This is a new feature I’m going to play with. If following up on an item I’ve already blogged about earlier in the week, I’ll just include a link back so you can find it.
Remember “back in the day” when, if a big news item or event occurred, you heard about it from Walter Cronkite in the evening then waited to read follow-up in the newspapers to follow? Not anymore. We’ve long entered a brave new world of instantaneous media feeding frenzy until the corpse is whittled dry to be heard from no more. It will be fascinating to see what “hot topic” items of discussion will even seem relevant a few months (or even weeks) from now.
Funky Mess #1 – Bishop Eddie Long and his “spiritual sons.” We’ve got four (so far) lawsuits brought against mega church Bishop Eddie Long (out of Georgia) for sexual coercion. I’m only familiar with who he is from catching a few sermon rebroadcasts. I never was impressed and what rubbed me the wrong way was both his presentation style and content. He has a fancy for wearing skin-tight clothing (muscle shirts, fitted jeans, robe vests) or impeccably tailored suits with flair. The subsequent presentation and content to me equaled a level of peacock strutting versus someone interested on delivering pure biblical word. He’s also one of those types that uses the pulpit to perform sermons of hate. Ironically a big one for him has been raging against homosexuality.
- He’s been fancying himself to be a master of sorts who needs to be served and catered to.
- He has steadily preyed upon the male youth of his church (and its academy) to satisfy these tastes.
- He has spent a great deal of wealth (His? The church’s?) to reward those who have been entrapped.
- He has crafted a circus of silence where other church staff (and/or congregants) knew what was going on, yet said nothing. (One can presume to protect their own vested interests).
Have we had mega preachers “fall from grace” in the past? Yeppers…see Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell and more recently Ted Haggard. This early on, I don’t know who to believe. Maybe, as his crisis team asserts, the lure of a big payday was enough to make the plaintiffs lie. Yet there is a “truth sounding” element of the story in the accusers’ willingness to identify themselves, in light of a historical cultural veil of silence on such “taboo” topics. It isn’t surprising to me that, if in fact true, this would be an entrenched level of abuse that some who are part of that church community saw and looked away from. To publicly come forward, one would need to not care about the ridicule that has come and will inevitably follow throughout their life. (Even if everything is proven to be true, I submit there are people who will still chastise any victims for telling.) Either way, both sides will have lost.