I had a friend recently email me and ask my thoughts about yesterday’s news of Bishop Eddie Long settling the lawsuit filed against him by four young men. Why did he settle? Didn’t he say he would fight it? They wanted to hear my legal perspective on the matter. But it’s very hard to offer a legal perspective when you have major concerns about the spiritual connotations of an issue. So I will offer both a legal and spiritual perspective here.
I thought long and hard about writing about this. In full disclosure, I attended New Birth over ten years ago, while enrolled at Morehouse College. The ministry and the people of New Birth were very instrumental in my formative years as a young man who had re-dedicated himself to Christ. I was heckled and talked about because I attended a megachurch. I was asked how I could attend a church that didn’t allow you to get within 10 feet of the pastor without personal bodyguards fending you off. There was one thing I couldn’t doubt about attending New Birth. To this day, some of the most wonderful men and women of God I know were members there when I attended. Like me, they have since moved on to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Today, they are pastors, entrepreneurs, leaders, and community activists. And like me, eight months ago, they weren’t sure how to take this news. They treaded lightly until they heard the full story. How can you blame former members? Surely we’d need time to process the news. If we were really honest at the time, it likely hit us like a ton of bricks.