In April of 2011 I finished up the process of becoming a member of the oldest African-American college fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. My mother is a member of the sister sorority of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and my father is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Growing up my parents didn’t talk much about their allegiance to their fraternity or sorority, so it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I was fully exposed to a life that included the Divine 9. Growing up with only a little sister, I was attracted to the brotherhood that Alpha could offer me and also the prestige of some of the former members such as Martin Luther King Jr. Another influence in my decision was an upperclassman that played basketball as well and was a member of Alpha as well. I looked up to him and wanted to be like him in many ways; Alpha eventually became another way for me to be like him. The young men that were involved in the fraternity had a particular position and power on campus that I desired. Ultimately it was a perfect match in my mind; I was smart, athletic, and cool enough to continue the legacy of Alpha Phi Alpha on the campus.
It was at some point during the process that my line brother and myself realized that we didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into. We tried to look at the big picture and remind each other that it would eventually be worth it, that everything we were going through would make us stronger men. Looking back I can see how messed up our psyches were in that moment and how our behavior was very irrational . I pledged into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in the spring of my freshman year where I was young and motivated to be successful. That youth and motivation died early on in the process, but what strangely kept me going was the desire to best those standing against me. Many nights I looked at my line brother and we felt like it was us against the world and there was no way we were going to let the world win. My process was very unique though because my dean of process was a professing Christian and often would change parts of the process to fit into a more Christian viewpoint. Thinking back I didn’t think it weird at all that he would have to change a ritual or a poem’s meaning so that we wouldn’t lose sight of Christ being our true Lord and Savior. I learned a ton during the process about myself and others; ultimately learning that you have much more to give in any endeavor than you usually give. I wanted to quit, my line brother wanted to quit, but somehow we made it in and we became members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
When I first crossed from prospect to member my elation was unimaginable and I was so grateful to those that helped me make it along the way. We moved smoothly into our positions as kings on campus and everything felt great. One thing that our fraternity was known for was throwing the best parties and we were proud of the fact that nobody could match our skills in this area. We also made sure that we kept the prettiest women on campus in our annual pageant that awarded a scholarship to the lovely ladies that would help promote our brand. Our success caused rifts in between us and other members of the Divine 9 organizations on campus. I remember vividly the disdain I had for others in different organizations believing them to be less than me because of the Greek letters they decided to represent. After leaving my school I went on to another school where although the Divine 9 was unrepresented my letters still held enough weight to keep me a king. I had enough pull to encourage huge amounts of students to drive hours to parties and bring all their friends paying to get into a party thrown by the Alphas. It was amazing for me to see that I could lead, I could influence, and I could change the mindset of others all because of three Greek letters. There was a shift that happened in the midst of all this though, I gave my life to Christ a year after crossing into membership and I was undergoing the process of sanctification. This process was causing some interesting mind shifts inside of myself that I didn’t anticipate.
One of the first things I attempted to try to rectify was partying and going to church. It seemed odd to me that all the members of my fraternity were professing Christians, but rarely seemed to go to church. These same members could not only throw great parties, they could find a party every weekend to attend either around campus or at another school. I made a decision that no matter how hard I partied the night before I would make it to church and this was tough, yet I stuck with it. I remember once when I had brought around six people with me to a party that didn’t let out until four in the morning and getting up early on Sunday stepping over people and going to church with my wife. I often think about the message I was sending to those strewn around my house, “Partying is cool as long as you go to church.” I remember being peer pressured into drinking with teammates as they taunted me about my ‘holiness’ and often causing dissension in my marriage because I wasn’t strong enough to just say ‘no’. After graduation I moved back home and out of the college bubble. This was surprisingly refreshing for me as I became an inactive member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and no longer had to schedule events or think about throwing great parties. Of course I missed the brothers, but I didn’t miss everything else that went along with being a member bringing me back to the reason I originally joined.
Over the last two years I have grown leaps and bounds spiritually as God as done so many amazing things in my life! This last year God has been moving me into becoming a leader in the community of Christ and during one of my nights of prayer God showed me that my membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was holding me back from me fulfilling my purpose in Him. I honestly didn’t understand, but I instantly began to dive into the Word to see what the Bible had to say about Alpha and other Divine 9 fraternities and sororities.
In my study of scripture I have begun to understand that there are two kingdoms that run the world and everything that the Kingdom of darkness does is a mimic of what God has established in the Kingdom of Light. One of the first scriptures that I ran across was Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” This scripture changed everything when I understood the Hebrew meaning isn’t that we should put God first, but rather that we shouldn’t have any other gods in the midst of the one true God. After reading this I compared that scripture to the fact that all of the Divine 9 have a hymn. The definition of a hymn is a religious song or poem that is sung to God or a god. The first words of the Alpha hymn are, “In our dear A Phi A…” it is clear that the hymnal is being sung to the spirit of Alpha even though references of god are made throughout those references are not to the one true God. ALL of the Divine 9 have hymnals like this that are sung to the spirits that are over them instead of being sung to God. One thing that satan does is he distorts the intentions of followers of the Lord in attempt to steal worship intended for God. We see this in the Israelites in Exodus 32:1-6 as they attempt to worship God in a way that is forbidden. Worship that is not pure is unacceptable to God, but satan will take any and all forms of worship by man. Another thing that I discovered is that satan has used the marginalization of African-Americans in america to trick us into thinking that all things African are good, but the Bible tells a very different story. The most wicked place in the Bible outside of Babylon is Egypt, where the Israelites spent 400 years in captivity. It is no coincidence that the Divine 9 all have Egyptian roots and mascots. They are set up under a satanic system of deception that has been at work to limit the power of those that are walking with Christ. One of the most compelling situations in the Bible I see is God repeatedly telling Moses that he is the God that brought the Israelites out of Egypt, telling the Israelites to leave behind all the customs of the wicked nation of Egypt. There’s no brotherhood or sisterhood that is worth returning to the worship of false gods in Egypt since God strategically placed this warning to avoid this place and all its evils in the Word.
In the New Testament Christ tells us that we will receive a new song and new dance that will be a part of our testimonies that will help others to ultimately find their way to Heaven. We don’t receive this new song and new dance without giving up something though, as Jesus repeatedly says that following Him will cost us everything. One of those cost may be friends or status, but is any of that even comparable to eternity with the Most Holy God? In this process of me walking away from my membership of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. I have constantly been drawn to the notion that only when we give up everything, do we actually step into everything that God has for us. Moses was raised as royalty and actually was the prince of Egypt being brother to pharaoh gave him position and power in a world nearly unmatched by anyone else. Moses still looked at the power and position that he had in Egypt and counted it nothing compared to the Most High God and everything that He prepares for us. God gives us the Bible so that we can see our daily situations through the lens that God desires us to see it. I found a situation in Exodus where Moses renounces his royalty in Egypt and gives up his royal birthright so that he could walk with God and follow God’s purpose in his life without anything holding him back. As I walk away from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. I walk away from Egypt as well, I walk away from the spirits of Egypt and I will no longer put other gods into the midst of the One True God. I’m therefore not so much walking away from Egypt and Alpha, but rather I’m walking towards the one who saved me, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.