Oh sure I love a great message delivered by a pastor who connects the “word” with the realities of life. In fact, back in early 2005, I lived in a really cool community called Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee alone for 7 months. My yorkie and I (named Yago) spent those months alone in a beautiful home down the street from the former Laker’s big man Jerry West and around the corner from Steve Harvey. I sat by my pool every day, wrote, prayed and became very introspective about life. I live across the street from one of the few PGA golf courses in the country and in June life was chaotic as we shared the course with the corporate headquarters of Federal Express and had to identify ourselves because of the annual tournament.
It was a healing time for me and I would go to a church every Sunday called World Overcomes, sit up in the balcony and listen to the word. I did not want to be involved in the politics of the church, get to know anyone. I just wanted to connect with my Lord and Savior and find my spirit and nourish my soul.
I was on a retreat of my own choosing so to speak because I was disgusted with the games I had seen so many pastors play with their flock. I knew pastors who sat on the local city councils and were engaged in being the third deciding vote to make an ugly or self serving financial deal materialize for a few men. I knew pastors who sucked up to local officials to get their fingers in California’s lucrative redevelopment pie. Most of all I knew pastors who had liaisons with women other than their wives or who made domestic violence victims of their wives. Shamefully other pastors knew about these actions but they held their tongues. I learned to separate my love of God from the character flaws of men who called themselves pastors in big churches, established churches, strip mall churches and worse.
But I listened to the word those 7 months in Memphis because I saw the pastor as simply the vessel God was speaking to me. I did not care about his political views, the indoctrination he worked into some of his sermons or the guest speakers who preached a gospel of PROSPERITY VS. A GOSPEL OF HUMANITY AND LOVE. I EXTRACTED WHAT I NEEDED AND EVERY SUNDAY THERE WAS A KERNEL FOR ME TO PONDER.
I returned to California reluctantly but because I had to. I loved my home in Memphis but I could not afford to keep it and my son was in need of my encouragement to apply to colleges. He needed me more than I needed my continued communication with my Lord and Savior at that point.
I miss that house, that solitude, my dog that died violently in an accident who loved me so dearly as my best friend. But I learned to back away from pastors and preachers who occupy television screens, fly in lear jets, beg for millions for a mansion to live in, or who PIMP THE LORD WITHOUT REMORSE.
THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY PASTOR PIMPS OUT THERE AND FAR TOO MANY OF US HUNGRY TO HAVE A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS REMEMBER, GOD IS LOVE, GOD FEELS RIGHT, GOD DOES NOT TELL ME WHO TO VOTE FOR, GOD DOES NOT NEED A LEAR JET AND MONOGRAMMED CUFF LINKS AND GOD CAN LET LE ME SIT IN A PEW ALL ALONE IN CHURCH, CRY MY EYES OUT, OPEN MY HEART AND SOUL TO HIM AND FEEL RENEWED WITHOUT PUTTING EVEN ONE DOLLAR IN A PLATE.