Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Respect and the Pulpit, a Hidden Oxymoron

Are we, as a nation, so far gone down Secular Lane that we cannot even acknowledge when a pastor is flat out wrong? Are we so hesitant to hold our so-called Moral Leaders to task because we are afraid if we say something we will be pulled on the carpet for our own ‘unacceptable behavior’? Where are we morally if we cannot hold each other accountable?

These are a few of the questions that raced through my brain as I read about Pastor Jamal Bryant - and while church-going Believers (have to make the distinction between church-going Believers and general Believers considering the following information) and I discussed infidelity among ministers:

More Americans Say They Have No Religion

While Reverend Bryant’s situation is old news, I still take issue with church-going Believers making what I believe to be an excuse for behavior that ultimately destroys the morale of a church, disrespects God’s ‘written’ intentions, and convolutes the soul of those seeking a place on God’s roster as a pastor (that was me after seminary).

GIZELLE BRYANT VS. JAMAL H. BRYANT: Popular pastor and wife in divorce ...

The Excuse:

“He is Human”

Okay…and so am I. But, one thing distinguishes me and countless others from Bryant: I/we ain’t up in the People’s Sanctuary regurgitating that Written Word each and every Sunday; and occasionally on bible study night. Nonetheless, I am a human being. Full of flaws. Corrupt with temptation that attacks my flesh on the daily. I am broken; seeking grace, mercy, and forgiveness from my Maker. Right?

In my book, Exposing Christianity: My Way of Sharing an ... ,I have a chapter dedicated to Forgiveness. In this chapter I try to explain how we have used the Concept of Forgiveness to eliminate the Fear of Damnation. For example, if I knew without a doubt that I would burn in hell if I killed 10 innocent people (Alabama slayings - CNN.com) perhaps I would not go on a shooting rampage killing women and children. Perhaps, I would think twice about molesting a three year old.

My point:

When does the evil deed KEEP one on the path to Hell (if there is such a place)? When is Forgiveness not a multiple choice selection?

With what we have done to God’s Out (Forgiveness), all of us can freely live a life of complete wickedness, and STILL make it through the Pearly Gates. Jeffrey Dahmer is in heaven.

We are in a terribly dangerous place: church attendance among 20 to 40 year olds is significantly low (not that it is a necessity to go to church), spirituality is void, people are faithless, and a huge segment of the United States population is living a life in the profane moment while simultaneously expecting God to grant us a pass after we speak those often repeated words on a death bed:

‘Lord, forgive me of my sins. Wipe me clean. I believe in You and Your son; and I am ready for your Kingdom. Make a place for me.’

We are familiar with:

‘God please get me out of this one. I promise not to be here again.’

Regardless of what many of the bible-thumpers and Holy Ghost dancers believe, a significant number of churchgoers and non-churchgoers live their life believing that God will indiscriminately forgive. Thus, leaving them with the impression that it is NOT a righteous prerequisite to live an honorable life when this life is temporary and can be medicated with a dose of forgiveness. With this pervasive misunderstanding and/or blatant disrespect of God, maybe this is the reason humans have proven to be morally bankrupt?

So, I guess he is “The Man”? A comparison to David? He appears to have forgiven himself. Such arrogance! Please watch and listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuRNWbIUnPE&feature=related

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by another fallen Saint who church-going Believers have welcomed back with open arms.

20 comments:

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Lord Have Mercy, and I can not give God the praise after that! So, I guess he is making an excuse for himself. Well, if the worshippers are following, and it looks like the church is crowded, then I guess he will continue to do the same thing. He said he will preach if they leave. Well, not actually. If they leave, he will sit down because he will not have any money. LOL

More reason why I STAY HOME ON SUNDAY AND NOT MOTIVATED SINCE MY EXPERIENCE WITH A NO GOOD PASTOR HERE. I love the Lord, not the man!

-SP

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to SP:

He was so unapologetic in that mini-sermon. Amazing. How can he continue to be that adamant while he has disrespected the Lord? Where is the humility? It is flat out disgusting, and he needs to be removed - but the people as you can tell adore him...even as he has this self-induced rain cloud over his head. I did not see this as 'forgiveness' from the ones clapping and kissing his azz either. I see weakness. Insecurity. The inability to call a spade a spade! It is our inability to respectfully relinquish fallen leaders when we must so that they can be left alone to address their demons. We are 'attracted' to them to some degree. I guess we see ourselves. I certainly understand that. However, his ego is over the top; and soon he will be broken down by his own actions. God will not have anything to do with it, either!. We are our greatest obstacles! The church has proven to be like the world: In Bad Shape! I ain't fooling with it under any circumstances anytime soon. Once you think you have found the 'right' church it proves itself to be of the world and by the world. I can't do it!

If I am judging this man: So be it! Not enough of us are casting the FIRST STONE. I have a huge one!

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Guess what....most of these churches/preachers are supported by black women!

-EJ

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to EJ:

ej-
i have always noticed that these swindlers biggest supporters are women. this may be a result of the ratio within the church: more black women than black men as church-goers - but then i thought about the baby boy syndrome. black women for years have supported their boys even when they have been in the wrong, but black women have been known to kick their daughters to the curb at the first sign of problems. I have never heard a white women say, 'oh! you don't want to have a girl child. they will drive you crazy.' where does this sentiment come from? is it that black women believe that they are nothing but trouble? i mention this because black boys are shown favoritism by black women, and in many cases this extra attention ends up harming the black boy instead of helping him. my nephew just got into a lot of trouble. you know what his mother said to his father (my brother): "no, not my little boy. he would never get involved in anything like that." right! black women sit and applaud this preacher when he is wrong. black men sit back and continue to develop deeper resentment for the church. also, we, as men, know how men are...this may be another reason we are not going to church: 'pastor a deceiver just like me.' interesting???

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Rev. Jennifer responds:

Your judgement of these folk is just as damning as their hypocrisy. Smile. There is NO big sin or little sin - judgment, lying, stealing, hypocrisy and all. When we accept that, we will be less angry and more compassionate and willing to pray FOR folk and not CUSS them out.

-Rev. Jennifer

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to Rev. Jennifer:

Rev. Jennifer-

I am not judging. I am stating a fact: He disrespected God and God's intentions. And, now we refuse to hold him accountable. How much compassion shall we show/exert as our moral leaders spit in the face of God? When do we draw the line and condemn what Jesus condemned? I guess we are unworthy to do that? I have disclosed that my morals have been jacked so I am not hiding anything. When I am wrong I let everyone know. I want us to be more responsible and accountable. Stop with this prayer for this and prayer for that when people are blatantly and knowingly smacking my Lord! We need not be that forgiving when the cycle continues. When will it end, Rev? When?

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Rev. Jennifer responds to Muata:

WE MUST ALWAYS FORGIVE and NEVER STOP PRAYING. My answer to EVERYTHING is and always will be prayer. No matter what the human experience is - it is NOT greater than the wisdom of our God who clearly tells us to pray without ceasing. You appear to be looking for a tangible/visible change which you may or may NOT see on this side of Jordan. That is the reality. Our goal is not utopia on EARTH but seeking heaven for an eternal utopia with God - Jesus and all believers.

I don't seek God in prayer to fix PROBLEMS or ISSUES but seek Him to change the hearts & minds of the believer, unbeliever and fence straddlers. Once the person's heart & mind change, so then will follow a change in act ions, behavior and mouth.

It simply is where I stand and I'm convicted when I only see the flesh issues and don't look at it in the spirit realm.

Peace!!

-Rev. Jennifer

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to Rev. Jennifer:

What about while we are here, on earth? Did God create us to just hang out and battle our fleshy desires while knowing we could not win? Are we here to dishonor our Lord and then seek Him when times are tough? IMO God wanted more for my life while I am here. Mr. Bryant knew better. I know better, and I/him do not deserve an out time and time again.

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader responds to Muata and Rev. Jennifer:

I can see both sides. I never like to see people in positions of authority in the church committing blatant sins! I have heard so many people tell me they will not go to church because of the hypocrites there. I also hate when people like Michael Baisden condemn the "Pimps in the Pulpit". A lot of people are being turned off from the church because of those who profess to be delivering others from sin, yet their own sin still has them in bondage.

However, we have to realize that no one is perfect. And that we all need prayer - even the preacher. No, I don't think anyone is excusing the sin. There may even be ramifications - losing the church, family or fortunes. But in the end, they will never lose Jesus - He is always there - forgiving and loving. Yeah, He hates the sin. But never the sinner. I once heard someone say if you can't feel the Lord's presence - it's not because He left you - it's because you left Him!

All we can do is accept the fact that they asked for forgiveness (it was not really our place to give anyway), and pray that they have been changed.. And, if they haven't, then they will have to answer to someone much greater than us. Someone who is in a place to judge - because He knows the heart of man. We can only see what's on the outside.

-MJ

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Rev. Jennifer responds to Muata:

GOD GIVES YOU an out TIME & TIME & TIME & TIME & TIME again. HE DOES IT FOR ALL His children. You can't decide that someones sin is so much greater and say YOU NEED MORE BEAT-DOWN. No, it does not work that way and neither does our God. No matter what our opinion may be - the truth is the truth. And please know - Rev, Jamal Bryant is GETTING his due to the other promise from God - we must all face our consequences of disobedience. So, no one "gets away" with anything.

-Rev. Jennifer

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

What these preachers teach in church is based off of ignorance and the hope that their flocks continue to bask in it. "im sorry" is the most overrated phrase used by Americans. "don't judge"...why the hell not?

-EJ

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

EJ responds to Rev. Jennifer:

"Just Pray"...that's the equivalent of saying..."Shyt don't add up so let's not deal with it".....My goal is utopia on EARTH and to enjoy the gift God gave me "LIFE ON EARTH"...all that other stuff will work itself out. Everybody believes they have the answer as to how to get to this Magical place in the sky...all the so called believers want to get their but none of them want to die! Don't believe me...let one of them fall sick and end up in the hospital....see how many PRAYERS go up begging God to heal them.....And how did "GOD CLEARLY TELL YOU ANYTHING"?

-EJ

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader EJ responds to MJ:

Can your prayers change God's plan? Since he obviously listens to those who pray....does that mean he contemplates his desires versus yours?

-EJ

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Rev. Jennifer responds to EJ:

Eric - does your opinion of how a coach handles a particular play in a sport change what the coach will do? No. But, if given the opportunity to share with the coach, and the coach actually seeks your opinion, there may be an opportunity for understanding, dialogue and clarity.

You have to FIRST be willing to talk to God and then be willing to LISTEN - not to get a response YOU want, but the response that is BEST.

No man is perfect. And to answer your last question - YES! GOD's will always takes precedence because HIS will is for your GOOD. Not to harm you or hurt you. YET - when we walk out of His will and do what we WANT to do and HOW we want to do it, there are CONSEQUENCES and a LONG domino effect that, depending on the action, could impact lives for generations to come. And what happens is the consequences that impact our children, family and people in general. THEN we say "Why did God do this to me?" Well, why not ask that question of yourself first - Why did I do this to myself? Why do I KEEP on being disobedient and trying to handle things MY way? It seems we keep chosing our wisdom over Yaweh's wisdom. Never works.

If we would let God be God and we be human - imperfect yet humble - we may get an understanding. In all things - no matter what you say - GOD IS THE FIRST and LAST WORD. Deal with it! But do so on the positive and allow a relationship to GROW verses FESTER. It's a lot less painful.

-Rev. Jennifer

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

nothing wrong with forgiveness, or welcoming him back with open arms - - to the congregation, not the pulpit!

i am definitely one flawed human. most of us are. however, i do agree that anyone presenting themselves as a giver of the word of God should hold themselves to the standard of what they are preaching, and if they cannot they should not be in the pulpit.

one of the reasons my son practices islam is he does not believe anyone (person) can take away his sins, so he is dedicated to getting it right by doing his best to consciously live right and accept the consequences of his actions.

for me, it is a minute by minute struggle to live well and right - and i am very GRATEFUL that God is a God of second chances! :-)

peace & blessings,

-SMK

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

A few quotes to chew on:

"Never can Christianity, under whatever mask it may appear -- be it New Liberalism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, New Thought, or a thousand and one other forms of hysteria and neurasthenia -- bring us relief from the terrible pressure of conditions, the weight of poverty, the horrors of our iniquitous system. Christianity is the conspiracy of ignorance against reason, of darkness against light, of submission and slavery against independence and freedom; of the denial of strength and beauty, against the affirmation of the joy and glory of life."

"Conceptions and words that have long ago lost their original meaning continue through centuries to dominate mankind. Especially is this true if these conceptions have become a common-place, if they have been instilled in our beings from our infancy as great and irrefutable verities. The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create."

"Whoever sincerely aims at a radical change in society, whoever strives to free humanity from the scourge of dependence and misery, must turn his back on Christianity, on the old as well as the present form of the same."

-by Emma Goldman

Shared by Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader response:

This is UGLY really ugly. I have lived in Atlanta now for 14 years and I have yet to find a church where I can call home. I am from the North and I had never heard of a "mega" church until I moved here. I miss my small church at home where everyone knew everyone and the Pastor knows everyone's name. I'm not going to say "pray" for these forks because after all I don't see the need in wasting a good prayer....and yes you are correct the average church is filled with women...lonely, nasty attitude women that talk about folks EVERYDAY.

What can I say, I'm work in progress...

-PL

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

can u say totalitarianism?

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

I'm confused? You're bringing up alot of different points and I'm not sure what aspect of Christianity you were trying to condemn? Nevertheless, are you upset with the religion itself or with the way people practice it? I would think the latter. Or else Stansbury would be right; You'd have to start adding other religions to the discussion.

Religions, in general, if properly practiced, would make the world a peaceful place. The problem is with the people who practice them, not the religions.

It's like saying "fire" is evil. But fire if used properly is a useful element that can make our lives better. But put in the wrong hands like an arsonist, then it would be a tool of destruction.

So are you condemning the religions or the people who practice them?

-BW

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to BW:

My focus is Christianity. I use my ability to be an intellectual critic because I have studied the subject matter. "Condemn" is a strong word. I am just stating valid criticisms. I am ‘opening it up’ (like others have in the past and presently) so that some will see it for what it is in the minds of countless theologians and critical thinkers. The followers are nothing but victims of the wholesale lies and false truths. They are also faithful followers of a faith that’s a man-made creation that works for them. More power to them. However, what they believe will not be immune from analysis and criticism.

Objective:

To educate.

-Muata