Yesterday, I posted a small excerpt on Facebook of a sermon from Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland. The sermon was from a recent series called, “I’m My Enemies[sic] Worst Nightmare”. Normally, I don’t spend too much time on people concerned about their kingdom more than God’s kingdom. But since someone wondered what was wrong with the comment (in its context), I decided to check out the entire sermon. In the :40 excerpt making its way around the interwebs, he apologizes to the “old saints”, asks them to forgive him, and says it…
These Hoes Aint Loyal!
I was perplexed. What passage is he preaching from? Samson and Delilah, maybe? I came to the conclusion that, regardless of context, this wasn’t appropriate for the pulpit. I discovered that the words were from a popular Chris Brown song. Here’s some lyrics for your viewing pleasure:
When a rich n***a want ya
And your n***a can’t do nothing for ya
These hoes ain’t loyal
These hoes ain’t loyal
Yeah, yeah, let me see
I’m all for cultural references from the pulpit. But come on man. I’ve written about the Pauline model of engagement before. But this particular form of engagement was disgusting and inappropriate for one reason (if not because it references a vulgar song).
1. It had nothing to do with the text he was preaching from.
It’s like he said, “Let me just throw in a Chris Brown reference to show people I keep my ear to the streets”. He was preaching from a passage about Pilate and his wife. In the passage, the wife tells Pilate about a troubling dream she had about Jesus and his innocence. She warns him about condemning Jesus wrongly. Somehow, this turned into a mid-sermon side bar from Bryant. These hoes aint loyal. I had someone tell me that the whole sermon gives it context and that I should check it out. Okay then. I decided to take time out of my day to listen to the entire sermon (something I regret). It was like watching an exegetical and expository massacre. He butchered the text like he was selling link sausages in downtown Chicago.
Here is the immediate context of the short excerpt, just so y’all know I’m not making some premature judgment here.
Most men in the absence of a good woman only has good ideas. In the company of a godly woman, an idea becomes a dream. Any man who doesn’t have a wife is running on grace because you don’t get favor until the wife comes. *hold up, what?*
You don’t get favor until the wife comes? Single men are running on grace? I guess Paul didn’t have favor. I guess Jesus didn’t have favor. “Dr.” Bryant must know that the same Greek word is used for both favor and grace in the New Testament, so why the distinction? Just another case of bad preaching. Preaching what people want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Telling people they aren’t complete unless they have another person in their life can be harmful to their self-worth and image. It gets better though.
Pilate didn’t know what he had. Had he listened to his wife his life would have been better. *wait for it* These hoes aint loyal. Pliate could have given women the right to vote earlier with the decision he made in this moment.
Guys! Guys! Where do I start? These hoes aint loyal just came out of nowhere. He was talking about Pilate not knowing what he had in his wife. Then pow! These hoes aint loyal. As misplaced as the “one of these things is not like another” anomaly on Sesame Street. And here’s the kicker. Apparently, women’s suffrage rights were held up by Pilate’s decision. All you ladies out there, blame Pilate. He’s the reason why women weren’t voting earlier than they did. He didn’t give his wife a voice, that’s why y’all didn’t have a voice. You’re welcome! Signed, Jamal Bryant.
And here’s the closing. Which is awesome (if by awesome I mean downright ridiculous).
Something is significant when your dream is so profound that God won’t let you forget it. You’ll wake up in cold sweats and can’t go back to sleep. Matthew wrote this because of who was saying it. She was restless because of her dream [she was a non-Jew, enemy]. People who don’t like you are getting ready to dream about you. Folks who been spreading rumors they know aren’t true, God’s getting ready to put his fist in their throats. Tonight, your supervisor is going to dream about you. The nastiest coworker on your job is going to wake up in cold sweats.
People went crazy. He was speaking to them. It was so deep. But it had nothing to do with the gospel. It had nothing to do with the text. It was all about them. How God was going to take care of their haters. It was a perfect message for self-serving, entitled, bless me Christians. But for Gospel-centered, redeemed, grace-filled believers it should bring pause. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the hoes who aint loyal, Jamal. Maybe it’s you who isn’t loyal to faithfully preaching what a text says.