Full Disclosure: I grew up in the church. Both of my parents are ministers. I was in church every Sunday for the fiftyleven services that lasted from 8am until 3pm when my mother was finally finished talking to every church member. (She’s very social). My grandfather was a baptist minister. The church is a part of who I am which is why I need to take a moment to say….do better.
It was around 8 years old when I realized that I was a liberal. I questioned everything including the teachings of my church. As I got older I learned to appreciate the comfort that believing in something greater than myself could give but there were limits when it came to how much I would embrace formal religion.
So when I stumbled upon this video of Bishop Eddie Long being crowned “King” by his congregation New Bishop in Atlanta I have to wonder what in the heck is going on with churches?! The unidentified man in the video is even talking about Long having a “king chromosome” which makes me scratch my head.
It’s not as if this is the first time we were all forced to question the merits of formal religion, the Catholic church child molestation scandal and Bishop Long’s own sexual abuse scandal which resulted in a private settlement, create the need for us to be very critical of these institutions if we weren’t already.
I just don’t understand how New Birth and Bishop Long represent anything I’ve ever been taught about Christianity or about Jesus (but perhaps one of our readers would like to explain). To me it seems that this display by New Birth is the opposite of what it says in the Bible but I’m far from an authority on such matters.
What’s most problematic to me is that Eddie Long was accused of sexual abuse, settled with the accusers, and is still standing on a stage anywhere in America in a fancy suit and questionable hairline with people applauding him. I don’t understand how someone who never asked his congregation for forgiveness (he denied the allegations prior to the settlement) can still be propped up as an example of anything but what not to do when in a position of power and influence over so many. Nothing of what Bishop Long has done since the allegations surfaced illustrates why the Christian faith makes people somehow better human beings. And isn’t that the point?
The church, and particularly the black church, need to have higher standards for their leadership. The church can no longer be a place where people tithe away their hard earned money so the preacher can drive a Bently (like Bishop Long) and take advantage of tax free status.
It’s hard enough to believe in anything in this day and age and while I personally don’t put a lot of energy into this formal institution so many do and deserve better.