With your permission, I would like to use your e-mail in my article that circulates among pastors and ministers around Los Angeles. I have read conflicting and controversial messages that you've issued regarding ministers, and, of course, it makes me feel edgy to push hot buttons, but I think there are some, like Jerome Fisher, Pastor Emeritus of Citizens of Zion, Compton; or Solomon Drake, Pastor of Greater Ebenezer, LA, who have stories that need to be told. Please permit me to run with this story. I promise to keep your links attached in the electronic version.
Feel free to do so. And you are right; many of our black ministers should leave a written legacy if no more than to clear the air about lies that have been told on them. I am a minister too, and I have an obligation to speak truth and, hopefully, the truth I speak will move all ministers to a new consciousness to look closely at themselves and their behavior. That's the problem now—everybody turning their head and saying, "Let God handle it." Remember, there is a sin of omission as well as sin of commission.
The behavior of some of our ministers is causing many to become unchurched, and when adults stray away from the church, their children are not introduced to the church. I am just doing my job as a Christian, minister, and as an elder. I speak truth to all issues, so why should I skip around the issues of the church when I have witnessed the devastating effects on the community and families as a result of unspiritual behavior of ministers? I know some of them don't like me, but I love them. I love them enough to tell them the truth. I love them more than they love their members because some of them are afraid to tell their members the truth—especially those who pay big tithes—that is the truth. Well, I am not bound by man's ideology but by God's truth instead.
In fact, one of my workers said to me the other day when we were putting packages together to mail to churches about Black Writers On Tour Conference, "I can hear the pastors saying, 'That's the lady who writes to/and about ministers/preachers.'" I said to her, "If they forfeit an opportunity to encourage their members to be literate because of what they think about me, then I have not written enough about them—because they are not getting it." Their job involves more than just standing in the pulpit and preaching their favorite segment of the Gospel. How can your members understand the Word of God and do what the Word says to do when they cannot read with understanding? Of course, maybe that's what many of them want—a congregation of members who cannot think for themselves—maybe that works for them.
It's a shame about the number of children and adults in church who cannot read, and their writing is pitiful. In fact, that's true for many of the ministers. How can this be when there are educators in their congregation? We need to care about the whole man. Members die every day, and the church has to help bury them because the family has made no preparation and they have not been admonished to get life insurance. Why? Is it because the minister thinks it will take away from their tithes?
I am not the beehive that you should get stirred up because I will sting you with truth from head to toe. I was speaking to a pastor one day about doing an estate-planning seminar for his members, explaining the importance of having a Living Trust and Power of Attorney—the importance of not having one's property going to probate, whereas the attorney's and probate's fees eat up most of their estate. This pastor looked at me and said, "Sister, the Bible says take no thought for tomorrow." I ended that conversation and started talking about the weather. I was thinking out loud, Didn't the Bible say that we should leave an inheritance for our children's children? Oh, well, what do I know?
Bottom line: If I never get an opportunity to stand in anybody's pulpit ever again, it's all right with me because I can preach the gospel anywhere and everywhere I land my feet, and foremost, it should start in your own home. I have said enough—for now.