Posts Tagged ‘Church of God in Christ’

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…..


Last fall’s election was historic and monumental not only because we elected the first African American President, but also for the unprecedented social movement of the masses of the people calling for change. The movement resulted in an emotional season of self evaluation for the nation. The nation paused to reinvest itself into the established system, using it to debate the political, military, economic and moral issues facing the nation. We’ve re-examined the way our nation and society views folkways and mores of the United States. One such examination is the issue of gay rights.

The issue of gay rights is one of the most hotly contested issues of today’s society. The LBGT segment is growing rapidly as more and more people profess to the lifestyle. Thier emergence or “coming out” is met with vociferous objection. Vociferous objection based on moral precepts emanating from tenets of our faith. Vociferous objection based on our political values which have been in place since the inception of the Republic. Vociferous objection based on societal folkways, mores, traditions and community standards.

Conversely, the masses of the gay community say to object to thier demands is tantamount to hate, prejudice and bigotry. They say the struggle for gay rights is a struggle for civil rights. A struggle for human rights. The LBGT community has demanded tolerance and social acceptance of the lifestyle.

And so during the last election, the nation engaged in one of history’s most wide open debates on gay rights. Proposition 8 in California asked if the State should ban same sex marriage. Most of the voters answered YES.  It remains a passionate issue in the state even as most argue that we should not allow the government to legislate who one chooses to sleep with let alone who one should marry. To say anything against this makes you a bigot… a fascist… So they say…

and so off to court we go…

There are those of us who voted yes on 8 based on the moral standards of faith. Is this bigotry? This is a question asked in one of my earlier blogs. However; those of us in opposition of gay marriage have to  know and agree that the gay community deserves protection against violence, discrimination and tyranny. The right to live safe in this nation and indeed the world should be a proprietary human right. I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I do agree that they should not be judged by me(that’s between God and them) and have a right to live free and safe in this world just like me.

Therein lies the dilemma for the Christian. Our spiritual center makes us disagree with the lifestyle and we certainly do not agree with same sex marriage, but that spiritual center also makes us disagree with human rights atrocities. Rape, murder, genocide, discriminiation, bigotry, hate… After all aren’t gay people human? So, what do we do?

Last week, my spiritual leader, COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake was criticized for signing an affirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was a major ceremony and world diplomacy action as religious leaders and heads of state from all over the globe converged on The Netherlands at the invitation of Queen Beatrice to participate in this signing. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was originally drafted by the United Nations and executed in 1948 in the aftermath of World War Two. It was meant to provide a global, legal platform to protect the rights of humans from tyranny, genocide, rape, chaos. In fact, the document is one of the foundations for the issuance of a United Nations arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir for crimes against humanity particularly in the region of Darfur. The affirmation ceremony marked the 60th anniversary of the Declaration and re-committed heads of states and religious leaders to the protection of human rights.

Bishop Blake was strongly criticized for signing the document. The criticism started with a headline that said “”Bishop Charles Blake endorses gay marriage declaration ”  This headline is a misleading, untruthful, slanderous statement which was widely discussed and written about all over the internet. It did not have anything to do with sexual orientation and homosexual rights. Again the affirmation of the UN declaration signed by Bishop Blake was about human rights and their inherent right to protection from genocide, tyranny, rape and other chaos.  The Church of God in Christ is pretty clear and implicit in its position on same sex marriage.

This morning, we heard the news that the Obama administration intends to endorse a declaration  for the world wide decriminalization of homosexuality. And now church folk are demanding that Bishop Blake rescind his signature from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are calling it an unholy covenant.

Now as I understand the story, this is a separate and “new” declaration that would not have Bishop Blake’s signature on it. It has nothing to do with the UDHR or Bishop Blake’s support of it. It has everything to do with the goals and objectives of President Obama’s administration to seek justice for all.

So for a Christian movement that voted for Barack Obama, this poses an interesting scenario… It was known that he was a supporter of certain gay rights..  I mean, hey, the LBGT community is huge and that equals votes. This is the moment we had in the back of our minds – The moment when we would, perhaps, disagree with the administration of President Barack Obama.

The report says that one Obama Administration official said that “The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world”  The Bush Administration refused to sign the document when it was presented at the United Nations on December 19.

66 of the United Nations’ 192 member countries signed the declaration.

More than 50 countries oppose the declaration.

Homosexuality is illegal in 70 UN member countries.

Some Islamic countries say that protection of sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization and possibly legalization of deplorable acts”…. This leads to spiritual immorality and corruption within the people…  The Vatican also opposed the declaration.

In some countries, homosexuality is punishable by execution.

Do we want that in our society? No. We may disagree with the lifestyle, but do we consider homosexuality  a capital crime? We may disagree with the lifestyle, but when people inflict violence against the homosexual in a rage of hate, we know that is wrong. We disagree with the lifestyle, but I don’t think we want discrimination in the workplace, schools, etc. (although as a veteran, I do not think homosexuality in the military should be tolerated.)

So then how do we protect folk from widespread violence and discrimination while still maintaining our moral position? This is the dilemma of human rights when it comes down to Christian values and thought.

To what degree do we define and defend Human Rights?  Do we even care?

I learned something this week.

I knew that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

I knew that the UDHR is considered the most translated document in the world.

I remember learning in my political science classes that the Declaration was derived directly from the world’s experience of World War II. I knew that it represents the first global expressions of human rights.

I am aware that various treaties, constitutions and laws have been formulated with the UDHR as their basis.

I knew that during the course of it’s 60 years in existence, the Declaration has the force of international law.

I have read that, in the face of genocidal atrocities under the administration of President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir, the UN has issued a warrant for the arrest of President Bashir under the auspices of the Declaration and the ICC (International Criminal Court).

I’ve learned that this past December, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration, the Queen of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrice invited Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake to participate in a signing of a document known as the Faith in the Declaration of Human Rights. It’s purpose is to affirm that, even after the tragedy of World War Two, sixty years ago, we still agree that human rights must be protected around the world. Many diplomats and religious leaders from around the world joined in this auspicious occasion. And so Bishop Blake sent an emissary to participate on the Church’s behalf.

I’ve also learned that this action has ignited a firestorm of controversy. There are those in the church world who have gone on record to say that participating in this exciting demonstration of peace keeping is to endorse gay marriage. Huh?? How did you get that out of this signing?? Nowhere in the Universal Declaration does the issue of gay matrimony come up. Rights where it comes down to sexual orientation are not mentioned here… The document clearly is designed to deal with tyranny, slavery and genocide…. not sex.

Then I learned that there are those who say to participate is to violate and ignore denominational doctrine. They say why are you participating with other religions…. They don’t believe how we believe… The fact that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a host of other religions participated in this event is interesting. For my perspective, there is one common denominator with all these religions… Peace is at the foundation of total human completeness….. I don’t know if that is doctrinally sound, but from my view of the world that’s a fact…

Are the people of the Lord supposed to sit in our pews and do nothing as world tyranny, poverty, atrocities and the like just run rampant in the community and the world? I mean, God is in me and when he says move, I move… I believe in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and in it I am directed to move about the community building peace, love and working to promote social and economic justice, and alleviate poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God…

These days people are seeking God more desperately than ever, isn’t that evidence that the Holy Spirit wants us to get busy in the direction of combating the evil principalities in the world and promote peace and love?

Church folk need to stop getting so caught up in holiness that you can’t see the forest for the trees.. We need to get out of our pews, get from behind the walls of our churches and get out in these streets and advance Christ’s agenda.. Be demonstrative to the masses that which is the commandment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – love one another. In today’s world, we cannot show love sitting up in our churches with our hats and suits, we have to hit the bricks whether it’s in our communities or on the world stage…

As to the argument that we should not be associating with other religions, that in and of itself is an interesting conversation. This is the part that feels to me like folk are reducing the issue down to spiritual gangbanging…. I prefer to think it’s about relationship with God not Religion.

All I know is that you will not lose any portion of the light that burns inside you if you share it with the world… In fact it is that light that will attract the world to you so you can be a witness to the essence of God in Jesus Christ…

For me, the symbolism of joining the world in making a stance against genocide, tyranny and injustice is powerful to me. To do nothing says that we’re so heavenly bound, we’re no earthly good.