Archive for the ‘Above the Fold’ Category

As those of us who grew up in the black church know full well, things are done a little differently at times.

The Spirit needs to flow more heavily through a family member of the pastor. The big girl is kept in the choir to make it look bigger in some places. And every Sunday is a fashion show that would put ‘Operation Runway’ to shame.

New Birth pastor gets just that on the cover of Gospel Today magazineBut never have I seen something the likes of what Bishop Eddie Long has allegedly been doing in order to save face amidst some much needed PR.

Any Gospel Today subscribers in the house or on the Wall? Before you answer that proudly, check the latest cover story:

Bishop Eddie Long at the center of the scandal that rocked the church world.

According to the story I read in CNN’s Belief Blog, many subscribers were feeling like throwing this publication into the fiery furnace upon seeing – and reading – this article.

Some Gospel Today readers thought the magazine was downplaying  Long’s allegations, and others thought they shouldn’t have featured him at all. The biggest problem readers had was Long’s relationship with “Gospel Today” – he’s the chair of the magazine’s board.

Listen, I realize this phrase may not be in the Bible, but I believe the publication’s CEO “Dr.” Teresa Hairston needs to hear it anyway: “Conflict of interest.”

I’m sure that may have come up in journalism class. If not, then perhaps, “PAYOLA!”

How about that one?

Evidently, it didn’t and Ms. Hairston is popping her neck about this ballyhoo:

Hairston told readers that her magazine did not explore the legalities of the Long scandal, and chose instead to present a “biblical perspective.” Yeah, that’s quaint, namely when you pen this blast from your ivory towers:

Whether Bishop Long is guilty or not; whether the young men are guilty or not, the BODY OF CHRIST must handle this situation according to the Word of God! The mainstream press has painted a hideous picture; some have even called for Bishop Long’s resignation! They’re not even members!!

Sorry. I’ll save that memo for the police and the lawyers of the alleged victims who are seeking justice on their behalf. Because if Long did half of what they accuse him of doing, a resignation is going to be the last thing they ask handed to them on a silver platter.

Write that. Pen that. Quote that.

Mess like this in the hallowed pulpits across America needs to cease immediately. We should demand more of our leaders and not become inundated with a feeling of “Yes man” and “People pleaser.” Our job is to worship the Lord and respect the elders of the Church… not the other way around.

Of course, the light’s on but no one is home unless this is “handled according to the Word of God.” I’m no Bishop, but here we go:

It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit. (Hebrews 2:1-4 MSG)

Yes, indeed. A MEMO to Eddie Long and Teresa Hairston: “Get a grip!” Don’t look at me. It’s in the Word of God.

Michael Brea killing his mother in the name of God? No way.

Yannick Brea, 55, who was slashed to death by son, is taken from her Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, home. (Source: NY Daily News)

Back to the “Making us all look bad” department: Have you heard about this terrible story involving a disgruntled actor from “Ugly Betty”?

[Actor Michael Brea of ‘Ugly Betty‘ fame] Convinced his church-going mom was possessed by Satan, a Scripture-spouting killer hacked her to death with a 3-foot sword as she knelt in their apartment, police sources said.

It sounds like a B-horror-flick, but this is all true. I have been to church half my life and I have never felt the urge to evangelize so hard that I want to explore what a knife does for salvation. Much less a Masonic sword. And on my mother.

I mean, this story just gets more and more depressing.

Yannick Brea, 55, was found kneeling – as if offering a final prayer – after she was butchered during her son’s demented diatribe about repentance, police said. “Sinner! Sinner!” howled Michael Brea.” Neighbors and police sources said. “You never accepted Jesus!”

What made this possessed, demented dude think killing her would make a difference is beyond me.

Saints, we need to pray that anyone and everyone who claim they know God come to experience the love of Christ! If they did, the Church would become more open, Christians – or “Christians” – would seem more tangible and Jesus would be discussed in terms of splendor and wonder, instead of bitterness and angst.

This story is tragic, but in tragedy, there is truth. Enter Brea’s uncle:

“Something happened that made him do it,” Brea’s uncle told the New York Daily News. “The devil entered him.”

Enough said. The enemy is real, folks. Let’s spread that word and perhaps we can become more vigilant about prayer.

Something happier coming tomorrow. Promise.

You would think if Abraham came down from Mount Sinai fresh from a conversation with God these days, the chat would have been a skosh different, no?

Perhaps, the angel of the Lord would have mentioned the kerfuffle on MySpace, the mysteries of big-name religious figures refusing to follow like-minded folk on Twitter, the dangers of texting while driving and for the love of God (well, himself), why is Bristol Palin still on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Why people really join churchMost likely the first modern Commandment would have something to do with privacy rights on Facebook.

Well, meet Rev. Cedric Miller of New Jersey – a pastor who believes the forbidden fruit had a QWERTY keyboard and came with status updates.

A New Jersey pastor [of Living Word Christian Fellowship] is giving his married church leaders an ultimatum: delete Facebook or resign

…“One or the other spouse is on Facebook and reconnects with an old flame,” Miller said. “It’s even gone to the point where there have been inappropriate reconnections.”

It’s interesting what the leering media finds newsworthy. Somehow, someone heard about these conditions and decided to make this “a mountaintop experience.” And this thing has come across the globe like the buzz about a certain burning bush.

So, here’s the question: Is he right?

Yes, there are many people in this world that use Facebook to reconnect with folk from back in the day or to keep in touch with people today. However, for all those who like to corral contacts for their personal ego storehouse, there are many, many more that use this web portal for hook ups with those flames that have never been put out.

Answer: Yes.

Because as we have seen with serving the Kingdom, you have to err on the side of extreme caution because if you don’t, there is certain to be a snare with your name all over it.

Ask any megachurch pastor that have been in headlines lately. Sex, philandering, getting frisky… and why? Because they have power and they can.

This pastor doesn’t have the recognition, at least he didn’t at the time of the ultimatum, but he wanted his staff to serve the Lord wholeheartedly nonetheless. If you think Pastor Miller doesn’t have to go far for proof, you’re right:

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or been faced with evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites in divorce cases over the last five years.

About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. And a do-it-yourself divorce site in the United Kingdom, Divorce-Online, reported late last year that the word “Facebook” was appearing in about one in five of the petitions it was handling.

Again, this site was made for online booty calls and many people, including My Fair Lady, use Facebook to speak with family across the country who are too lazy to write an e-mail and too distant to pick up a phone.

If I was in that ilk working at Living Word, I would be both offended and armed with a myriad of examples to tell this pastor what is up. However, if I was a person who hid my Facebook account from my spouse, sent clandestine status reports and was looking for that one sheep that got away, then good on the pastor for bringing this up.

Then again, it’s not guns that kill people… people kill people, right? So, it’s not Facebook that’s killing marriages… shady fools who should have never been engaged kill marriage. They just use Facebook quite a bit to do it.

An age-old question among Christ followers revolves around… the lottery.

I know, don’t you feel dirty reading that? And why? Because while you have been told gambling is a sin, you’re all ridden with angst that you can’t get some of that money.

No worries. I hate lotto players too.Vehemently.

In Mexico, visit this house of the... drug Lord?

This story from the USA Today creates a different conundrum: If a drug kingpin builds a church, will God inhabit the praises of those people?

“We know that the narcos … look for a way to redeem themselves in religious terms, by doing some good work. Obviously, sins cannot be washed away by a donation or a collection,” said the Rev. Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, the country’s largest.

This is a legitimate house of worship in the village of Tezontle. A place for Mexicans to glorify the Lord. You think they know how this modern church was built?

Well, the story continues to tell us that on a wall of the nouveau riche chapel, a plaque says it was donated by the leader of the violent Zetas cartel.

“Donated by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, Lord, hear my prayer,” reads the bronze-colored marker, which says the chapel was built in honor of Pope John Paul II. Lazcano, who is wanted in both Mexico and the U.S., has more than $7 million in reward money on his head.

I’m sure there are some who believe this was Lazcano’s (or Lazcano Lazcano’s) mea culpa. Others may say this was his opportunity to show goodwill to the country that wants him incarcerated… or worse.

Either way, how would you feel worshiping in this house? Better yet, going to confession?

You know, you’re sitting there reading the hymnal and these beautiful red and blue swirling lights are seen outside during mass. The priest breaks out an AK-47 from under his robe. And the altar boys dawn bandannas while shouting with clinched fists to the congregation.

Sounds like a quaint Sunday to me. Sweet. Only one thing, with the holidays looming, stay away from the mules in the Nativity scene. I’m sure they’re not what you think they are.

It’s been said, “There aren’t words large enough to describe Jesus.” Well, let’s make that real estate as well.

While Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, we have known our Savior also has a summer cottage in Rio de Janeiro. There he stands, high atop a mountain in a tropical climate becoming the centerpiece of postcards everywhere.

Giant Jesus in Poland

Jesus. Truly Above All Else!

Now, with real estate prices tanking, the time is ripe for the Lord to secure a winter home as well. And he found some prime real estate according to this story in USA Today.

Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, the 78-year-old priest who created the statue said it rises 108 feet, or 33 meters — one meter for every year that Jesus lived. Other members of the construction team, however, gave differing figures. One said it rises 167 feet if you include a mound it sits on and the crown on the head. By comparison, the statue in Brazil’s Rio is 125 feet tall.

There’s some creative license, which is nice. Chiefly, Giant Jesus has a gold King’s crown fitting for a risen Savior versus the Crown of Thorns noted in every Catholic church across… well, Poland.

Apparently, the locals think Jesus making a home will be good for the local economy too:

They believe it will put their town of 22,000 on the map for tourists and Roman Catholic pilgrims and bring in needed money to renovate the historic buildings in the tiny town center.

“I am extremely proud,” said Danuta Gordzelewska, a 60-year-old who watched as the statue’s head was lowered into place.

Gordzelewska has donated money to the statue, which was funded by contributions from as far away as Canada. “It’s special to watch something being built that later generations will have.”

Yeah! Stimulate that, Congress. What! (Not a direct quote from the statue. Just sayin’.)

So, there he is.

In the humble Polish town of Swiebodzin stands the only begotten Son of God with arms open wide and becoming the bane of existence for all planes as the Lord refuses to leave the flight path for anyone.

Yes, Ghost Rider, the pattern is so righteous and full.