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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We Should Use Bishop Eddie Long's Situation To Examine Ourselves

I like many of you were saddened to hear the allegations against Bishop Eddie Long. When I first heard the allegations on CNN I could not believe that it. After hearing some of the details I felt that if it is true that other people had to know. Remember I said "if" it is true. I know that his stand on gay marriage has caused the allegations to get more attention.

I am concerned about how the media may use this situation to unfairly scrutinize the church. I hope that we don't lose sight that Bishop Ediie Long is just a man he is not God. I pray that God reveals the truth so that the healing can begin. I feel this is an opportunity for the body of Christ to address some issues that could help us grow spiritually.

Hearing the news about the Bishop I wondered "What about accountability?" Who is he accountable to? Then I began to ask myself "Who am I accountable to?" I know that I am accountable to God. But who else. My pastor, my netcare leader, spiritual mentor and/or ministry leader? For me the answer is yes to all the above. About four or five years ago I started wondering if my current place of worship was the right place for me to be. Before I jumped to join or even visit another church I talked with some people who I felt have either fed me or guided me spiritually. All of them stated that I should examine myself to make sure I am not trying to find a new church home for the wrong reasons. They also told me to continue to tithe to my current church home until I made a decision. At first I did not want to follow the sound advice I received but once I started examining myself I know they all were right. We all need someone to give us sound counsel and the willingness to listen.

Those of us who are believers hopefully understand that we need to read and study the bible on a daily basis. By reading and meditating on the word of God we stay focused on God. Praying the word also helps us to keep the focus. Being rooted and ground in the word is also part of our spiritual growth.

I am not say that this is the case in Bishop Eddie Long's situation nor am I saying that we should not want to prosper. In Our Daily Manna(www.ourdailymanna.org,a devotional reading (dated September 27th) addresed how we need to react to prosperity and adversity. In the reading it states,"Use your season of prosperity to plan for your season of adversity and use your season of adversity to caution yourself against your prosperity season." In the prayer points for that that day it states the "Prosperity has destroyed millions." It instructs us to decree that we will not be the next victim. It also asks us to pray for the grace to stand fast and pray despite any prosperity phase of our life. In other words don't lose focus on the source of your prosperity.

We need to have more Christian leaders to address sex in the pulpit. Part of the reason why HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is so rampant in black community is because we have failed to address sex in a practical way. When the AIDS epidemic was declared in the US many in the black Christian community felt that since it was a “Gay White Man’s Disease”, they did nothing to address it. How wrong they were because by 1983 there was already an epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. The church has to take some responsibility for the epidemic because we failed to address the issue of sex from the biblical perspective in the church. The church has to also take some responsibility for how people living with the disease have been treated. Not just how the person with the disease was treated but their families also.
As a matter of fact just stating “don’t have sex” is not enough. Abstinence, masturbation, fidelity, incest, sexual trauma, same sex relationships are some of the topics that need to be addressed. There also need to be discussion on how to agree and disagree on issues regarding same sex relationships and gay marriage.

I really believe that the crisis that Eddie Long is dealing can be a teachable moment for the body of Christ.