Posts Tagged ‘public relations’

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.

This is a story with the happiest ending of all.

Once upon a time there was a man named Jesus who came to this jacked-up place to sacrifice his life for mankind.

You see, his Daddy determined a perfect sacrifice is what was necessary to redeem the lives of the rest of us. So, there he was. Resting on the cross, burdened with the sins of every nasty person on earth, asked by the masses, “How much do you love us?”

And he opened his arms t…h…i…s much… and he died.

It was a gift to all of us, but like with any coupon, you have to redeem it in order to reap the rewards. You know, that implies a choice. As in, a choice all of us have to make in order to experience what happened those more than 2,000 years ago.

Fast forward to today and we meet a boy named Barack who completely lied through his grape Kool-Aid stained lips and pearly whites to every child of God he met in order to win their vote. He told them he would go to church for a vote. And that he would talk about Jesus for a vote.

But… not so much. Just ask him, like this chic did.

Seriously. Anyone catch that dazzling epiphany?

I am a Christian by choice,” Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian. “I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead,” Obama said.

“Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings.”

Man, that’s deep. He may be calling on Jesus, but I call B.S.

Doesn’t he understand this didn’t fool a soul?! He is a Christian… wait for it… by choice. Oh. Oh. Wait. One other thing. He is also subject to… wait for it… by the forces of gravity.

Yes, sports fans. As much as Barack Obama is compared to the Messiah, he really can’t walk on water, doesn’t encounter stigmata or get offended when folk cuss using his name. Yet when confronted by a mild-mannered victims of his romancing swoons of deceit regarding his faith, he issues two half-baked verses and connected them to some universal thought that would make Carlton Pearson shout for joy.

“This is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists” and others, he said, adding that “their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own, and that is part of what makes this country what it is.

Country? Yes. Kingdom of God… you know, heaven? No way.

Someone needs to get a memo to our betrothed president and let him know that Jesus Christ is not a politician. In fact, he could care less. So while Barack Obama is wailing on and on about how folk in this country are singing Kumbaya, he still isn’t any closer to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ unless he stops farting around and gets real.

Choose that… then you’re a Christian. And not one second sooner. That’s no story, Mr. President. That’s real life. Brother.

I’m under attack.

This was the summation of Bishop Eddie Long’s long-awaited and legally approved response from the much ballyhooed pulpit of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. As if the swolled Bishop had a kingdom resting atop Stone Mountain in Georgia, he gives yet another aged rally cry used from scandalous preachers in the past.

It’s the most ragged page out of their ruddy playbook. You see, it’s not the sin they committed; it’s the fiendish acts Satan has committed against them.

At least, that’s what they want you to believe because why else would the media, the lawsuits and the cries of a rather perturbed country come against the “Mand of Gawd?” See for yourself:

From the Washington Post story referred earlier:

“Please hear this: I have been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know that I am not a perfect man, but this thing I’m gon’ fight,” said Long, who also preached a short sermon on surviving painful times. “I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet,” the bishop said to roaring applause as he dropped his microphone on the pulpit with a thud, took his wife Vanessa’s hand and left the stage.

The story forgot to mention the rose petals thrown at his feet, the serfdom bowing at his presence and the trumpets saluting his retreat in the sunset as well.

Leave the pomp and circumstance aside, it doesn’t take away the fact that this is yet another alleged and shamed preacher who used the power of God given to him for the service of the Lord’s kingdom to use for his own megalomaniacal purposes.

There is another serious problem:

Long never directly said he is innocent, but he made clear that he would not leave New Birth, and church leaders vowed to stick by him. “We stand behind our pastor. And there is a period behind that,” church elder Darius Wise said.

We are but sheep, right? And sheep are known for one other thing, besides providing some sweet sweaters… they love the taste of Kool-Aid. Regardless of the flavor, it all tastes the same. Whatever the Mand of Gawd says it tastes like, that’s the winner.

Eddie Long vows to fight the drama

Bishop Eddie Long, left, embraces a friend Sunday at his Georgia megachurch. 'I am not a perfect man. But this thing I'm going to fight," he said.

The man never avowed his innocence and allegiance for the Lord, only that he will fight for his own kingdom. Doesn’t he realize there is more at stake than the precious TV rights provided him by TBN and Daystar?

He has a family, a congregation, a gaggle of supporters… and oh yeah, the lives of four young men who believe Bishop Eddie Long used his authority in the Gospel to rape them.

That leaves quite the scar on one’s spiritual upbringing, you know. And there’s the tragedy with the megachurch these days.

They are not led by God, just for him.

Man, full of ruddy clay, riddled with angst and heaping with drama run these edifices… and are surrounded by a heaping troupe of Yes men.

Who will tell these dolts, “No.” If they value their job, not a soul. And whose to say what God is saying to these egomaniacs. Not all leaders of huge churches have this personality, but we have seen many that do… and they all follow the same playbook when confronted with scandal.

What’s the harm in taking a sabbatical to properly deal with this mess? Go away, get better and get beyond this drama. Think that will happen… uh, no.

And why? There is no competition for his throne. He has a legion of lawyers to protect him if there is an overtaker among the peons. And you waited a week to deliver your “David and Goliath” speech (of which the lawyers have used in statements as well).

Shoot, I was expecting “Unleash hell” sans the Maximus brutality. “Taking  authority” is his fabled tagline after all. Although I think the dude just needs to take a much needed vacation.

Yet, there he goes, off in his Bentley and a sack of five stones at his leisure. Hope you and your legal team have good aim, Bishop Long. Because if you miss, there are more than 25,000 people who will fall with you.

NEWS FLASH: His statement cometh.

“Categorically Deny.” Two words in issued while submerged in hot water scream another two words louder in the human vernacular than any other, “I’m guilty.”

Of course, that’s what Bishop Eddie Long‘s lawyers had to say late yesterday as he posted a well-crafted and certainly sincere statement to his website.

All I ask is for your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges.

Eddie Long sans cleric outfit

Maybe it's a P90X before and after shot?

Well, that’s reassuring. Granted, this media feeding frenzy of him boinking armor bearers (my assumption on the armor bearers can be read here) and sending pictures of the Bishop all swolled in spandex (more on that in a moment) has the Christian nation in quite a kerfuffle. One famed and scarred preacher in particular (again, keep reading for that gem).

However, as a pastor, I suppose Bishop Long is only used to showing out on Sundays, so he will wait until then to visibly “categorically deny” these heinous charges:

I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations and I will do so. However, my lawyers have counseled patience at this time.

Again, that’s nice. I mean, if I was a member of his church, I would certainly feel fine about him waiting almost a full week to tell me he’s not guilty.

Before we throttle that crisis communications strategy, let’s review. Better yet, let’s allow ABC News to do that:

I’ve been around the Church for years. Decades even. And nowhere in my experience with consulting pastors do I see a passage of scripture that suggests rocking the UnderArmour to impress your sheep. Does that help them graze more effectively? Do you get more well-shewn Kashmir sweaters if the flock is exposed to the “gun show”?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Back to the statement.

Bishop Eddie Long is hemorrhaging over this alleged incident, and yet, he allows his attorneys to make public statements for him… and that’s supposed to make it all right?!

It’s bad enough he doesn’t care enough to immediately respond to this mess, he is having a gaggle of white folk talk noise to his highly not-so-white congregation. Yeah, that’ll do it. You dolt.

It is completely obvious why he “feels the Lord” telling him to wait until the Sabbath to respond? In all his years of impromptu preaching, even the verbose Eddie Long will need a ghostwriter for this message. It will caked with legalese and PR speak… you know, like any good Congressional representative busted for the same thing. (What? Too soon?)

There will nothing genuine about this retort because it didn’t come from him. The only that clearly did come from the Bishop are those pictures and the aggressive needs delivered by now four men.

However, he pleads for mercy and understanding… and patience… has earned Eddie Long one fan: Meet Ted Haggard.

The man who hand-led his family through a harangue of male prostitution, drugs and oh yeah, “categorically denying” it every step of the way has decided that what Eddie Long needs is his valuable endorsement:

Good times, Bishop Long. Good times. The more things change, the more they stay the same, no? But hey, we still have this:

Finally, as I have done for thousands of others over my decades of preaching, I ask for your prayers for me, my family and our church. On Sunday, at New Birth, I will respond to my congregation.

And the world brother. Because believe me, we will all be listening. You know, just the way your lawyers planned it.

It was only a matter of time… and that lasted all of a few hours before both Benny Hinn and Paula White denounced the National Enquirer story about those two practicing confidentiality in a confessional and brushing it off as “We just friends.”

Benny Hinn and faith healing

Would be cool if these were outside a Benny Hinn crusade though?

First, let’s take Brother Benny from his website. Wait… I’m sorry? You say he took the response down from his site? Oh, that’s a shame! It’s almost as if he wants us to forget how he dropped the monogrammed Nehru for an open-collared, silk button down freshly exposing his tuft of love and gold chains.

Come on, man! It’s the Internet:

The publication, which is known for its bias against religious figures, misleads readers regarding the ministerial friendship I have had with Paula White for over 20 years… Although I had not seen her for years, she was an encouragement to me and shared helpful advice out of her own painful experience. As a result, I will not deny that the friendship has strengthened, and, while it has remained morally pure at all times, I have enjoyed the company of someone who has also gone through the trauma of a painful and public divorce.

Let’s break this down the preacher-speak for the kids scoring at home:

  1. “The ministerial friendship.” So, let me just tell you that had it not been for TBN, I wouldn’t have dropped two bits of government cheese on her plate. Since she is in my ilk, I’ll let her hang with me.
  2. “While it has remained morally pure at all times.” She’s not my type. I likes my women chubby and really dumb (Exhibit A here). And Paula is nowhere close to being chubby (Exhibit B here).
  3. “The trauma of a painful and public divorce.” Let’s not let the smooth taste fool you, brother. Public, yes. She wanted it that way. Painful, not so much. She dumped Randy’s behind for life coaching. And while he was sick.

And for more from Brother Benny:

And so I am writing to tell you today that I forcefully, categorically, and absolutely renounce the lies that have been spread about me and want to set the record straight with you. There is nothing inappropriate or morally improper about my friendship with Paula White… Paula and I also recognize that being seen in such settings is unwise, and we have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship until such time as my divorce has concluded and only if we feel direction from the Lord to do so.

  1. “Forcefully, categorically and absolutely.” I love it when people put strong superlatives in a written statement, as if the oafs like me who read will put any different tense on the poppycock we are reading. “Oh, he said categorically. I guess I need to grit my teeth.”
  2. “Being seen in such settings is unwise.” You mean, in public, holding hands? Then yes, you’re right. That spirit of discernment is strong.
  3. “We have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship.” Don’t let the scrupulous masses who want more out of their preachers than shady Roman getaways get in your way. You are your own people as you can ‘independently determine’ to do anything. You know, like post statements of apoplexy on the same day, around the same hour. Tell me, do you make a sound when you back up that fast? BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
See Paula White's defintion of marriage

I always tell women, "Till death do us... oh, nevermind!"

Now that we have discussed slapping someone’s weave, Sister Paula, what say you?

The National Enquirer released the misguided and untruthful article, which falsely characterized my friendship with Pastor Benny as being something that is morally and spiritually inappropriate. The article goes on to suggest that we were having an improper intimate relationship, which is categorically false… As someone who also endured a painful and public divorce, I was able to offer him insight and spiritual encouragement.

  1. “My friendship… intimate relationship.” If they ‘falsely characterized’ your friendship, then saying they ‘suggested an intimate relationship’ goes without saying. But hey, thanks for saying it anyway.
  2. “Painful and public divorce”. Hmmm… where have I have ‘independently determined’ that I heard that before?!

Next?

I publicly profess and forcefully renounce assertions that the recent trip to Italy to meet with Vatican officials suggests that the friendship is in any way improper or morally impure. We traveled independently to the region for respective ministry duties and, while there, spent time together along with others. We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates.

  1. “Publicly profess and forcefully renounce.” Seriously? Speak simple. You want to sound smart? How about “Brevity is the soul of wit”? A guy named Shakespeare said that. Just sayin’.
  2. “To meet with Vatican officials.” Um, Benny Hinn? I can believe that. In fact, I have no problem believing that. The dude holds global crusades everywhere! Paula White on the other hand? The lady who has a hard time debating a theologian about real biblical issues goes to the Vatican at the Pope’s behest?! Pat, I’d like to buy a clue please.

Anyone can lie about the Word of God. Anyone. To most who don’t read their Bible faithfully (and regretfully), the Scriptures become subjective. In fact, people have become so detached from the Bible that they live vicariously through faith… and through their pastor.

For them, anyone saying “Touch not mine anointed” will cause people to scurry. However, if you read the second part of that verse, “or cause my prophets any harm.”

Here’s the thing: We – the bloggers and journalists that expect way too much out of those manning a pulpit – are not causing them any harm. Their actions do it. Their mouths do it. Their “independent determinations” do it.

This blog was birthed on the premise of the Church needing to read the “writing on the wall.” And if you want more voices to echo that sentiment, may I introduce you to the “Another Brick in the Wall,” “The Acme Arena” and “WOW News” contributors.

There would not be sentinels screaming in the darkness if there were not shady people doing shady things in the name of God. May the ones full of light shine bright, dear Lord Jesus. And may the ones who are just shady stay in the dark. Too many people are hurting because of clandestine preachers who think they can get away with anything.

Those times need to stop. And if you don’t believe me, ask the cracked crew at the National Enquirer. Believe me, there are more of us than you think. How’s that for categorical weave slapping?