Posts Tagged ‘black church’

And so, weeks have gone by since the now infamous “I’m not gay no’ mo'” video went viral. In case you missed this wildly popular urban pop culture story of the moment, let me recap: the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) held it’s 107th Holy Convocation in St. Louis. It was a glorious time with the Church impacting the community through its actions and spirit filled expressions of the Word. After a spirited and albeit controversial sermon which preached against the sin of homosexuality and other “in-church” sexual immoralities, a young man rushes to the pulpit and proclaims that he is “not gay no’ mo’ “…. He enthusiastically shouts that he is “delivert” and doesn’t like “mens no mo’ “, he likes “wimen wimen wimen wimen” . After this young man avows that he will not carry a purse nor wear make up, the church erupts into a state of holy dancing and high praise…The scene becomes fodder for the worldwide web, generating millions of views, countless memes and endless cartoons parodies including a pretty snazzy smooth R&B song which incorporated a sample from his proclamations from the altar. It was pure comedy. Unfortunately at the expense of the Grand Old Church of God in Christ and the young man’s life decisions.

Wow. Our Church is faced with deeply distressed and troubled times. The fact that we are even having this conversation shows us what time it is. The fact that openly gay, “flaming” homosexuals were bold enough to parade around the Holy Convocation surely must show us the times in which we live. The fact that the preacher has to call them out in such and aggressive and arguably oppressive manner reminds us that these are perilous times. The fact that the preacher had to call out other preachers for the perceived endorsement of the lifestyle speaks volumes. The fact that our Church was placed in a position of mockery and comedic insult shows us the season in which we live.

In order to completely understand what exactly occurred that night, we must put it in context. The proclamations of bow tie boy came at the end of a sermon which preached against the presence of homosexuals in the convocation and in the local churches. There are a LOT of homosexuals in the church. They were at the convention and this ain’t new news. It’s the same if not worse at the Gospel Music Conventions I’ve attended as part of my career. And so the Man of God called them out. The original sermon and entire rant against gays should be viewed, but it is no longer available. This snippet is mild compared to the entire context. Supt. Carter started out strong but then went left. He used inappropriate language in calling out the homosexual lifestyle – period. It’s not what he said, it’s how he said it. (“I hope you bleed out yo’ butt!” – c’mon people!!)

Without the benefit of social media, I wonder what was the reaction to Evangelist Frances Kelly’s message at the 62nd Holy Convocation Women’s Day as she talked about Musical Homosexuals and Sissies  Surely the consciousness of the nation is much different from those days. Two generations later and the issues are still the same. We haven’t put a dent in the proliferation of the homosexual lifestyle, and why not?

There’s a LOT of homosexuality in the world today. They are gaining power and influence. In the same week that the “I’m not gay no’ mo'” video was going viral, esteemed Television Producer Shonda Rimes was taking social media heat for blatant, explicit and unapologetic gay sex scenes in the wildly popular TV series “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington and “How to Get Away With Murder” starring Viola Davis. Our consciousness is being bombarded by the gay lifestyle and we are increasingly unable to do anything about it. You better start reading those letters and memos you get from your children’s public schools, because they are sharing with you that some of the literature will be geared to children who have two mommies or two daddies…. This, my friends is reality in our society.

I know we have to speak about this from the pulpit. But how? When we ridicule them like Superintendent Carter, we chase them away. There are so many stories of gay folk who have lived a life of listening how they would be condemned to hell as they sat in church. This condemnation often came with no alternative or support if they wanted to walk away from their lifestyle. There are those if not most who say they cannot help how they are…. If true then the churchspeak will turn them away permanently… these are counted then as lost souls….. Conversely If we speak to them in love, then the laity interprets this as being too supportive and engaging of their lifestyle.  But our job and main concern are souls. We are tasked with bringing people to Christ. And if that is our job, does that mean we just throw away the souls of the homosexual? what about the sexually immoral? the sex addict? the prostitute? the adulterer? Do we avoid preaching the Gospel to them? and how do you know who they are? Dudes are married and having sex with men on the side. And some of these guys are preachers!!! We live in deeply distressed and troubling times.

Yes, There are so many homosexuals among us that we are now challenged with how to minister to them. We are not to judge because God will judge us all no doubt. But if we are called to minister and facilitate deliverance, then how exactly do we deal with the homosexual? How do we deal with the rapist, the sexual immoral, the adulterer, the pedophile? All of these are in the world and yes in our church!!! yea even in some of our pulpits!!!

In my opinion, as I contemplate this moment, Supt. Carter’s condemnation from the pulpit has an adverse affect opposite what we intend it to be. And you know what? if we are charged to love one another, then we must love the homosexual… however, we HATE his sin. I actually agree with the content of his speech, but I disagree with his choice of words in PORTIONS of his message. I mean, the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as sin. However, it isn’t unforgivable. Isn’t redemption available to them just as it is available to us? Can’t the homosexual become a new creature in Christ? If we have faith, if we believe in miracles and the healing power of the Holy Ghost, isn’t it believable that maybe just maybe bow tie boy really got delivered?

And so, Bishop Charles Blake, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ made a powerful statement in response to the controversy. In it, he admonished the speaker’s sermonic style. He apologized to Andrew Caldwell, the young man in the video. We must be merciful and so apologizing for bow tie boy’s ordeal in terms of the international ridicule this caused.. is painfully proper in my opinion. Listen carefully, Bishop said we do not by any means compromise our position in matters of sexual immorality.. that said, we have to walk in love even when dealing with the homosexual. And so if the young man got delivered, then I think we should painfully apologize and set the stage for support, counseling and all the other needs this guy and others like him may need as they renew their mind and walk in this new consciousness. I know there are some who are like, naw! he just need to burn!!! but then if you look back on your sins, there are those who would say the same about you… But God…..

There are those who are begging the question about apologies for past sexual situations that have harmed families and people.. I agree, something should be said or done by the church to address this – I don’t know what that is, but something has to be done or said that will help bring a sense of healing to those hurt by the men who would defile the pulpit to take advantage of people sexually.

One thing I found quite profound in this whole “I’m not gay no’ mo'” phenom is to watch the response videos that some in the gay community put out.. the YouTube trend was for these gay people to watch the service and react on camera and post it on youtube. A recurring theme I heard on this is a point of concern. There were homosexuals who are from Memphis or who had been to and observed Convocations whether in Memphis or St. Louis. These dudes stated that they find it to be fertile ground for seeking and finding people with whom to engage in homosexual acts. Why is that? What this says to me is that while folk are so busy being so saintly and sanctified in the main – criticizing, quoting scriptures and pointing fingers, some of these same folk are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality and perversion. so many saints engaging in this lifestyle secretly? These homosexuals also pointed out that they would engage in homosexual sex with someone they picked up at the host hotel and then attend the convocation service the next day and see their sex mate in the pulpit participating in the holy service…. In the end, while we so busy judging and pointing out who’s right and who’s wrong, condemning, sending to hell all those who we see engaging in this lifestyle, why don’t we check ourselves and make sure we are living as God would have us to live… Let us work on keeping our own sin in check. The “I’m not gay no’ mo'” urban pop culture phenomenon is a reminder that something is wrong in our society. And as people of the Lord, we must figure it out…. How to love, how to minister, how to refrain from judgement.

We must love one to Another…..

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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.

By now, we’ve all heard the stories of Bishop Eddie Long…. four guys have filed suit claiming a wide range of complaints from sexual coercion to oral sodomy…

whoa…

Bishop Eddie Long is one of America’s foremost black church leaders with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church ranking among the top mega-churches in the nation. More than 25,000 people are members at New Birth. His ministry is widely respected.

I learned of the scandal as I was browsing CNN.com… Breaking News… The plaintiff’s attorney was holding a press conference and detailing the how’s and wherefores of the case she just filed. I was shocked! My mind went to all the rumours and criticisms I had heard about Eddie Long…. I found a copy of the actual court documents and learned the specific nature of the complaints.

Rituals? Spiritual Sons? Singled out as special from the rest of the youth? wow…. Trips, gifts, sleeping in the same bed? what in tarnation???

I wonder how the members feel about these accusations.. what do they feel? so many people have come to redemption inside this church… The thousands who have put the drugs down, the crime, the transgressions of life… all through the work of this church and under the ministry of this man…. I think you’d agree that the work of the Lord has gone forth boldly through the people of the Lord at New Birth…. how hurt they must be.

I wonder how the auxiliary leaders, laypersons, deacons and deaconesses, ushers, missionaries, Sunday school…. how do they feel? Oh yes, publicly they stand for the Bishop as evidenced by the pandemonium that took place in church on Sunday (9/26)… yes, they praise and dance in support of the Bishop… But did Bishop really put their mind at ease? Or did he ignite the ceremony of church to the degree that folk could be anesthetized to the non-statement made from the pulpit??? Did he use the mega church theatrics to divert focus from those needing something to hold on to??

I know folk want to hear something to cling to as they move forth to defend their Bishop but what do you mean, I’m not perfect?….. Sounds like you did something!

Now, this could be a fraud on many fronts….

first, the plaintiffs could be some flaky cats out for some loot. This could be a shakedown as Bishop Long’s staff has claimed. But dag, he sent photos to them!! suspect…

Or, it seems that there are forces out there who are moving to discredit the power brokers of Black America (we’ve seen accusations just this year of misdoings from black politicals, and now black clergy) I’m just sayin’… c’mon y’all know it’s possible!!! (COINTELPRO) OK, sorry, its just the conspiracy theorist in me…

Or Bishop Eddie Long has built a mega-ministry over the years but kept hidden his sexual preferences from the masses … even as he publicly campaigns against such behavior….

By and sure, we will see the truth. The truth will be revealed as the plaintiffs back down from their story, or the Bishop admits his role in these charges, or the truth will be implied – after he pays off the plaintiffs…..

But at that time, who will heal the laypersons??? how do they rectify their service in their hearts and minds… and how does the man of God come to their aid. After all, a great trust has been violated