So now we hear that Bishop Eddie Long’s ex wife was afraid of him and fled their home with his son. A writer for the Huffington Post is talking about his fashion sense. To be honest, I can think of a few different people that are truly interested in these ongoing developments; homosexuals and those that love them, people with an ax to grind against the Christian church, people who have a problem with Black Men, people that were thinking about church but aren’t so sure these days, and those that are honestly going to pray for Bishop Eddie Long and his accusers. If you do not fit into any of those categories can you truly say that you have a vested interest in these developments?
Can I honestly say that my heart goes out to Bishop Eddie Long anymore now than it had in the past? Sure I have heard of him, and thought that his fashion sense was a caricature of the way that people dress for church but that has nothing to do with my opinion of him. The Black Church has a peculiar sense of fashion, it is not my thing but that works for them and if they love it I love it. This is nothing for me to lose sleep over. The homosexuality thing, well your average Christian fears the homosexuality community more than they fear God. The reason I say that this is that it is one thing to fear God and preach to people and win souls, but when it comes to homosexuality, particularly in the Black community we preach against it but clearly, there are prominent members of the church that are gay. Homosexuality and the Black Church had played out in a way that reminds me of how some parents treat their teenagers and drink with them at home and would prefer that they practice safe sex in their home, as disrespectful as such rhetoric is to both the child and the parent. You would prefer that they do not do it, but if they do it, you would like to keep an eye on them or at least know what they are doing. You figure if she gets pregnant or he gets someone pregnant you at least know who that other person might be. It is a said state of affairs, but a reality.
No one wants to talk about men and women being on the “down low”. Well let me correct myself, the reason that men are on the “down low” and women are open with what they do is because we have accepted lesbianism because it is chic but we still have an issue with homosexuality. When was the last time you did anything about a lesbian except, well, it is what it is; it is interesting to see all of these people that see nothing wrong with homosexuality come out of the closet and act as if they have a serious problem with Bishop Eddie Long. Yet people’s reactions to it point to a deeper hypocrisy and discombobulating of our sexual values and morals in the community in the first place.
For all of the righteous indignation that you see these days on various blogs, articles, videos and the other “interwebs” how many of these people are serious about serving God? If you were already sold out for God, you would not have any time to comment on what Bishop Eddie Long is doing, it would not be a priority. It would be nice if people were forthcoming and just said “I don’t know about Christianity so much” or “This confirms what I already thought about Christians”. Preachers of mega-churches who have espoused prosperity and the glamorous life for at years should not surprise anyone when they begin to take on some of the sin that is typically associated with that lifestyle. The idea of being fabulous often opens up the door to other things.
Clearly, you will always have rich preachers. People forget that preachers may have other revenue streams in addition to tithes and offerings. Some preachers sell a lot of books, others own businesses and are getting money through other means. To be totally honest, it is clear in God’s word of how he will bless those that do his work. Anytime you have buildings as large as some of these mega-churches are, there are huge utility costs, construction costs and property taxes. This is what people expect. What people have an issue with is the preacher that wears fashion couture that costs as much as they make in a month each Sunday, cars that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and private jets.
These will always be difficult to justify in the minds of those that do not go to church or those who do attend services that life a modest lifestyle. I have my own issues with being fabulous. I realize that it is a sin in the Black culture to live within your means and dress modestly but I don’t think enough is said for it. How can people be encouraged to take on fiscal responsibility when the appearance of financial impropriety is the norm in the Black church? Why is the measure of success in the church the same as it is in the world? It does not take a $5,000 suit, or a $700 shirt to win someone over to Christ.
What we need is not to turn from God, but to look for him in other places. God exists in ways that are obvious, for free, without the glitz, glam, hyperbole, marketing and rhetoric that we want to associate God with. Spirituality is part of the road less traveled; religion is the road that everyone wants to go down. If you are going to serve God, if you believe that Christ died for your sins, then continue to do so. Let everyone else talk, it is only for a season and it will pass; if you want to explain to God your obsession with talking about his anointed at the seat of judgment you can do so but I would rather move on with the work that God has for us to do. This is just another diversion to get everyone off track…