Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What in the Church is Going On? Part 2

A few weeks back I shared a blog called “What in the Church is Going On” or something like that anyway. Found myself getting a little frazzled and frustrated with what I saw and heard going on in the church and the leaders of the church.  Pulled myself together...took a deep breath and moved on, realizing I have my own stuff to deal with.  Then...someone sent me a link to a video...a video of a pastor...Bishop Eddie Long and now a few more titles...and a ceremony that was unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced in my life as a follower of Jesus.  Or even as a non-follower!  I am not going to put the link out...if you are interested, go to You Tube and look for Eddie Long coronation...you will find a lot of stuff but if you look through the rubble you will find the service where Bishop Eddie is called a king and some other stuff...carried around the platform by four very strong guys as he sits in his big chair.
I only bring this up because it is so confusing to me...so contrary to how I see leadership in the church...I feel like an outsider looking in at a secret ceremony.  Like maybe it is a Masonic ceremony where only insiders understand...or me looking at a Islamic ceremony...maybe even a Mormon ceremony.  And I wonder, “what are they doing?”  As I watched the video I think my mouth was open the whole time in wonder at what was going on...and I also wondered how come the people there were not running out of the building as fast as they could.  (listen there is so much more to this story...I would not even attempt to coverall the baggage involved here.)
One thing I have found as you lead is that you are always tempted to believe whatever you are doing is the best thing...the really right thing...the truly God thing.  You want to be the guy getting it really right...don’t you?  You surely don’t want to be the guy who is so wrong that in the end everyone looks at you and wonders, “How could he get it so wrong?”  And I do not want to ever hear these words, “Depart from me....I never knew you...says Jesus.”  Hey wait a minute...this is Bill...you remember me...I got it right!  So I live in the tension of leading in what I know to be true...not more than that...not less...what I see in scripture to be known and practiced.  
It gets hard at times...like being at a family reunion and seeing one part of the family that is acting crazy...maybe too much to drink...or too mean and always fighting...too loud...and people are beginning to stare because of the turmoil and noise...and there you are...seen...you are one of them!  You might yell out that you are not really one of them...just kind of related...but a distant relationship for sure...really distant.  But you are related...you are seen as one...of them...and them could be...a right wing republican...a wild, chandelier swinging charismatic...a fundamentalist...a gay hater...a conservative...well, you name it...that may be the label handed to you. You love Jesus...that is all you ever wanted was to love and follow and act like Jesus...you did not know what the whole family would look like...or act like.  We thought it would be about looking and acting like Jesus...what happened?  How did we get here?  Don’t you want to yell at our Father and tell Him to do something about our family...correct them..make them act better...make them like me...I mean, like Jesus!  
So I am back to...I don’t know what in the world those guys were thinking on that day...why it seemed good to them when it seems so weird to me...not sure why God did not pull the plug on that one. Just pull the plug on the camera or turn the electricity off for and hour or two...PLEASE!  No one from that side of the family is asking for my opinion...I would love to give it...and I could do it in a loving manner because I do love this thing called the Church.  But no calls...no e mails...so I will go on with the expression of the church God has called me to...and I know to some out there, we are one of the strange relatives...we act a little odd to some of the family...they are not comfortable around us. But it is what I know...how I read the Bible...see the church...I think we are pointing to Jesus more than ourselves...I think we are trying to live more like Him...love more like Him.  So maybe that is why, even as I watch this stuff and think it is goofy...kind of give me a sick feeling...and also it makes me cry...and pray...because we are so divided...so disconnected...so not like Jesus...what else could you do?  
I also have a challenge to throw out there...this goes out to all you out there that have great titles...Prophet...Apostle...Evangelist...Bishop...whatever your self inflicted title might be...(self inflicted might be a bit harsh...but it is my blog) STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT...IF THIS TITLE YOU HAVE MEANS ANYTHING...SAY SOMETHING!!!! (yes I was yelling...sorry)  Use your so called authority or turn your badge in...there now I feel much better...to be honest most of what I have seen around me, as you see guys and gals with spiritual sounding titles, is a competitive world that causes good men and women to strive for titles and forget what the title was for.  Bless me clubs who basically say, “I will make you a bishop if you make me a prophet...or an apostle...”I dislike titles...big time...titles equal entitlement on many levels.  I don’t even really like being called “Pastor” for the most part, because it can create a division between members of the body...can create levels of esteem, I guess, where one is more esteemed than another.  It is what I do...not who I am...it is my role in the church body...but God knows me as Bill...or even His best friend Bill...
Wow! Think I ended a little strong...it is my blog...I have to keep reminding you...but my love for Jesus...His Church causes me at times to say what I am thinking...and I am never saying here, I am right and they are wrong...I am just working out my frustration with parts of this family that make me cringe...


  1. Regarding self-esteem ... for ever so long, I secretly believed God had chosen me as a "person of interest" because He saw my untapped potential, my hidden promise, my future value to the kingdom. Secretly, I wanted to believe that the talent scouts in God's Human Resources Department had sifted through a pile of resumes and had matched mine to some high calling. This was all very flattering but, you know what, it ain't true. We're not "hot prospects" just waiting to be discovered. Not even close. God calls us because He sees the possibility of putting *His* potential in us, filling us with *His* promise, putting *His* kingdom values on deposit in our hearts. The truth is that we contribute very little. We surrender thoughts of who we think we should be in order to accept God's version of who we really are, which is a person with the God-given courage to love ourselves as He loves us, warts and all, and the faith to let God handle our makeover on His own terms, without advice from us. We don't give our lives to Jesus; He gives His life to us. If we get that backward, we're in deep trouble.

  2. Part 1
    Great blog Bill. No need to apologize for "yelling" at crazy relatives. A very large part of the charismatic/pentecostal circles, our church family, have gone off into crazy land. They put titles, protocols, special revelations, anointings & levels above all else. It becomes about who you rub elbows with, how big your church is & well, a show, as opposed to lifting up the name of Jesus. They tend to lift each other up in these Bishop, Apostle I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine circles. They forget about ministering to the little lost stupid sheep. Can't be bothered with that cause they got places to go & levels to rise to, mind you, that don't exist in the Bible, you know, God's Word, something that is used in these circles to merely quote scriptures to fit their doctrine of the day or, oops, to wrap them in, to show, well, how really important they are....not!

    I saw the video by the way. They did the same thing with Paula White. It's a culture set up in these churches, a culture of idolizing/honoring the "anointed man of God", the protocol of the house to give "due honor" where it belongs.In some circles, known as a "protocol anointing", to keep proper order in the house so dumb sheep don't stray into areas of the church they don't belong in - touch not mine anointed, they art holy & can't graze among the lowliest of the flock.

    I went to a church like that once where they actually lifted the pastor/bishop of the house up on all of the other pastors & really anointed "platform" people of the house's shoulders to let us know that we had to always lift him up. Kind of crazy, something you see in the sports world, not church.

    Anyway Bill, don't be so hard on yourself for being a bit ruffled by the video. We should be ruffled. "Bishop" Eddie Long is no more special than you or I in God's eyes. It's just too bad that in these dysfunctional churches, the family members see nothing wrong with it. They've been acculturized to thinking that's what God wants. When really, God doesn't care about titles, & the apostle Paul didn't lord his over anyone.

    Part 2 to follow...

  3. Part 2
    So, it's ok Bill, to be a bit irate over the crazy family members. We need to sound off about it & remind these leaders what their role is in the church. Because, at the end of the day, when the Holy Spirit begins to open the spiritual eyes of understanding of the sheep in these houses of fleshly honor, the sheep of these not so green pastures are going to scatter & will seek a pasture where the leaders of the house have a humble, pure heart full of God's mercy grace & love to restore their lost & hurting souls.

    I will end with a passage from Ezekiel 34:2-8,11,14,16
    Woe to the shepherds who feed themselves instead of their flocks... You eat the best food & wear the finest clothes, but you let your flocks starve. You haven't taken care of the weak nor tended the sick nor bound up the broken bones nor gone looking for those who have wandered away & are lost...you have ruled them with force & cruelty. So, they were scattered w/out a shepherd...My sheep have wandered...& there was no one to search for them or care about them. Therefore oh shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, says the Lord God, you abandoned my flock, leaving them to be attacked & destroyed & you were no real shepherd at all...v.11...the Lord God says,I will search & find my sheep...& rescue them...v.14 yes, I will give them good pasture...v.16 I will seek my lost ones who strayed away, & bring them safely home again. I will put splints & bandages upon their broken limbs & heal the sick...

    Well Bill, that's God's Word & how He feels about fat cat shepherds w/ titles. God cares about His sheep & will hold his shepherds accountable. Keep on doing what you do & call out the craziness while letting your love of Jesus be known.

    They will be known by their fruits, whether of the spirit or of the flesh. We need to pray for healing & for repentance to begin in the house of God. There are lost & hurting sheep in search of a true shepherd, not a man with a title/position.

  4. I'm new here, so bear with me. Some very interesting points to think about. I heard about Eddie Long's other escapades, but I think this has gone to a new level & not one that God has designed by any means. In fact, I think He's probably sitting up there looking down thinking, "Man do I need to give some of my kids a time out & sit them down & have a looooong talk with them...All I can say is I don't want to be around when the big old rod of correction comes along, that is when the judgement begins hitting the house of God.

    Which leads me to some serious questions: How does one know really know when real truth is being preached from the pulpits? I mean sure, check it against the Word of God,but now everybody has special revelations from God.I thought we were not supposed to add to the Word or take from it???? I mean if God has something so new & special, why didn't He put in His Word in the first place????

    These Eddie Long type preachers appear to be so anointed & filled with revelation, who are we to question their anointed practices???? I mean it's hard Bill, every church has a new & better way to attract new seekers. Churches bashing each other & all, what is one to do in seeking a new place of fellowship???? Besides that, which one has the proper interpretation of Scripture???? They all say they do even when there are glaring errors......but they are the ones with the titles & they have the revelation, so who are we to question????

    I know you said no one was asking you your opinion, no phone calls or emails. Well, I'm asking. I'm seeking real truth. I wish we could all just go back to Jesus - He shed His precious blood for us, mere sinners. He loved us first. He came seeking us, the sinner. He wants us, our hearts, our fellowship, not all of this other crazy stuff which clouds the real issue. Are we living our lives as Jesus did? Are we about His work, the work of the gospel & leading others to Christ? Not the work of showmanship, self-imposed(inflicted) titles, levels, fancy conferences to get the latest feel good buzz to get us through the next week.

    Like I said, I'm seeking & wanting the real deal, not smoke & mirrors, false humility, no humility or revelatory excuses for the madness we call the Church or church today......

    1. To Seeker of Truth...first I have to say that many times on this blog the comments are better than the blog! And I think you have made some great points here. I don't really know if I could begin to answer them very well...and I am not sure I would even try...my thoughts have always been if I was seeking truth...and that was pretty much seeking Jesus...God would lead me in the right direction. I don't think He would ever fail me...as I look around the Church I would think the first flag to go up would be if a person had "new revelation" from God's word...or a new word from God...we have not gotten the "old" revelation yet! Do we look like Jesus? Do we act like Jesus?
      If were looking around for a place to hang out I would look for simplicity, humility, and a lack of titles to be passed around. I would start there...then proceed. I am very tired of the "American Idol" type of church system we have al around us...who has the best worship team? Whose has the biggest congregation? Building? Who has sold the most books? Whatever it might be...if I cannot find Jesus in the room...I am outta there.

      Seeker of truth...trust the Spirit of Truth...