“Word on the street,” I was told this week, is that John Fountain is “anti-church.”
OK, so let me set the record straight, one more time, in Jesus’ name:
I love the church. I believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, buried, resurrected, and who sat down on the right hand of God.
I am not so much a “Christian” as I am a sinner saved by grace and the blood of the Lamb. I believe in the triune Godhead. I believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God.
I am a Pentecostal son, a GPK (Grand-Pastor’s Kid), COGIC born (Church of God In Christ). I know church speak and have spoken in tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
I have been baptized by water and fire. And I have danced on the sweet, sweet flow of the Holy Spirit on a Sunday morning as the organ revved and the saints reveled in God’s awesome glory. Hallelujah.
I love God and the church. And yet, I am sick of church.
Sick of the church’s silence. Sick of a church that staggers in a stiffening slumber while violence rages across black urban neighborhoods like a consumptive fire.
I am sick that the church spends gazillions building buildings that the poor and homeless can’t ever live in; or on multi-million-dollar mortgages, on administrative salaries and the upkeep of the monstrosities called worship centers.
I am sick that too many shepherds live high on the hog, far and above the sheep, in gated suburban meadows while the sheep dodge bullets and run for cover in crime-filled urban ghettos.
I am not anti-church. I am anti-church mess.
And I am sick of the church’s repeat offense against poor aging widows who empty their retirement fund to give to the church’s building fund, egged on by a preacher’s twisted sermon on the righteous biblical principle of giving.
“Will a man rob God?” I can still hear preachers’ browbeating.
Bruh, will you?
Shouldn’t the church give more than it takes? Is the church exempt from the kind of leadership that requires serving rather than being served? And who should come first, the shepherd or the sheep?
Shall one more giant-cross-emblazoned glowing temple be erected on the backs of the poor or in the name of Christ for as long as poverty, unemployment and homelessness glare like an Easter morning sun?
And why — how in the hell — does the church keep silent as murder, violence and a blood-filled river of our slain black daughters and sons run?
Has John Fountain ever collected a tithe? Is it me who padlocks countless churches — big and small — for most of the week rather than open them as potential healing stations, as social centers, afterschool programs, and adult education job training hubs?
Did I lambast, shame or demean God’s people from the pulpit? Did I turn a blind eye to children and women who were sexually abused in the so-called House of God?
Did I shun the homeless who entered the church’s doors? Did I cringe at touching or getting too close to them? Was I the pastor who refused to feed them?
Did I berate members or belittle pregnant young single women, or bash people who were gay and lesbian with dehumanizing homophobic slurs from the lectern as the congregation laughed?
And if I was “anti-church, after all that I have seen, who could blame me?
But mine eyes have also seen the glory of the Lord. And that’s what keeps me still loving the church… Word.
Now let the real church say, “Amen.”