necessarily from God, but from the church.

Somewhere along the way, for us, for me, the church -- the collective of black churches of the Christian faith, regardless of denomination -- lost its meaning, its relevance. It seems to have no discernible message for what ails the 21st-century black male soul…”

From Washington Post essay “No Place for Me” by John W. Fountain

Still Searching for the Church I Once Knew
By John W. Fountain

I sit here, no place for me
The sanctuary filled with psalm and praise,
though I am mostly in a haze
Stuck between the memories of times past
When the spirit was high
When I stood on Sunday's
Clinging to my last
Of one-suit days
And heart-felt praise
And yet, I sit dazed
Feeling like a fish out of water
Like a son with no father
Under the incandescent lights
Pews half filled
The usual sights
And yet I feel here
So un-Christ like

And rhythm and motion
Yet no plan for the sick,
The widows
The poor
For brothers who need so much more

Just commotion

And yet,
I love this place
Where I found grace and the wisdom of the church mothers
Who mothered me
And fathered me
A spiritual son to maturity
But now full grown
It feels so wrong
Even as my feet pat to song
Another song
Ringing: “Thank the Lord for Jesus”
Everybody singing
Everybody singing
Just singing
Just singing

1 comment:

Lisa Maria Carroll said...

I can't believe it's been almost four years since this essay appeared in the Washington Post. The amazing thing is that it's still around. I was talking to a brotha in Charlotte a short while ago, and he brought it up. It had been published in a small community newspaper.

Like John, many Black men are still searching, trying to figure out where and how they fit into the church. I don't have the answer, but I pray that one day they will all find the solace they so desperately seek.

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