February 02, 2010

Affirming Words 2/2/10-"Stand Up And Say, 'This Is Who I Am'"

That's the advice Dr. Kenneth Samuel, Pastor of Victory Church in Atlanta, GA offered in this interview:
TN: How would you advise someone who has heard their pastor preach a "bashing sermon" to go to them and voice their concerns?

KS: The people who have the most impact in changing the homophobic culture of the black church are the SGL persons themselves. Those who are secure enough in who they are to stand up to the pastors and say, "this is who I am". That's where it begins. A lot of what is propagated from the pulpit is done so anonymously so they just throw it out there. It's one thing for them to say something and not know exactly whom they're talking to. But for someone to go to him or her and say "What you said hurt me and offended me. I'm an active, tithing member of this church, and I'm here because I believe God moves here. But I want you to know that when you make those statements it's offensive and hurtful, because I'm just as much a child of God as you are". And if you have a pastor that cannot deal with that, then for the life of me, I don't know why they would want to stay. But you then will then have raised some serious issues. The pastors will no longer be shooting blanks, they will know that there are people looking at them how are personally and directly offended by that they have said. That will at least make the pastors think about how what they say affects people. Now there are some who have gone to their pastors and they pastor STILL bashes, and they stay. To me that is self-flagellation. It's a waste of your energy, your money, and your time. You go to church to be inspired and empowered. To be challenged to be better than who you are, not to be dehumanized. What is church about if you cannot learn how to be the best you can be? You can't be the best you are if you deny who you are.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.

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