Monday, August 09, 2004

truth and lies from the pulpit

It has been a most remarkable 24 hour period. The time now is 11:35 on Monday August 9th. Just 24 hours ago I was preaching during the second of three services at my church. I attend Jesus Metropolitan Community Church and yesterday i presented my first sermon for this congregation. I have rightly divided Gods word before, but this was the first time at the gay and lesbian church. My sermon topic was, "lose the weight, drop the pounds". It dealt with the subject of dealing with all of the anxiety and stress that comes along with being black and gay. The only problem was that besides a contingent of my staunchest supporters, black gay Indianapolis wasn't there. Nevertheless, my pastor said I did an excellent job and quite a few of my fellow church members said that they loved Gods message and thanked me for bringing it to them.

Truly by the end of the evening i was exhausted. So much so that my brain felt like a big jellyfish. I found myself questioning what had just happened. Was i effective? Did those people that came to the church specifically to support me get what they came for? Did they leave unfullfilled and wanting more? Did I give what God wanted me to give? The questions swirled around my head. The leader of the local black mens AIDS awareness program Brothers United came to the morning service and a local celebrity friend of mine came to the evening service. My best friend was there with his partner and the Indiana Soul Sistahs even showed up in a strong show of support. My mother and her fiancee drove all the way in form Chicago to hear me preach. I am so blessed in that regard, but still I wonder? Am I doing what God would have me to do? Would I even be able to do this if God hadn't ordained my steps? I could have said so much more.........

my text was taken out of I Samuel 1: 1-20. We learned about Hannah the barren wife of Elkanah. She was saddled with weight, issues, problems, sorrow, and grief. She took her problems to the Lord and her coutencance was no more sad.

Now today a friend of mine brought me a copy of a sermon by T. Garrott Benjamin. He is the pastor of Light of The World Christian Church here in Indianapolis. His sermon topic was gays and God. Sorry, God and Gays. He delivered this message on July 25th, 2004. His text was taken from Romans 1: 22-28. His whole message was based on how homosexuality is an abomination to God and it goes directly against natures design. Obviously his message of hate and seperatism was shrouded in God loves the sinner, but hates the sin rhetoric. We want to bless our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters not bash them. All the while he was perpetuating stereotypes of effiminate males and masculine females. He even touched on the new hot topic, "men on the downlow". He stated that these men who profess to be heterosexual were actually homosexuals in disguise. His whole verbiage and dialogue reeked of homophobia and exclusion. He went so far as to say that if men were good fathers they would scold there young boys when they saw them with limp wrists and correct them when they saw them switching like girls when they walked. It is as if he was suggeting that homosexuality can be cured by fahters who correct and chastise thier sons. he is creating closets for gays and lesbians to hide in. He is slpaaping us in our collective faces over and over again. I am in great pain today and I dont know what to do with this feeling.

I have decided some time ago that God has purposed me for a ministry aimed at confronting the hate filled rhetoric that spew so fluidly from the pulpits of the black church. Sometimes, like right now, I feel powerless to defend myself or my brothers and sisters, against these tirades that sound more and more like the witch hunts of Salem and the McCarthy hunts for communists of the 40's and 50's.

I completely respect the rights of the church to establish and teach its own doctrine. However, two things are at stake here. One is the mental, psychological, and spiritual well being of teen gays and lesbians as well as closeted gays and lesbians who are forced, for any myriad of reasons, to sit in the church and listen to that garbage. I should know about this, I sat in many of those very types of churches for years. We sit there and we act as if we didn't hear it or the preacher must be talking about other people. Then we go home and we are forced to deal with guilt and self hate. Then we proceed to quietly shut our closet doors and our self esteem sinks lower and lower and lower. So low that we dont care about objectifying our bodies and engaging in promiscuous behaivor. We can't endure long term relationships becuase this Love we feel is a forbidden LOve and it is not worthy of committing to and being serious about. The church has convinced the African American gay and lesbian community that we are dirty filthy freaks who are interested in quenching our carnal lusts and that is all that we amount to. That is the first shame and horrible atrocity of this type of preaching. The second is that these black pastors wield a lot of political clout. The two reigning political parties know all too well how to generate, excite, and mobilize the coveted black vote. The pulpit is a powerful tride and true vote getter. If T Garrot Benjamin and Jeffrey Johnson approach any political candidate and say, "I am a leader and pastor over thousands of registered voters and taxpayers in the state of Indiana and we dont want any legislation that would add inclusive and non-discrimanatory language to the states constitution to be approved in this state and furthermore we are in complete support of any proposed amendments to this states constitution that would maintain the sanctity of marriage in Indiana'' the politicians and lawmakers and judges will listen. That is extremely frightening to me. Jeffrey Johnson and Tom Benjamin pretend to represent me and hundreds of African American gays and lesbians including the ones that actually attend their church. This is a crime and a travesty and it is happening to us, right infornt of our faces, and we cant stop bickering and fighting between ourselves to try and unite and do something about it. I am furious today!!!


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