The Death of a Powerful Man: Bishop Eddie Long

long Yesterday I was sitting in worship service and my cellphone vibrated and when I checked, it was a news highlight that Bishop Eddie Long had passed away. I didn’t know if it was true or not, so I took a few minutes and checked a few other sites and sure enough, he had died sometime early Sunday morning. I shared that information with my parents who I was in worship service with and both had a look of total surprise on their faces; I did not. I’m no psychic, able to foretell coming events, but the last time I set eyes via the internet on Bishop Eddie Long, he didn’t look well. At that point, while others checked out the same photos of him that I had seen, I saw a lot of social media posts about what could have been the cause and I remained quiet. I had read stories over the past several years about possible indiscretions regarding Bishop Long and again, I didn’t comment and I decided to not play judge or jury because it wasn’t my place and its not anyone else’s place either. It is our place to pray for a family who has lost a loved one. It is our place to pray for a congregation that is now in mourning over the loss of a man they didn’t hold judgement against. Despite what the headlines had been saying over the years, some did what the Bible said and they prayed and forgave in order for them to be able to move on and continue the work of the Lord. Isn’t that what churches are supposed to do? Its what I thought.

I’ve never been to New Birth in Atlanta, but I had heard about all of the great things they were and are doing for the community. A lot of that started with Bishop Eddie Long and his heart for the people. The things I could see and witness are the only things I am able to give response to. Those crimes he was accused of committing happened behind closed doors and what it did was pit one man’s story against another. People chose who they wanted to believe in based on what they read in the media as if they were actually there and saw it happen. Now, I’m not proclaiming guilt or innocence and I don’t know everyone involved stories, but I don’t need to know. All I need to do is pray for the situation and pray for healing of those involved. Social media though, has allowed people to become judge and jury and as their opinions spread, so do lies that then are exacerbated to the point that someone in another state or country reading the stories on the internet become angry, vengeful and yes, judgmental. I, again, chose not to take that route. I could have an opinion about what I read and share it on the internet helping to fuel the fire of anger that spread across the world. I didn’t because in the quiet of my own space, I prayed that God would heal a people; heal a nation. This wasn’t the first of this kind of story and it wouldn’t be the last. Throwing social media stones at a situation that I’m not involved with or getting angry at the church over it would not be the best decision. I didn’t want to carry hate or hurt in my heart about another person’s dilemma; trust, I have enough of my own issues going on  that I don’t need to focus on someone else’s and I believe we all do.

Bishop Long may have had issues and personal demons, but who doesn’t. Is it our place to judge and jury? No. Lots of people benefited financially from the settlement, but did it take the hurt and pain away? No. Are those who are in leadership positions in churches perfect people without demons and vices? No. Is Bishop Long’s death some sort of karma coming back on him to extract a price for his wrongdoings in life? No. None of us knows what karma looks, feels or acts like. We’re going by what we think and not by what we know. The bottom line is, Bishop Long was a man with a title, held high up on a pedestal and if it were you or I, people would gasp at our secrets as well and then judge and jury us. I believer in God’s Word and I believe that He is the only TRUE judge and jury and I don’t care what any court says. In the end, God will have the final say when we all stand in judgement alone to answer for what we’ve done in our lives from the day God breathed life into us, until the day he took that last breath away and said your will is now done. The life Bishop Long led is more than the bits and pieces we all know about, not personally, but through the words we read on the internet, in a news or magazine article. I understand he did some great things to help where no other help was on the horizon.

There were recipients of cars, houses, bills being paid, prayers and words of comfort that none of us no all about. Those are the deeds of a powerful man. I have had struggles in my life and though I didn’t turn to a church for help, I turned to my parents who have always been there with their trusty safety net. Because of them, I made it through and because of Bishop Eddie Long, there is another person someplace who survived and can proclaim they made it because of his helping hand, words of encouragement and whispers of prayer. Anyone who can touch a life and provide a need is a powerful person and that, too, was Bishop Long. I’m not condoning anything he did in his private life, but we don’t have access to that other than what we hear about third, fourth and fifth-hand. I could believe those or I could believe him, but I chose to not do either. I chose to mind my business, let those people handle their business and in turn, I sat back and prayed that they would all survive and get back some semblance of life. If not, there are other powerful people that God has raised up in the form of doctors and counselors and it is my prayer that those who need it will take advantage of it and begin to heal. There is a lot of healing that needs to take place and it’s not a time to throw stones at a man who is no longer here to see and hear it. Who is left are his wife, children and congregation and what they need from us most right now is their prayers. Pray that his wife finds comfort in knowing that God knew what was best. Pray that she is comforted knowing that her husband of many years is no longer in pain. Pray that she has the strength to comfort her children who lost their father. Did you not have a father that you wished could be around you to console you, place his arms around you, give you advice, smile at you, laugh at your jokes and love you with all of his heart? His children did and right now, they don’t need people playing judge and jury about what their father may have done; they need a people who understand what it means to lose someone and can offer words of comfort and prayer as they go through. There is a congregation that despite the cloud that hung over Bishop Long for years, they still believed in him because they believed that God uses all kinds of people to bring His Word to the masses and in this situation, He used New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long. We may not like what we have read, but were you there? If not, pray for those who were. Find compassion for the situation for everyone involved and not get excited over your chance to jump on a bandwagon of vile words and hatred. You may not have had Bishop Long’s issues, but there are issues and if there was a spotlight shown on the skeletons in your closet, I hope you would want to find comfort in a world of people who understand that none of us are perfect. We al have problems and I’m sure, so did Bishop Long.

Problems or no problems, it didn’t take away from the fact that some people did and still do consider Bishop Long a great and powerful man. He may have done wrong, but he also did good and if one life was blessed because of the life he led, then he did what the Lord told him to do. I know I go about my life everyday and there are things that I do that don’t glorify God and His plan for my life and the lives around me, but I try and that’s all each of us can do. While some sit around and persecute Bishop Eddie Long, someone else is saying a prayer of thanks because they lived another day not starving, not out in the cold or jobless, unable to feed their children. If in your life you touch one person and because of you their lives changed for the better, then I consider you a great and powerful person because you made at least one positive difference. Through his good and his bad, Bishop Eddie Long did that and for that, I consider him a powerful man. I choose to let God deal with the wrong Bishop Long may have done in life and while I can still pray, my prayers go up and out for the family, congregation and friends he left behind. They are the only ones who are left to deal with the aftermath of his passing. I don’t know what he died from and I don’t care. What I do know is that there is a large group of people who need my support and prayer today and I choose to give that instead of spreading hatred because there is already enough of that going around.

Peace!

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

 

 

 

Who you gonna call?

124079-Think-For-YourselfI went to a business expo and one of the speakers, who was a fellow author, talked about people she comes across on a daily basis who have shied away from following a dream or a passion. Nowadays, it’s hard to convince people to stay the course and follow their dreams because there is always some naysayer on social media or some other platform who has nothing else to do with their day other than to tell you how much your dream or goals suck. You find yourself making an honest attempt and putting in the hard work only to feel let down when someone throws shade on your dream. She spoke about her path to writing and then publishing and how shock set in the moment she read her first review. She vowed never to write another novel because of how nasty and cruel the review was while other people seemed to love it. For three years, she put off writing another novel until her son asked her what was taking her so long. She told us it was words from her son that encouraged her to pick her pen back up again and read. He asked her why would she let a few nuts in a barrel of millions control what she does with her life and whether she ever writes again. He told her he was proud of her for doing what some people only dream of doing and because she took that first step and published her first book, he looked forward to reading her next. The next day, she started work on her second novel and now she is seven novels in and loving the path.

When it was my turn to introduce myself and talk about what I do, write romance novels, I talked about my path to writing and how, even now, I don’t let any of the reviews of my books taint my decision to write or not write. I love all of the reviews, good and bad, but what I’d like for people to do is learn to make a decision about what you like or don’t like on our own. We are becoming a people who take to other’s to decide what choices we’ll make in our lives. Who you gonna call?

I’ve always said like what you like if you decide that’s what you like and not like whatever you decide isn’t for you, but make it your own decision. People don’t know how to think for themselves anymore, but they wait to see what the masses think. I wanted to see a movie with a friend once and he refused to see it because he heard it was awful and based on what people were saying on the internet, he wouldn’t waste his money. I went to see the movie anyone on my day off and I laughed the entire movie it was so good. When it came out on DVD, I bought a copy just for him and we watched it one evening and you know what? He LOVED it! He was all set to not like this actor because other’s told him he wasn’t funny, but I tell you at one time I thought I was going to have to get some tissues he was crying fro laughing so hard. I told him next time just go see it and not make a decision based on someone who doesn’t live, think or act like you do. Be your own person!

One good example is Kim Kardashian. Now I see how social media has a love/hate relationship with Kim, but you can’t knock her hustle and thankfully, she doesn’t give two shades about what anyone has to say about anything. By way of those who love and and hate her, trust that someone is watching everything she does, buying what she sells and promotes what she says by tweeting and retweeting her every word and that’s what it’s about. It’s about going through life not allowing someone else dictate what your next moment or next move will be. i respect her for her game and however she chooses to increase her bank account, I say go for it. As others are sitting home and complaining about the next picture she puts up or the next wild thing her husband does, she’s throwing up the finger as she heads into the bank to check her new balance! I’m the same way when it comes to my writing. You can’t write or live to please everyone. For me, if I love what I wrote then I have mad love for it and nothing anyone can say or do will ever, ever, ever change that. See, the way my self-esteem is set up, I am my own woman and I dance to the beat of my own drum and it makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Miserable people are miserable and like to spread their misery because no one finds anything about them to like so they want to share how much they don’t like anyone or anything else. It’s perfectly okay. Who you gonna call?

I look at our youth of today and they can’t survive without everyone loving and liking everything they say and do and if they are not the popular one’s, they look for a way to tear other’s down. You have to find your life is worth living, no matter what someone else things about it. Just do you, boo boo! You will find that when you walk through life not giving a hoot about those who have a problem with you, you’ll spend it trying to always make them happy. I live for me, yet I respect everyone’s desire to live their life their way in their own space. I pick a movie to see because I want to see it. I read a book because I love reading and none are perfect, but all are someone’s hard work. I drive the car I want because I like it and if you don’t, I have no problem driving by you. I’m currently buying a new house and buying it where I want to live because the bank said yeah, you can do that girl and so, yeah I’m doing it! For the few people who said why would I move so far from work and my answer is because I want to. If you don’t visit me now, should I not expect you now that I’m moving so far away? Yeah, let me take a lifetime and think on that one. I didn’t make these decisions based on making a million phone calls and asking someone what I should do. I did it because you only live once and for this one life I’m living, I’m going to do it my way. Who you gonna call?

When I choose the next book to write and I put it out, I feel excited and happy that I’ve made another achievement, doing something that I’m very passionate about and I do it thankful for those who decide to read my novels. You don’t have to, but you choose to and I hope you continue to do so. All of my books are my favorites and my most favorites change according to the day. Today my favorite four of my own novels are

unbreak cover photoBossy2Bachelor_Not_For_Sal_Cover_for_KindleHeartthrob Cover

Now, this list will change tomorrow based on how I’m feeling, but trust, I love every single book I’ve put out and I choose what to write based on what I decide to write about and how I want to write it. I’m like Kim Kardashian, while some sit home and critique my art, I’m actually following my dream and achieving some goals while other’s choose to sit home and not chase any and that’s okay too. Who you gonna call?

Who am I gonna call? No one because when I make a choice or a decision, I easily live with it because it came from my heart.

Happy living 🙂

Cheryl

 

Prince, “His Royal Purpleness”

Purple-RainThe world lost more of it’s greatness today when “His Royal Purpleness” took his last breath. Today the world mourns the death of “Prince” one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time. One truth I know is that there is a generation that didn’t get to know Prince and his music like I did. He didn’t just sing his music, but he told a story each and every time. I sang to “Purple Rain”. I danced to “Let’s Go Crazy” and “I Would Die For You”. I swooned to “Adore” probably more times than I should have, but that’s a different conversation for another time.

Today, I celebrate his life by remembering his passion for bringing great music to his fans and for his philanthropy done behind the scenes. He was also more than just his music. He fought for many years for his independence to do him and in the end he won. He was the true example of following ones dreams and never letting anything stop you. He did what so many in the industry are afraid to do and that is break away from the status-quo and not give in to the all-mighty dollar that would make others richer than him when he did all the work. I can understand that determination and I love, honor and respect it. More than that, I’m thankful for the example.

Prince set an example for ‘doing you’ and not worrying about what the world had to say about it. Some thought he dressed to feminine and I say it’s what made him more attractive because what he had on or how he acted for the entertainment stage had nothing to do with who he was as a man. Puffy shirts and all, he was one of the handsomest and sexiest men I’ve ever seen. I loved watching those hips gyrate and that hair swing around and let’s not speak of the chills one could get just looking into his eyes when he looked right into a camera. He was more than just an entertainer; he was a real Prince and he helped make falling and being in love okay and sexy!

There have been many greats who we’ve lost over the years, but none and I mean NONE leaving this earth has impacted me the way Prince’s death has. I loved Michael Jackson, Gerald Levert, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Luther Vandross and on and on the list continues of those whose music I grew up listening to and could relate to their lyrics. These artists were like family to me. When I listened to their music, I felt like they knew me, struggles I went through, love found and lost, trying to fit in, but not and just the angst of making it through another day when things weren’t going like I dreamed.  There were times when I’d put on music when I was at a low point in my life only to come out by the end of the song feeling better and looking forward to finding a way to improve my own situation. I don’t think artists know how important what they sing about and then leave behind can be to someone’s life. Prince’s music will live on forever and I hope as generations come and go, people will continue to seek out his music, see it’s relevance even to their lives and be thankful that they once lived and made the choice to make good music that we would be able to enjoy for a lifetime.

Thank you, “Your Royal Purpleness” for the music and the legacy. Sleep on peacefully. Yours was a job well done! Somewhere “Doves” are crying because “Prince” has exited stage left. You will be missed and for all you brought to our lives musically, Thank you Sir!

Live and Let Live – Again

Why must people try and shame and slam a woman for having a life and moving on? If you don’t want your son to connect and be taken care of by another man, then make sure there is no room for him to do so because you are there. You move on yet the woman is not suppose to? Time waits for no one and neither does a male figure in a boy’s life. You can choose to step up and do what you should or you can go to social media and complain about a man who chooses to step in where you falter. The choice is yours. The sentiment actually goes both ways..either you do it or sit down, shut up and be jealous of the ex’s life in quiet. Getting someone pregnant and thinking you have them on lock down from other men when you want to go back to doing you, is wishful thinking and not a reality when it comes to strong women. You want it, put a ring on it otherwise, you have no claim.

I like that Ciara didn’t let grass grow under her feet and she got right back out there and found someone that is clearly for and about her.  The issue, it seems, is that some think she moved too fast simply because she has a son by someone else.  Who sets the time-frame for finding happiness?  I’m sure her significant ex wasted no time in doing so.  Can you imagine waiting around for the perfect time to move on?  It doesn’t exist.  Your life is  your own and how you choose to live it whether it be in private or in the public eye is your business.  I respect celebrities and all they go through having every aspect of their lives out in the open to be scrutinized.  That shouldn’t have an impact on your choices and decisions.  As I stated, Do You!!

Having a child with someone doesn’t lead to someone controlling your every action or having a say in what you do.  It means you have a child together and the idea at that point should be how do you co-parent together.  If our heart is pricked because you see your child embracing and hugging the new man in his mother’s life, don’t try to social media shame, but get up and make sure you are just a much a presence in your own son/daughter’s life.  It’s up to YOU to stake your claim and be the father you should be.  No one cane take your place if you don’t leave a space to be taken.  Working together is what will secure that your child has no doubt about who you are!