The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Monday, October 22, 2007

Common Sense?

I had really decided that I wasn't going to write anymore about Juanita Bynum after my earlier posts. Then my cousin sent me a link to Bynum's website and her new "mentorship" classes. My cousin wanted me to hear Prophetess Bynum's poor taste in humor in the form of a disparaging reference to "short bus people."

I left the site playing long enough to be stunned by Bynum's first advice to her mentees. Buy a name-brand pen, but not a Bic. A Bic, she reasoned, is common and you are too important, your name is too important to be written with a common pen. She continued by bragging that she has paid as much as $5000 for a pen that she uses only for special occasions, such as signing multi-million dollar deals.

This, I thought, is what really endangers Black Christianity. Too many of us actually believe that investing in a pen, or in the offering plate of a prophet(ess), or in playing the lottery number drawn from the pastor's sermon text is the key to unlocking our destiny and purpose. We risk our soul(s), sell our soul(s) for so little because our internal accounting systems are out of kilter. We have no idea what real value is.

In this way, there is very little difference between the "prosperity" propounded by media preachers and the bling-mentality of the underbelly of hip-hop. Both exploit the desperation and depression of their constituencies with promises that are addictive and elusive at the same time. Buy my CDs and videos and you can surmount the obstacles of your everyday living. And even if you can't move out of public housing, you can live vicariously through me. My bling is your bling.

It is true that we don't know what our lives are worth, but it's not because we are using a "common" Bic pen.We don't know what we're worth because we listen to people who think in dollars but no sense.


Anonymous said...

it took me a while to come up with an "appropriate" comment. when in discussion with some of my peers about topics such as this, i often here the argument "well, just chew on the meat of the sermon, and spit out the bones." i then ask about those little bones that usually are the ones that people end up choking on and thus causing greater harm. it is easy for (some of) us to point out clear biblically/doctrinal errors, but what about those others things (such as her short bus and $5K pen comment) that tend to seep into our minds and cause more damage. should we accept this as a "slip-up" and focus more on the good these preachers are doing in their community and their church. i have found that many people think we should -- focus on the good more than the bad. in other areas of our lives, i think this is very good advice. but when it comes to the Word of God and our salvation, does this advice still apply? i have been having difficulty understanding the proper context (if any) of the comments made recently by some of our most prominent ministers. i am concerned that people will begin to believe that "sprinkling" your sermons with hip-hop lyrics and the like is what our spiritual journey is all about. i pray that people would be more cognizant of their references, analogies, examples, etc. when preaching for the simple fact that some people will adhere to those comments more than the actual Word.

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