Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. – Malcolm X

Estimated time to read: 16 minutes

Over the past few weeks, I have personally been invited into conversations and asked if it is possible for people to be [devout] Christian and members of Black Greek-letter organizations – that is, sororities and fraternities. Without hesitation, blink of an eye, or wavering of mindset, my answer is an emphatic: Yes! Though this answer comes simply and without a shadow of doubt for me, I realize that not everyone is as confident in responding in the same way. Thus, I saw it fit for me to express my rationale with you here as honestly and transparently as I am able.

But first things first – please do read this disclaimer (#1):

This blog post is NOT for you if you:

  1. Are a closed-minded, Pharisaical type Christian
  2. Have not (re)dedicated your life to Jesus Christ and are not sold out and hot for Him
  3. Have no interest in Greek Life
  4. Simply are a hater of sorority or fraternity members
  5. If you are a pseudo-Greek-life member who thinks you know the ins and outs of the processes, but truly do not, yet refuse to truly seek understanding

This blog post is FOR you if you:

  1. Are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ
  2. Are genuinely open-minded and interested in learning
  3. Are curious how it is possible for someone to be a devoted follower of Jesus and serve no other gods
  4. Have interest in one day joining a Greek-letter organization
  5. Are possibly wondering if you jumped to quickly and thinking you made a mistake denouncing your membership in a Greek-letter organization

Disclaimer #2: This post is focused on my personal journey into and through my sorority and loosely focused as a whole on the sororities and fraternities of the Divine 9, Black Greek-letter organizations. As we are grouped under one umbrella (National Pan-Hellenic Council), I cannot speak to any other/non-black sorority as I am not a member.

Disclaimer #3: Please do not be confused about the PEACH and green colors of my outfit here; “[I’m] a Delta, so I been throwing that Dynasty sign.” I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated AND just celebrated my 10th Deltaversary. And as someone who is 100% a devoted follower of Christ, I believe I am pretty well experienced to speak on this subject.

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

As I look back to when I decided I wanted to pursue membership into Delta, I remember questioning if it was truly for me or if I was just simply following in both of my sisters’ footsteps. I pondered with the options of joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated or simply foregoing it all; for me, the other two sororities of the Divine 9 were not routes I wanted to explore. As a legacy of Delta, constantly being around my [birth] sisters and their sorority sisters, I loved their bonds and interactions with one another and what the Delta girl stood for: academic excellence (that is what we were in college for primarily!), service to our communities (specifically the Black community), aid to the world globally and so much more. (Please read Delta Sigma Theta’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust for more information on the pillars of public service implemented by the organization). With further research and yes, prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, I decided to proceed with my pursuit of membership in Delta Sigma Theta.

Now, before the Pharisees who decided to stay and continue to read this post jump on my tongue for saying, “I decided to proceed with my pursuit of membership in Delta Sigma Theta,” I want us all to keep in mind, everything in life first begins with a decision or choice. This includes choosing to follow the ways of Jesus – God gives us free will to follow or not to follow Him. In like manner, as I had decided to follow Jesus years prior, I also decided to purse membership in Delta.

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

Having had good seeds planted in me thanks to my parents, sisters, and even words of wisdom spoken to me by friends (unbeknownst to them, I am sure), my desire to please God was rooted in me from an early age. Does that mean I haven’t made stupid choices or said dumb things? Of course not – which is not any different than any of you reading this post right now. We are all subject to falling, but we should get back up.

I was hip to the foolishness that could ensue during membership intake processes, so I knew to always be on alert for things that would compromise my morals and faith, and if need be, to run like Joseph ran (Christian joke).

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

At this very moment, ten years in the game, right hand in the air, left hand on the Bible, I can say I never did anything at any time to compromise my walk with my Lord as an interest or member of Delta Sigma Theta.

  • I never bowed or prayed to any foreign gods. Period (with an exclamation point)!
  • I never had to perform any sexual act or favors for anyone – ever. I am expectantly waiting on good Lord Jesus to come through with this God-ordained future husband of mine to be my one and only. Come through, sweet Jesus!
  • I never was beaten or bruised to become a member. Touch not my anointed, do My prophet no harm (1 Chronicles 16:20-22) was at work for me – hey hey! Jesus loves Him some me!
  • I never was forced to drink alcohol in any capacity. I have drank alcohol before (never with the intent to get drunk), but completely stopped over five years ago after the accident and coma of friend truly opened my eyes for the need to be sober-minded at all times.
  • I never was forced to smoke or get high. But OK yo, I have quite a few Arabs friends who love their shisha (hookah) and I used to rock with it too. Then when I came to myself, I realized how much energy that thing took and how it was polluting the Holy Spirit’s dwelling place, so I had to cut it. Simple decision for me.

How so?

Because I have a burning desire to please God at all times – behind closed doors, in public, in the streets, in the mountains, in the valley. Click To Tweet

Everywhere I am. If that means I need to cut some things or some people – yes, that includes Delta – out of my life to get where God needs me to be to honor Him, by all means, I have no issue doing so. But with regards to Delta, God has not asked me (Adebisi) to do that (yet?). Quite honestly, it’s most likely because I have (and will) never put Delta before Him so He trusts me. I am not ignorant to the fact, however, that there are people who have, including people I know personally, and there are still some young women to come who will.

There are people who are super desperate for belonging that they seek membership into Greek-letter organizations and do just about anything to gain membership. There are people who are so thirsty for attention and just want to step and stroll thinking that’s the beginning and end of Greek life. There are people who are simply posters – those who just stand and sit about with their [pyra]mid, pinkie, or the likes in the air, letting the wind blow through their hair, but yet they offer not one beneficial thing to the organization to which they pledged and should have never been offered admission in the first place.

The buzz around how sororities and fraternities are demonic has truly piqued my interest and has offered me a few good chuckles. What is defined as angelic or demonic could be subject to personal experiences and self-identification.

We are not ignorant or oblivious to fact that illegal activity happens in some organizations when new members are being initiated – rampant news stories have reported this time and time again. But that is not because of the organization, more than it is the people who are its members. Classifying an entire group of organizations as being demonic is completely backwards and not of God. Everything we do has some “secular” component to it somehow and someway. If we are speaking about demonic forces at work, they are present in all places we are and things we do.

These organizations are not of the dark side, but rather initiate people into the organizations who do not fully know themselves and unfortunately get lost in the sauce. The simple truth of the matter is that hurt people hurt people … broken people break people … confused people confuse people. So if you have someone whose intentions for joining the organization are misconstrued – guess what? – that person will in turn misconstrue the process for the next incoming class of people. People will always be people regardless of where they are or what group they are associated with.

In your place of employment, there is unethical behavior day in and day out. There is fornication and adultery among co-workers, embezzlement among the leadership and financial department, foul language in the mouth of people of all different ranks. Yet because you see an immediate benefit for your pockets with their bi-weekly salary, you probably, knowingly or unknowingly, close your eyes and overlook the sin right in front of you.

On college campuses, there are students dropping out every single day, wild orgies and drunkenness in dorms, and cheating on homework and exams. Yet because you are going to earn a college-degree after three or four years, you ignore what your room- or suitemates may be doing right beside you.

I won’t even go too deep about the music you listen to, television shows you watch, and the parties you attend (or even other organizations in which you are affiliated including sports teams), which all play with your mind and sow seeds of impure and unrighteous thoughts and have you thinking being Holy and ratchet could even remotely co-exist.

Let’s not forget that all of those things, in addition to gossip, backbiting, greed and so much more also exists in the church today even as you read this blog post. There are false prophets among us (1 John 4:1-3) pretending to be Spirit-sent and Spirit-filled. Not everyone in the church is of the church family because they have not allowed themselves to be washed, sanctified, and justified [yet] (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Many of us church folk are so concerned with other believers joining “secret societies” when we ourselves never open up about the family secrets we work so hard to conceal. There are people in the church who are married and never tell their spouses the truth about their salaries, that hidden loan they opened, or even give them the password to their cell phones!

We are enamored about the doctrine, by-laws, and rituals of Greek-letter organizations, we probably do not even realize that we also have to sign contracts and letters of agreement or sanction when we accept jobs, enroll in college, and pay our tithes and offerings to our home church. If you are associated with any organization that does not have a defined and outlined structure for it members to review and for which it stands, then both you and that organization are like a city without walls and lack [self] control and will only result in [further] discord and disorder. This includes your home church. While Delta uses Biblical scripture for inspiration, it does not claim to be the church or its rituals the Bible. It definitely does not claim to save souls or build up good Christian women. Just like when individuals create faith-based businesses or blogs (hey, just like mine you are reading), it is not the church – you cannot read this post and think this is enough in worshipping God and fellowshipping with the body of Christ. Delta is a service-based organization created with Christian principles in mind and has members who are believers and members who are not.

At this point, you may be wondering …

Question: “So how should I approach believers who are interested in Greek-letter organizations, Adebisi?”

Answer: Assess if they are truly able to handle joining such organizations.

The way you assess if you will be a good fit for a specific job role or college when you are applying is the same way you should assess if Greek-letter organizations are for you, or someone close to you who may have asked for your advice.

I have had several people approach me expressing interest in Delta, and for some, I have honestly told them Delta is not for them for one reason or another. Some did not even have the minimum academic grade requirement, some were not ready to take on any additional responsibilities, while others’ intentions and priorities were very blatantly screwed up. Moreover, some were not [yet] spiritually mature enough to handle the hype and attention that will undoubtedly come with joining such organization. Whichever it is, I explain myself so they understand my rationale. Just like certain industries, schools, hairstyles, and clothing is not for everyone, neither is Greek life. Some people just cannot handle it.  If you are in a position of counsel or advisement, advise with wisdom and not out of the flesh.

If you have, or know of someone who has, denounced your Greek-letter org, kudos to you for walking away from something you no longer agree with. There is a chance that people in such position have done something that has caused them to compromise their morals. After all, it is a choice to join sororities or fraternities. If you are thinking of denouncing, possibly because of something you have done while in the org, before you denounce – what if you genuinely repent and walk uprightly with God from here on out? Your life and membership in that org could be a testament of the power of God and the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s please stop telling people sororities and fraternities are of the devil because the devil is always among us, wherever we are. Click To Tweet He is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-11).

It is possible that some people’s walk with Jesus may grow deeper as they pursue membership in a Greek-letter organization. It may be in that sorority or fraternity that someone is called to minister to the broken-hearted or oppressed. I vividly remember walking up and down the streets of the George Washington University campus or being in my room on the phone with my mom or dad and me saying “Amen” every three to five seconds and my friends and sorority sisters smiling or chuckling to themselves because they knew my parents were praying for me. I also vividly remember having some of those same friends and sorority sisters coming to me (till this day) asking me to pray in agreement with them for one thing or another. Not because I am more devout or better than them, but simply because they could attest for my consistent walk with Jesus.

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

Brother Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (NKJV) when he said:

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

I study (and give you) scriptures in the New King James Version, but I looove the Message translation of this scripture, and have decided to put it here for you, too, for even better understanding – 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (MSG) – emphasis added:

19-23 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

In order for us to be light to the world and win souls for the Kingdom of Heaven, we have to be where sinners are, which is (#spoileralert!) EVERYWHERE! Including in the church. People are lost all over the globe – LOST. Like straight up confused.

We are called to serve the people. To be where they are. We are NOT to do what they do, speak how they speak, dress how they dress to be of this world or even to judge it – but we are in the world to be the standard of Jesus Christ, the pillars of our faith, the remnant in our generation, the light to the world, and to judge each other [believer] when we ourselves have fallen into the pattern of the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). And yes, I AM judging you, my brethren, if you are still saying sororities and fraternities are demonic!

Let’s stop leading people – especially the babes in Christ – astray with our uninformed knowledge, boasting of ourselves in nothingness. Click To Tweet But rather let’s dig into the Word and pray our eyes be truly opened to the unseen things that we may please God at all times.

I leave you with my favorite scripture (1 Corinthians 9:27, as well as verses 24-26 for context) because it reminds me to stay in my lane; I advise you do the same:

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (Here it is in the MSG translation because I love this version too.)

If you are Christian and a member of a Greek-letter organization, feel free to do a roll call in the comments below. Oo-oop and love to all my sorors and e-hug to all my sister Greeks and frats.

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

What are your thoughts of being a member of Greek-letter organization and follower of Jesus Christ? I do hope this post enlightened you – feel free to share that perspective too.

 

I am wearing this super cute one and off the shoulder outfit I designed, using the same Ankara print in two colors. It looks very Afro-Latino and the background only helps this cause. Check out my Instagram page here for details of the tailor. For all my color-blind AKA sisters, it is PEACH and green. =P

Sororities, Fraternities, and the Church: The Reasons Why they Should Co-Exist | Adebisi Adebowale | www.beesespieces.com

Peace and blessings. xo

 

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2 Comments

  1. Lola
    May 9, 2018 / 21:17

    Finally! Great read Soror! 44-A-14 😘

    • beesespieces
      Author
      May 10, 2018 / 21:50

      Thank you, Soror. Please share with others whom you believe will be enlightened. xo – 9MBSp08

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