Our Church is better than that…

“So often the contemporary Church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the statusquo.”-MLK

To my fellow clergy, and friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, peace and blessings be with you all this Sunday morning. I really need to talk about this song–Amazing Grace. I take issue with this song and remained mystified that the black church continues to sing this mess. Has anyone taken the time to find out what the origins of that song? Has anyone closely examined the words of that song?

“How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” –John Newton

Hmmmmmmm… a wretch like me…now, what in the world have I done so awful that I should sing a song and call myself a wretch? A wretch, just think about the actual meaning of the word in relation to you and the good life you live. Well, let’s go to the dictionary and see what the word means.

Wretch- A base or dispicable person.

Is that YOU?

I thought not!

Why did John Newton write the song Amazing Grace?

First, who was John Newton?

John Newton was a slave owner, slave trader, and a rapist of black women slaves he owned. One day John Newton was in a boat at sea and a big storm came in and rocked the boat violently, John Newton thought he was going to die and so he began to seriously pray and asked God to save him. God heard his prayer and saved his life. In return John Newton wrote a personal song to God.

This song Amazing Grace was not a song for us to sing! This song was a song for this one vile human being –John Newton to sing.

So, I do not understand why this song is still sung in any church. I joined the United States Navy when I was 17-years old and the very first time I came home in my dress white uniform my mother was so proud of me and she pleaded with me to go with her to church the following Sunday. Mother reminded me I should wear my navy uniform–dress whites. So, mother and I go to her church and we are quickly handed hymn books. We read from the book and both begin to sing. All is well until we get to that song–Amazing Grace. I am aghast at the lyric I’m reading:

“How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

I stopped singing and put the hymn book down, church was over for me. On the ride back home mother asked me why I didn’t sing Amazing Grace. I said,

“Mother, I’m just only seventeen-years old, what have I done in my short life that I should call myself a wretch?” There was silence the rest of the way home and the subject was never brought up again. Many years later I would meet Dick Gregory and Dick Gregory was the one who really educated me on what a vile dirt-bag John Newton was.

Today, when I think of a wretch, I’m thinking–Dylnn Roof; the young man who slaughtered nine church members during Bible school service in Charleston, South Carolina.

So I say to my fellow clergy with great passion,

no one in our church should be singing that dreadful song. We are so much better than that.

Peace and Blessings…

Charles Micheaux


Author: Charles Micheaux

Charles Micheaux is an orator & philosopher. Charles has been a professional speaker since September 9th 1997. His highest honor is receiving a personal letter from Rosa Parks for his work in Baltimore, Maryland. Charles was a contributor at Yahoo for three-years.

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