Archive for October, 2010

I went to a funeral this week.
It was the most recent in what is seemingly an unending string of such gatherings since my father’s passing in 2005….. The essence of the latest homegoing was that I saw many people who have been a part of the “industry” for years, as have I….

As I looked around, I saw so many associates and friends who have been laboring in the entertainment industry for years….  Still looking the same, perhaps older and wiser….It was a completely reflective day…. A day that most will agree gave pause to take inventory of the value of life….

Tonite, I sit here in the dark, randomly prognosticating about life….  The gift of the Life….. The essence of life…. how valuable life is……

But what is life?

Sometimes we get caught up in our titles…. our jobs…. our positions here…. our status there…. but is that really what life is all about? We judge one another by the clothes we wear…. the cars we drive….. the complexion of our skin…… is that life? is that how we’re living???

Even in our spiritual walk….  Is this the life we strive for even as the Word specifies life????

On the street, brothas in the hood battle even unto death over the color of a handkerchief….. is that life? of course not….

We work so hard towards material goals, but is that life??? We strive so diligently in pursuit of our careers… is that life?

Sometimes we rush to and fro in search of that which is most important (or not) in our lives… but is that thing really worth its place as center of our lives??

In recent times, I was in a season where I commuted more than 300 miles daily to and from work. I burned up two cars and was involved in a major accident in the third… I now had to walk from my house to the bus stop early in the morning. This bus would connect me to the trolley which would connect me to the AMTRAK train. If I missed that bus, my entire day’s timeline would be destroyed….. ( if you are so inclined, you can relive my daily journey here...)

Every other day, there would be this elderly man on a scooter who caught the bus at my stop. And every other day, this guy would have a problem getting that darn scooter on the bus… We would have to wait while this old guy manuevered his scooter safely inside the bus- his problems often causing us to miss the trolley…. everyone on the bus would get an attitude when he was at the bus stop.

Even as folk would get an attitude with this guy, he would turn and apologize to everyone and offer everyone who would listen a butterscotch candy…. he would look each person in the eye and say hello…..

After a time. I began to talk to this man. I learned that he rode the bus because it was his only way of getting to his vital dialysis sessions…. He was up at the crack of dawn so he could get to the health center where he would have tubes probed into him all day. If he missed a session or two, he would face dire health issues….

“Hey man, I’m just trying to live” he says to me one day…..

Here I am, getting majorly angry with this guy whenever he came to the bus stop…. He was in my way… he was upsetting the delicate balance of my life…. He was in the way….. But in the real, he was living….. and living in this moment…..

Our time is appointed and anointed….. it is up to us to embrace the essence of life all around us…. promote the love that emanates from our hearts…. and celebrate the energy of our people and from whence we came….

We cannot re-do the past…. so live…..

We cannot control the future…. so live…..

We can only regulate the now, and even then only up to a point….

Each fleeting moment is a gift. Don’t waste it.

No matter what the situation is, if you can breathe the breath of life, it is a gift….

Life. This moment in time…. is so precious…. so fragile…. so valuable…..

What will we do??? how will we live??? How do we treat others???

That is the individual choice of everyone in this world…. but one thing is sure….

Life is to be lived with love…….

Wow… Bishop Eddie Long gets accused of sexual shenanigans with young men in his congregation…. Much has been written, reported, interviewed, said (or not), and otherwise presented throughout the international media… Only time and a fair justice system will reveal the truth as God already knows it….

He is not the first mega minister to be brought to shame before the world… and certainly he will not be the last. As much as we want our men of God to be blameless, we are reminded time and again that they are men, subject to character flaws, perversions and sin just like everybody else. This is not to make excuses for them, its just a fact. True, they are held to higher standards biblically because there is specific direction and criteria for those teaching, leading, and following men who stand before God’s people representing HIM.
(Rom.14:16 ~ Rom.16:17-18 ~ 1Tim.~ 1:19-20 ~ 2 Tim. 2:17 ~

Phil 4:2 ~ Col. 4:17 ~ 3 Jn.9-10″) ”

Thus the result of the scandal cuts deep. Our trust in the institution of church is severely violated when the leader falls. And while the sensationalism that comes with the accusation is contagious, the instance of scandal makes one pause to contemplate one’s membership, loyalty and history of following the mega church…. At some point one has to pragmatically look at stories like Long’s and other similar episodes in order to balance their view of church folkways and mores…..

As a member of a mega church (NOT New Birth… I’m out west….), I love the many good works we are able to do…. we love the leader’s international involvements…. we love the leader’s local impact, we love and support his influence across social and political boundaries… we love the way the bible and a Christian lifestyle is articulated in our church. We have labored and built to become a force for good in the community, indeed the world…

Around the City, the vibe of folk who attend these mega-ministries have the same type of pride and love for the involvements of the leader…  Especially those who have attended the church for a long time – those who have witnessed the growth of the church and the pastor. The sense that you are part of something powerful, righteous and stands for good becomes an integral part of your lifestyle. We are an example of Jesus’ love in the community and the world…

Plus the access to study the word of God is on a deep level. 

I would be deeply damaged to hear my spiritual leader caught up in some madness like Bishop Long, but yet, Long’s issues remind me that no matter what, these guys are just men… subject to mess up… just like all of us… And while I really appreciate what the man of God has shown me and encouraged me to integrate into my life, the most important lesson that I can take away from his spiritual counsel is that God is….

God is more than the man in the pulpit.
God is more than this magnificent edifice we have saved and invested in through the building fund…
God is more than the denomination, if any, the ministry, the rules, traditions and processes of the work….
God is more than all of it….While we adore these men, they are,…. just that. Men.

Yet, across the Body of Christ, we have various visceral reactions to the news of possible misconduct from the man of God… from shock to awe….. a closer look will reveal that he is not the first…. and most probably will not be the last…. the result and effect hurts not only the victims of the deeds, but the masses of the people who have said yes.. I will follow and help you build…

The news of scandal causes members of other mega churches to consider “what if…?”

That’s when we have to remember that your ultimate relationship is with God Almighty through Jesus Christ… That’s it, that’s all… He will be there for you just like he was before your fabulous 5000 – 10000 seat sanctuary…. He will be there after the sanctuary is gone… He will be there in the midst of scandal…. He will be there… He will be there as he protects your congregation or He will be there as he reveals the dark secrets of sin….. He will be there…..

The ultimate challenge of the mega-church member is to take a self-inventory and ask if we caught up in the ceremony of church? Are we caught up in the essence of our pastor, the mega church? Or do we take to heart our relationship with God….  Do we walk with humility or are we puffed up from some false superiority complex just because we belong to a large church….

In the end, we have to remember it’s all about our relationship with the Almighty and not the religion of our mega church experience… We honor the men leading our various institutions, but at the end of the day it’s all about Jesus…. that’s it, that’s all.