Dear Ms. Price,
First, thank you for the invitation and willingness to use your platform for a public discussion on church bigotry and hate. As one of Christ’s representatives, and as a contender for the faith, I likewise welcome the discussion.
Please allow me to start off with an apology for the Body of Christ. If someone or persons in the Church hated on or spoke ill of you, disrespected you, or intentionally embarrassed you – that’s not how we’re supposed to conduct ourselves as Christians. We are sorry, please forgive those individuals.
A few points as you read:
- I will use “the Church” and “the body of Christ” interchangeably.
- My use of scripture is not to lambast, unfairly judge, or appear “holier than thou”. The Word of God is the Church’s playbook; we respect the Bible as our manual to teach, correct, guide, and instruct how we are to live.
- To our knowledge, the public only has access to statements by Ms. Price and the Indiana Black Expo (IBE) – no statements from those accused of “church bigotry and hate” have surfaced. Our letter will ask many questions and make conditional statements in hopes to hear from those presently missing from the discussion (e.g. the Gospel Explosion emcee, other church leaders, or attendees).
Questions for Kelly Price
- Have you or your team reached out to the Gospel Explosion emcee or others to share your hurt and anger, dialogue one-on-one, hear each others’ heart? If not, do you have plans to? In retrospect, was it a good idea to leave the stage in anger, hop on social media with the story – before speaking 1:1 with those who offended you?
- If you “didn’t know” you were on the gospel stage, is it possible the emcee also “didn’t know” or expect to hear a song about adultery? As you were doing “what you were asked to do”, is it possible the emcee was doing “what she was asked to do” – manage the flow and expectations of a gospel event? Was she and all attendees caught in the same awkward cross-hairs as you were?
- Since the IBE has taken full responsibility for the mishap in scheduling that caused the confusion, do you still feel that leading with accusations of “church bigotry and hate” is warranted, or was it a rush to judgment amidst the hurt and anger?
- In your responses, you have concurred that As We Lay is inappropriate for a gospel event, and with knowledge, you could have “prepared better”. Have you since come to understand why “church folks” were so offended, shocked, explaining the situation to their children present, etc? Were you hurt and angry at the way in which they voiced their offense, or that they voiced their offense at all?
- As a preacher’s kid (PK) with 24 years of ministry to “expose what is not authentic”, do you truly believe your responses displayed the love of God, and that God was pleased with your ministerial approach? Do you believe there’s no responsibility or apology due on your part?
Bigotry and Hate: Does the Church Give, Receive, or Both?
In reading the definitions, a key word – intolerance – stands out as a factor that makes bigotry undesirable. Intolerance is “unwillingness or refusal to respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.” When a person is intolerant, he or she does not accept, is not patient with, does not allow or bear with something undesirable or unpleasant.
Let’s be honest. All of us are strongly partial to our own groups – look at our favorite sports teams, fraternities/sororities, houses of worship – we all have loyalties and preferences from which we won’t budge. We’re intolerant and uninterested in changing our tunes.
Is that bigotry?
There are also certain actions we won’t tolerate. We speak up when we feel disrespected, we fight back when we feel we’re in danger, we fire employees or hire new vendors when there’s incompetence. We show no tolerance or acceptance.
Does that make us bigots?
Can the Church be intolerant, without being a bigot?
First, the Body of Christ is commissioned to love and be welcoming to all – whosoever will, let them come.
Likewise, the Church has a biblical duty to stand in agreement with God – if God is for it, we’re for it; if God is against it, we’re against it.
Please understand, one cannot bring just anything to the Church that’s out of the will or order of God, and expect tolerance and acceptance. The love the Church shows to others should never be confused with approval of that which is contrary to our beliefs. Just as the world stands proud and tall for what it believes, the Body of Christ will be bold, speak loud, and take a stand for the standards of Jesus Christ.
Does that make us bigots?
How Valid is Your Victim Card?
“You’re judging me.” “Church folks are hating me.”
Here’s a major problem. Many people, both in and outside the Church, call “foul play” when someone speaks the truth according to God’s word. “Church folks are always judging!” When toes are stepped on, when conviction by the Holy Spirit occurs, human nature fights back, doesn’t it? Our flesh begins the blame game, the pity party, we deflect, we make excuses.
It’s easier to attack the messenger (the Church) than the One who sent the messenger – God.
The question becomes: Are you angry with the Church, or with what God said?
Only in truth and authenticity can one answer this question for his or herself. God, who looks at our hearts, knows the truth and will lead us to it, if we’re willing to go.
If One Stinks, All Church Folks Stink
Just as you are one of many in your family, so is the Body of Christ. We are many members, from all walks of life, with our own issues, hang ups, sins, and life experiences.
What would it be like if an entire family was convicted and sent to prison for the crimes of Uncle Lenny? “No! You’re a Smith too! All of you are Smiths, so all of you are guilty and will be punished!”
Pretty sad, right?
Are there hypocrites, bigots, haters in the body of Christ? Does Church bigotry and hatred happen? Sadly, yes.
No one can wear the label “Church” or “Christian” or “Pastor” as a get out of jail free card to mistreat people. If anyone offends the least of these, you will give an account for your actions – we all will! But we are also offered grace and forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ!
Have you ever noticed –
EVERYONE has an “I’m not Perfect, God is Still Working on Me Card”
– except church folks?!
Think about it.
Just as God loves you, and is “not through with you yet”, he’s working on each and every member of the Body of Christ too!
I can only imagine how the Gospel Expo emcee felt to be publicly accused as “the reason people won’t come to Jesus or church...”
Never hold the bad experience you had with one or a few as representing the entire Church – and then lambast “church folks”. What that can actually reveal is two things: 1) a search for a scapegoat – “I would go to church, but church folks will do you wrong!”; or 2) A trigger for unresolved, deep wounds that have once again resurfaced.
The “Church” didn’t hurt you, friends, an imperfect person who’s still in process in the Church did. In God’s love, there is peaceful and graceful resolution for everyone’s heart involved.
Do All Things in Love
Church, Ms. Price, All: Let’s ask God to search, know, and heal our hearts:
God, we lay down our pretense, our status, our titles, our leadership positions, and ask that you help us do a better job at being living examples of Your Love. Help us to follow peace and be gentle with all whom we encounter. We don’t know their stories or what they’re dealing with, but You do. Give us kind hearts that feel for and empathize with each other. Please show us how to win back those who are hurting because one of your children missed the mark. Give us all hearts that forgive and are quick to give a another chance, just like our Father.
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you for hearing my heart; may healing discussions continue.
Here is the response from Kelly Price (or her team/Mgmt). After the tweet above, I was blocked. Surprised lol? Yeah, I am. We could’ve had a sisterly, PK discussion with the goal of us ALL healing our biases and doing better in the future.
Three reflections on this response and experience:
- It’s often easier to accuse “the church” than to face the church or yourself. When “the church” is the opponent, people will run to chime in and get their “lick” in, but are MIA to have real dialogue to promote healing and redemption.
- The body of Christ is not all talk, no action. There are those on the team who will SHOW UP and stand objectively on the Word of God – it speaks to us all no matter who we are.
- Bias against the CHURCH is real. There are some who need to forgive “church folks” and “church” experiences, just as followers of Christ need to do a better job at showing love.