Abuse in the Church…What Do You Think?

This blog is going to be very short, because I kind of wanna hear from you, the reader.  This week has definitely been a sensational and disturbing week for the African-American community.  As many of you know, one of the most prominent preachers, Bishop Eddie Long in Atlanta, has been accused of improper sexual conduct with three male members of his church.  As an attorney, I do believe in obtaining all the facts before casting judgment–so this is NOT that kind of post.  BUT…as a child of God, a person of faith, and one that unfortunately knows persons who have been abused by the church, I DO think this is something that Christians need to discuss openly.  Part of the “beef” I have had with the Catholic church when all their sexual scandals were emerging was that they were merely reactionary—they never took the LEAD on the investigations and mainly waited until allegations came out before addressing the issue.

Likewise, there are many Christians who feel that we should not discuss this issue…at least not yet.  Well, I disagree.  While we do not have to discuss the Bishop directly, I am concerned about the allegations EVEN IF THEY ARE JUST RUMORS (which is serious in itself).  So I just want to pose these questions, and please feel free to be respectfully open and respond:

  1. How much power does the African-American church give their leaders (i.e. pastors, deacons, bishops, clergy…etc)?  Do you see a problem in that?
  2. How difficult do you feel it would be for a member of the church to report misconduct in the church?  In other words, do you feel there is a “stigma” out there against speaking up against inappropriate behavior?
  3. Unfortunately, abuse in all churches, including the African-American church, happens.  How does this affect our witness as a whole, and our overall message of Jesus Christ?
  4. When a pastor does commit indecency, should we merely forgive and move on?  Or does there need to be repercussions?

I truly want to hear from you.  I have my own opinions to these questions.  Indeed, we all fall short.  Whether we stay short is truly up to us.  Feel free to respond to any one of these questions…or any other comment you have.

I will say, for anyone who has been mistreated by a person in any spiritual position of power…if no one of faith has apologized to you…I am sorry and know that Jesus STILL heals!

Don’t be afraid..BE BOLD!

-Ify-

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About boldandfab

Where Being A Witness Meets Chic Sophistication! Where Every Word Has Profound Meaning. It's all us...ALL REAL! B & F.
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4 Responses to Abuse in the Church…What Do You Think?

  1. Ella says:

    1.How much power does the African-American church give their leaders (i.e. pastors, deacons, bishops, clergy…etc)? Do you see a problem in that?

    Response: I don’t think there is an African-American church per se, because we worship in so many different denominations and religions. The Christian church embraces the priesthood of all believers, which is a Christian doctrine derived from 1 Peter 2:9 which gives responsibility to all believers for the preservation and propagation of the Gospel and the Church and with that knowledge all Christians should aggressively pursue their personal relationship with God. Yes, church membership requires fellowship but we must not get so caught up in persons because God does not favor persons. “For there is no respect of persons with God” or stated differently, “For one man is not different from another before God” Romans 2:11. We are all the same, yet sometimes we make idols out of our church leaders.

    2.How difficult do you feel it would be for a member of the church to report misconduct in the church? In other words, do you feel there is a “stigma” out there against speaking up against inappropriate behavior?

    Response: There is a stigma about speaking up against all inappropriate behavior whether its preachers, priest, parents, friends, etc., and might I add, especially amongst Black folk. We must all become better teachers and examples for young people and each other. We gotta talk it and walk it; we gotta stand up and speak up even if its inconvenient or unpopular.

    3.Unfortunately, abuse in all churches, including the African-American church, happens. How does this affect our witness as a whole, and our overall message of Jesus Christ?

    Response: Christians serve an unchanging God so why would our witness change because a person falls short, as most people will and do, even in their Christian experience? Should we be disappointed? Yes. Should we be discouraged? Not at all.

    4.When a pastor does commit indecency, should we merely forgive and move on? Or does there need to be repercussions?

    Response: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21. There is God’s law and man’s law. We are expected to practice forgiveness, but we move on with knowledge. We are also expected to practice repentance. Repentance is choosing to turn to God … repentance brings pardon and forgiveness of sin Isaiah 55:7. If there is a crime committed according to man’s law then there are consequences and repercussions that ensue. I do not believe that forgiveness entails looking the other way to avoid our responsibility to intervene when it is necessary. That is what the Catholic Church has done for centuries regarding the sexual abuse that is rampant within that church.

    Note: At this juncture we can only wait and see. It’s easy to be accused, especially if there is greed and envy, like with Michael Jackson for instance, there were no limits to what people would do to get close to him and bring him down for money or attention. From what I’ve read so far, the Bishop’s accusers were all consenting adults and if there is any truth to these allegations the only seduction or coercion that occurred was the Bishop’s great wealth and, perhaps, their greed. If indeed there is some impropriety, then the Bishop’s walk should be consistent with his talk. Having lived a minute and some change, I can tell you that EVERYONE, whether in a purposeful spiritual walk or not, will have a “wilderness experience.” Whether its yielding to temptation, being under siege, a wager such as Job (Book of Job and he was wealthy too) or time to pick your side, everyone will one day be challenged by something overwhelming. The Bishop’s silence at this time, as you well know, is more legal strategy and public relations because of his high profile than any signs of guilt. And lest ye not forget, once the spotlight is put on the accusers…well…we’ll see.

  2. boldandfab says:

    Thank you for your comment. And apologies to all those who tried to comment yesterday but were unable to due to problems with the site. WE are aware of the problem and are trying to ensure that all voices will be heard.

    Blessings.

    Ify

  3. Tristan Lewis says:

    I tried to comment the other day but was rejected. Happy it is running good now.
    I think that the church needs to get its head out of the clouds. They put these Pastors on pedestals and then are surprised and hurt when they step out of bounds. Wake up. There is alot of homosexuality in the church. Alot of pastors are gay and got into pastoring to “escape” what they are. Give these people a pedestal and power and wa-la, abuse. Yes we need to talk about it. Eddie Long and whoever else. There needs to be a redistribution of power. There needs to be atonement and accountability. people need to stop being yes men and really hold these leaders to the fire. trust me, this is nothing people haven’t had knowledge of.

  4. boldandfab says:

    I hear you Tristan! Thank you so much for your comment! The church comprises of all peoples…and as my pastor would say, the church is merely a hospital of sick people seeking to get better. But we will never get better if we keep hiding the diagnosis! Hopefully, more conversation will ensue!

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