Why post about Eddie Long after his death?

A brother asked me this week, the following questions:

“… you have been posting a lot of stuff about Eddie Long. Why and what is the reason? The man is dead and buried now.”

I responded:

Sorry that it took me so long to respond bro. I was not ignoring your comment/query.

Though seemingly a simple question, it is a layered one. As such it requires a tiered response. My attempt follows:

  • We are required to walk in Truth, and there is a paucity of that in the modern ‘church’, especially when it comes to our ‘leaders’. The man may be dead and buried, but his legacy (positive and negative) live on. As such, I am resistant to the idea that because he is dead, we must ignore the carnage that the man left, and focus solely on the good that he did. It does a HUGE disservice to those who have been harmed, and to that which calls itself ‘church’.
  • I am a Pastor, and I am always painfully aware of my shortcomings and failures. It is clear always to me that I am a recipient of a great GRACE. That said, we tend to in the ‘church’, especially in the organizations that employ what is called ‘The Great man Model’, elevate our pastors to near sainthood if not outright deification. That is IDOLATRY plain and simple.
  • The Bible is clear that there is only ONE man who lived His entire life without sin. The rest, even the great ones, achieved despite or in the face of, their sin, and we are told about their sin as a reminder and an encouragement. How dare we discuss people today as though they have no sin?
  • I knew the man. We were a part of the same organization for several years, in fact we for a time, referred to the same man as spiritual father. The man that I knew was humble, self-effacing, and willing to be clear about the pain of his childhood, and the scars that he bore. But it was clear even then, that there was an underlying issue when it came to the question of sexual sin. The truth is that; issues which are not addressed, not resolved, though they may reside below the surface or in a closet, will erupt, or the door will open. When they do, especially in these type or organizational systems that focus on ‘The Great man’ as the engine, measures of deceit or cover up must be employed in order to keep the machine rolling. This involves other people in the sin.
  • For us who are, as the Bible says, Elders, Pastors, we are to be beyond reproach (1Tim 3:2) this does not mean without sin, but it does mean that repetitive, consistent, habitual sin is a disqualifier. The Bishop because of this behavior, and because of the errant doctrines that he was teaching (which we can discuss at another time) was disqualified.

I hope that this was not too long… God Bless you bro.


Thoughts on recent events II

I am coming to understand that many people’s blind trust in the police narrative of any incident is not totally rooted in unfeeling arrogance, but in a basic primal need to trust. (I mean they MUST have deserved it, right? See, he had a rap sheet! I knew it!)
They view Police Officers as benevolent peace keepers, entrusted with the safety and care, protection and service of the citizenry. (Thankfully, most police officers are exactly that.)

It is a need to trust that is rooted in a (correct) innate sense that order is essential to well-being and the survival of their understanding of community. (Everybody wants to feel/be safe in their homes and communities)

The problem is that this environment has long been disordered, the system long broken, the weights imbalanced to prefer a certain segment, and contain another, and it is only now that the ubiquitous recording devices, internet and social media bring the every day lives of many in our culture live and in living color to their computers, phones and TV’s, that their fragile-as-tissue paper sensibilities are being assaulted…

But this is some people’s every day, and for those people, they are APPALLED and OUTRAGED that there are people who did NOT know… (How could you not know? Seriously, how could you NOT KNOW)
These people have no reason to trust the narrative, due to what they have experienced, so the narrative is almost always suspect, and for them, the peace keepers are actually a militarized force.
It is difficult to reach across the divide of experience, to come to a place of mutual understanding, forbearance and trust, but we must try.
We Must…

Thoughts on recent events I

I’m only posting this because it occurred to me today, that perhaps this story will help those of my social media friends that do not seem to grasp the angst, understand what it’s all about.

April 4, 1968 – When I was almost (12 days shy of) 6 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was (literally) a life changing experience. My parents, (and probably ALL of the adults that I knew) were devastated… Completely devastated… My parents (an immigrant, and the daughter of immigrants) had hope, you see, hope in Dr. King’s dream. They stood on the mall in DC and heard him say those words, me in the stroller, and my sister in my Mom’s womb…They had Hope that the very words that he spoke that day could come true. Hope for their children, hope for America, hope for themselves…
I was sad, as only little kids can be sad… Not fully intellectually aware, but sensorially acute.
I remember I had been given an American flag, probably by my Dad, (the proudest to be an American immigrant that I know) and in my anger, I snapped the little wooden stick that it was stapled to… and a splinter went in my eyeball. A quick trip to Brooklyn eye and ear hospital (long closed) took care of that, and I was back in business…

November 2008 -40 years later, we were on the phone together, as the 44th President of these United States was elected, and stood with his family in a park in Chicago, in the rain, and spoke words of Hope. My parents wept, as did I. We had our disagreements, (and I was/am not a fan of the man), but his election MEANT something, for my parents it meant that there was still Hope

August 2016– 8 years later, I’m driving my Dad’s car in Brooklyn, NY with its Georgia license plates, two American flags on the dashboard, and the flag of Aruba (his birthplace) on the back window… Turning onto Eastern Parkway, I get pulled over by the police, who approach the car from either side, one (passenger side) has his gun drawn. They look in the car, see me, my wife next to me, and my Dad, Daughter and Mom across the back seat… I was polite, kept both hands on the wheel, and was polite to a fault.
The P.O. literally tells me that they pulled me over for a non-working signal light, but that as they approached the car, the signal light began to work, so they were letting me go.
(This is of course a complete lie, as once you complete a turn, the signal light automatically turns back off, but who am I to argue)
They wished me a nice day… I drove off, and minutes later, my 84 year old Dad began to cry… PTSD, you see…

He’s been called “NIGGER” so very many times since coming to this country that he loves so much… He was proud to serve in the US Army (even before he was a citizen) taking untold abuse from racist fellow soldiers, superiors, etc because of his beautiful (still at almost 85) richly melanated brown skin…

He’s been pulled over, verbally assaulted, baited and threatened in the middle of the night by police officers while driving alone in the deep south, he’s been bypassed for advancement in employment, he’s seen his wife and children hassled… It was all too much…
For him to see that this still goes on, In 2016 , and now impacts his grandchildren, was too much.

I share his name, his melanin, and his pain. It is consistent, and it is something that causes me stress regularly. But I have to continue to push forward, believing that the land of my birth, the land that I love does in fact love me, even if many in it don’t, and many others find me threatening and fear inducing simply because of the melanin.

I have to have Hope, you see, because I have progeny, deeply melanated, deeply opinionated, beautiful, eloquent, progeny, and she deserves better than what’s she’s presented with. So, I cannot give up, neither can my Dad.

“With the rhythm it takes to dance through what we have to live through, we can walk on the water and not get wet..” – George Clinton