Thursday, June 4, 2015

Preachers and Reality TV: Ministry or Mess?

First, I watch a few reality shows..... they usually involve some sort of racing contest, fashion competitions or cooking competitions. I really enjoy watching people win something for their efforts. However, there are a few shows that I have watched, very briefly mind you, that have involved the religious community. Most have left a horrible taste in my mouth. It begs to question if it is really a good idea to showcase a preacher's life on television. I am torn between figuring out if airing one's dirty laundry is ministry or a mess. I know that preachers have sins and issues just like everyone else...... hell, I've got my own everyday grown people problems...... contrary kids, health issues, family issues, relationship issues, money issues, car issues. etc....... you get the point, However, is going on television with all of my issues going to hurt or help someone that wants to know God for themselves?

Case in point....... A well known bishop got into an argument with another preacher about his speaking fees..... the question, to paraphrase, was "Will you preach at a church knowing that they couldn't afford what you're asking for?" the answer, to paraphrase "I always ask what they have for the man of God because I have a full staff traveling with me and they would have to be able to afford them too!" SERIOUSLY????? Let's file this one under HURT....Let's move on.......

Case #2....... A well known Gospel singer/Evangelist expressed her disapproval of women being pastors because in her own words, "Men make better leaders." FOR REAL??? That hit me in the gut as a woman and as a pastor. I have enjoyed this woman's music since I was a child and I felt betrayed by her admonition of women pastors...... 2 for HURT and 0 for HELP.

Case #3....... A healthy conversation of love and sex between a pastor and his wife....... this, I concluded was a help. It showed that a  HEALTHY love and sex between preachers and their spouses does exist.... I mean really people, you can't have pk's without doing the do...... 1 for HELP.

These are just a few of the examples and so far the HURT side is winning...... You know what I would like to see? I would like them to show the true reality of a preacher's life..... the intense study, the church planning and budgeting, the early morning and late night emergencies of their congregations, the strategic planning of how to get their car fixed on a low salary, the being the secretary and janitor because their church can't afford either one, the visits to the nursing homes and hospitals....... and I could go on and on. What I would like to see is more ministry and less mess.

However, mess sells......... ministry doesn't........ there's a new reality show highlighting women preachers........ judging by the trailers, that's going to be a mess too.......

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Friend or Foe: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

For lack of anything better to watch on cable, I happened upon a show on MTV named, "Catfish, The TV Show." Here's a brief overview of the show according to Wikipedia: 
On the internet, a "catfish" is a person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites—pretending to be someone more outwardly appealing than his/her true self, by using someone else's pictures and false biographical information. These "catfish" usually intend to trick an unsuspecting person or persons into falling in love with them. The term "catfish" is derived from the title of a 2010 documentary film, in which filmmaker Nev Schulman discovers that the 20-something woman he'd been carrying on an online relationship with had not been honest in describing herself.
So I watched the show and was amazed at how many people are easily fooled by a beautiful/handsome picture and lies. I decided that this blog is not so much about romantic relationships, but how we find "Friends and/or Foes" on social media.
I am an avid Facebook writer and I have 900+ Facebook friends since I joined in 2008. Six years of pictures, thoughts, frustrations and most importantly sharing with a lot of people. I have met many wonderful people and I have met people that were not so wonderful. Last I looked, I have 25 people on my "blocked" list because of either not so friendly exchanges or stalking. For the most part, I enjoy meeting new people and connecting with old friends. I also don't have to wait forever to view pictures of my children and grandchildren or other friends' pictures. I love reading the inspirations, meditations and Bible verses from various people and ministers. I have been honored to receive encouragement and friendship from people that live half way across the country and world! I have run across old friends from high school and family that I normally would not see often. Social Media, when used responsibly can be a great experience.
However, I have come across those people who come as a friend, but end up a foe. They challenge my religious views, argue, cuss, stalk and harass. Those people invade your wall with nonsense and you are wondering, "How did I become this person's 'friend' to begin with?" What can you do? All I can suggest is to hit the "Block" prompt and be more mindful of whose friend request you accept and the request that you send out. Google a friend request and see what you find.
I am still a champion of face to face interpersonal relationships, but the world has changed. I have changed with it. I have 900+ "friends" and they will remain "friends" as long as we can get along. This blog was inspired by a "friend" whose conversation has been nothing but stellar, polite and honest.
Social media is good when used responsibly. Don't expect the intangible from it. Have fun, but be respectful. Learn the difference between, "Friend or Foe."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?
This question has been a divisive issue for as many years as Christianity has been around.  Many denominations forbid any consumption of alcohol at all and you can be kicked out in some churches.  What about the alcohol that is found in some cough medicines?  Is it wrong for Christians to drink this too?  Some churches have even divided over this issue.  It is a stumbling block for some believers while for others they see no problem at all with having a beer once in a while or a glass of wine at dinner.

I write this article because of something that I posted on my Facebook timeline which read:

Really, it was funny and I could relate. I am not a drinker per se, but I do like a glass of red wine or two with dinner on occasion. Am I drunk after drinking those two glasses of wine? No. Do I drink everyday? Heck, I don't drink every week much less every day. A whole bottle of wine will sit around my house for months. I am not even what you would call a "social" drinker. So because of the conversation on my timeline. I started to delve into what the scriptures really said. Here it goes:
In the Old Testament and the New Testament there are many scriptures about alcohol and I could not find even one Scripture that strictly prohibits the drinking of alcohol.  Even strong drink is mentioned but this may refer to something that is more fermented than wine, much like that of hard liquor. No where in the scriptures did it say, "Thou shall not drink at all."

Can A Christian Drink AlcoholDo Not Be Drunk

The Bible is clear that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  First Corinthians 6:9-10 says, ".............. nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.”  Romans 13:13 has another warning about drunkenness: Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.”

The problem of drinking alcohol is not the alcohol itself because Paul tells Timothy to Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses (1 Tim 5:23).  I think that this part needs to be repeated in bold lettering. The problem of drinking alcohol is not the alcohol itself. It is the person USING the alcohol! Surely if alcohol was a sin, Paul would not have recommended it to Timothy who was a pastor. There is some medical evidence that a little wine is helpful, not only to the stomach, but for the body in general, however anything in excess is nothing but trouble. Solomon wrote, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise (Pro 20:10).  Here, Solomon mentions strong drink being a “brawler” and I have heard too many experiences where there are fights in bars and clubs due to excessive alcohol consumption.  The same would apply to having too much wine or beer.

Alcohol lead to a judgment in error even for Noah: And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.  Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.  But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness (Gen 9:20-23).  

Solomon seems to speak from experience where he wrote, Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?  Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things (Pro 23:29-33).  Some of these verses show that too much alcohol will make us utter things perverse (unseemly things for a Christian to say) and see strange things (blurred vision or the proverbial pink elephant).

Drink But Not to Drunkenness

We have already read that strong drink or wine in excessive amounts is sin and leads to poor decisions and sometimes to immorality, but this does not mean that God forbids wine and strong drink altogether.  During the Feast of Tabernacles, God told Israel that they could, exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.  Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice (Duet 14:24-26).  This does not mean that they can get drunk but alcohol in moderation is permissible, just as Paul told Timothy to drink “a little wine” (note that Paul said a little) for his stomach (1 Tim 5:23).

Solomon wrote that God provided blessings for His people writing, He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts (Psalm 104:14-14).   He also wroteGo, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do (Eccl 9:7).

No Stumbling Blocks

I do not believe that Paul was against drinking wine because he recommends to Timothy to drink some for medicinal purposes but we know that he called drunkenness sin.   For those who have had problems with alcohol or are alcoholics, we should not drink in their presence because we can put a stumbling block of offense before them (2 Cor 6:3).  Other Christians who do not believe in drinking alcohol should be given the same respect for their abstinence.  Paul wrote about creating a stumbling block before those whose conscience does not allow them to eat meat sacrificed to idols but the same principle can certainly be applied to drinking alcohol.  Paul wrote, Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall (I Cor 8:9-13).

In essence, alcohol is not the problem, people are the problem. Food is never the problem, people are the problem. Drugs are not the problem, people are the problem. I respect those who are recovering alcoholics because they realized that alcohol was their stumbling block. However, judgement should not be placed on those people who use alcohol in moderation. I don't think that I will give up a good Merlot when I want a glass or two. I know that two (2) glasses is my limit. I am responsible in that manner. 

God's Word gives both sides to drinking. For those of you that can't handle it, don't drink. For those of you who can do it, but only in moderation. Drinking is not a sin.....Being a drunk is.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Time Out of the Gate

You have received your first pastoral assignment in the AME Church and you feel wonderful, recognized and eager to implement all of the ideas and plans that you just know will help your church grow and be prosperous. I know the feeling, as this was my first year as a pastor. However, I would like to offer some tips to first time pastors. I found that by sticking to these simple tips, it helped me and the church that I pastor have a successful year, both spiritually and financially.  Here we go:

1.      Whatever you do, keep God first. Everything that you do will fail if God is not in it. It is all about God and never about you.
2.      Have a mission statement and vision for the church. Without a vision the people will perish and without a mission the people don’t know where they are going or what they are working towards.
3.      Do not change officers for a year. You cannot change what you don’t know. Take the year to observe your officers and if there are changes to be made and your bishop assigns you to go back, then you can make your changes.
4.      Be transparent. This is one of the most important rules to go by. Everything that your bishop or presiding elder sends you, make a copy and take it to your Official Board meeting. Also, be transparent about the finances of the church. A monthly financial report for the congregation is a must.
5.      Evangelism is a must. You must become a part of the community in which you pastor. If you are trying to increase your membership, you must get out and be seen and heard.
6.      Be a leader, but not a dictator. Check your ego at the door.
7.      Do not be ashamed to call out for help and mentoring. If you don’t know, then ask! That is what your presiding elder and colleagues are for.
8.      Do not procrastinate about raising your budget.
9.      Do not rush the people into making radical changes. Slow and steady wins the race.
10.  And finally, preach the Word! Feed God’s flock with substance and not junk. Not only will your members grow spiritually, but the church will grow in numbers. By growing spiritually, they will pass the Word to those who are looking to join the body of Christ.

Ministry is not easy, but with God and a plan we know that, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. Enjoy the ministry, but most of all RESPECT the ministry. Watch for Part 2 soon.................

Monday, January 28, 2013

You've Got To Be Kidding Me God!

Since I have been a pastor, I have been very diligent about getting my studying done for a sermon. I write them out and I make sure that all editing and final things are done by Friday.  In the seven years that I have been preaching, I have quite a little library of sermons that I have written............

For the past three weeks, I have not been preaching the sermons that I have typed up neatly in bold print (I need new glasses), Times Roman font, 14 size lettering (because I need new glasses) and 1 1/2 inch margins. No I haven't.  For the past three weeks, God has CHANGED my sermons all together.  The first time He did it, I just thought it was because the Spirit was so high. I was at a revival when this happened so I was quite excited when this happened.  Side Note: I have always admired preachers that can preach from the Bible with no notes and STILL make sense.  Now, the following day at my own service, God DID it again!  I was in my hotel room going over my manuscript and all of a sudden my manuscript looked liked it was written in Chinese!!!  Still, I took my sermon with me to church, INTENT to preach the Word that I had written, oh but when God steps in.......Well Jesus!  It happened again yesterday while I was sitting in my seat in the pulpit.  This time I actually said, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME GOD!"  I was a little perturbed, yes I was, but I was obedient and I preached that Word!

I have come to the conclusion that God needed not only to get the people's attention, but mine as well.....Sometimes, God needs for a preacher to know that HE is the one that makes your ministry happen and NOT YOU and I.  Preachers must realize this importance of submitting fully to the will of God, of "giving" ourselves away so that God can fully use you.  Only when we do this will the full realization of God's plan for your ministry will bless you and your church.  We are only servants to do the ministry of God.  Let me repeat that, we are ONLY SERVANTS to do the ministry of God.

My Father told me to preach His Word His way and all I can say to that is, "Not my will Lord, but Thy will be done!" 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy!

OMG!!!! I did not know that I could be so busy that I have neglected this blog! You want to know what I have been doing? I have been busy pastoring a church, working my secular job, working hard to lose weight, writing sermons, being WIM (Women in Ministry) secretary, Official Board meetings, First Quarterly meeting, Christmas, raising money, preaching the Word, planning programs, singing, taking care of the grandbandit on some weekends, preparing to move to the town where my church is, spending time with my crazy children and the list goes on and on!  Soemtimes, I feel like the clown in the circus with the juggling act. 

With all of that said, I have learned the importance of rest.  I have to make myself rest, I really do.  Sometimes, I don't have sense enough to know that when my big toe refuses to move that it is time for me to shut it down. I was on the phone with a friend of mine and I swear that I was talking, ok, I wasn't talking but I thought I was. Anyway, the next thing I knew, she was screaming my name and I woke up saying, "I know that's right girl!"  Now, ask me what the sister said....I really couldn't tell you what the child said. Needless to say, she laughed and told me to take my behind to bed.

Rest is important for any preacher, especially a bi-vocational preacher.  You can't take care of your congrgants properly if you are not taking care of yourself physically.  Let me offer some suggestions on relaxation:
  • Take a day off from EVERYTHING!  Trust me, it will all be there waiting on you.
  • Find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts.  I have found that the gym is my sancutary.  I can put my headphones on and concentrate on me without any interferance while I workout.
  • Slow down and breathe!  Everything does not have to be ASAP.
  • You do not have to be Superwoman/man.....Assign someone else to help you with a program.  That's what your boards are for.
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour.....Far too many preachers are burning the midnight oil on Saturday nights trying to write a sermon.  My formula for writing a sermon is: Monday-off, Tuesday-Prayer and look at lectionary or go to where God led me to, Wednesday-more study and start writing, Thursday-finish writing, Friday-re-read, edit and finish.  This works quite well for me and I can get to bed on time on Saturday night.
  • Make a monthly calendar of Communion visits and Sick and Shut-In visits.
  • Schedule a day for something fun for you or, if you have a family, to do.
  • Eat healthy.  A healthy body functions better. Your mind is sharper and you will have more stamina.  Sugary snacks will give you an initial rush, but you will come crashing hard.  Drink plenty of water and follow the food pyramid below: 
Finally, pray and pray!  Even when you are tired, just pray!  Ask God to give you strength and stamina for this journey. But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
Just remember, RELAX, RELATE AND RELEASE........Blessings!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Clergy Shirts for Women Are of Satan!

Bless my mom's heart, she bought me a clergy shirt recently.  I already have one in black and so she felt that I needed a white one.  I was quite excited to receive this impromptu gift because, first, it was from my mom and secondly, I needed another clergy shirt.  However, I am CONVINCED that women's clericals are of SATAN!  They never fit right, they are too doggone hot and just plain unfashionable and uncomfortable!  I am convinced that satan gave some man the idea of creating these hideous garments just like the underwire bra.  Only a man would put wires and plastic in a garment that women have to wear.  If you haven't guessed by now, I am disappointed by the selections that we women clergy have in the way of clericals.

My journey into the clericals land has not been a joyous one.  It is oftentimes frustrating and hopeless.  I try not to wear clericals if at all possible.  However, there are times when I have to put on that torturous garment  that does absolutely nothing for my fashion sense and comfort.  It is an inhumane piece of clothing and I am sure that many of my female colleagues have had the same experience as I.

But wait!!!! Help is on the way my sisters if you are willing to spend a few extra dollars.  I figure that if I spend $54 for one ill-fitting shirt now that I can put another $25-$100 with that $54 to get me a shirt that fits well and looks good.  Here are some companies that I have found.

Stitches of Ayr A company out of Canada that:   Stitches of Ayr aims to "Redesign the Uniform" by bringing modern styling, comfort, and eco-sensitive fabrics to clerical clothing and vestments. The unique styling of our clerical shirts allows for the clergy person to be stylish, comfortable, and approachable, while still maintaining the significance of the clergy collar.   
red womens clergy shirt short womens clergy shirt short sleeve.  These shirts cost $90 each.

Spiritual Apparel ( This company specializes in the custom "Janie" of sorts. The Women's Clerical Bodice is made of a fine, lightweight, pre-washed suiting material that is a Cotton/Polyester/Lycra blend. The fabric moves and breathes comfortably with the body for optimal comfort and wearability.  It comes as a full band collar or as a tab collar.  This item was featured in TLC's, "What Not to Wear" when they featured a woman Episcopalian priest for a make-over.  It is $90.
Casual Priest ( This company is out of Sweden..Lordy, I am going to save to get one of these shirts!
 EVA slim sleeve thunder blue $149 EVA black and they come in a variety of colors!  

Finally, shirts that fit! I am ordering a few of these today and I bind my other shirts in the name of Jesus and toss them back into the pits of hell!