It is definitely a problem when ministers wind up in the same pages as entertainers. That’s the situation with the furor over Bishop Eddie Long, founder of an Atlanta megachurch.
He had previously been targeted by a Congressional hearing, along with Dr. Creflo Dollar.
And the question that always comes to mind in these situations is “how can the congregation be so blind?”
This is not a situation unique to the black church. The Pope spent much of his trip to Great Britain apologizing for sexual abuses by priests and subsequent coverups.
Yet, with all the attention around the globe to Catholic abuses, there hasn’t been a mass exodus away from the Roman Catholic Church.
I am quite certain there will be vigorous defenders of Bishop Long, whatever shakes out of the allegations.
Those who oppose religion in general will add this to their ammunition.
As a Presbyterian elder, I participate in church governance and although I’ve seen things that make me shake my head, I find that the foibles of individuals do not shake my faith.
That faith isn’t based on anyone who walks terrestrially. My belief is that congregations who are able to make that distinction are generally going to be free from these difficulties. While I’m open to the guidance of my pastors, I personally take responsibility for studying the sacred texts daily and being guided by the Spirit.
And I see everyone in the church, and everyone in my daily journey as a messenger from the Creator.
Sometimes messages come from their actions as well as through their statements, most often the former.
So the question should be, not how can a congregation be so blind, but what can all people of faith learn from this?
It’s a safe bet that Psalm 146:3 is part of the lesson plan:
“3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.”