As someone who never attended church as a young person, I find that I get a little squirmy when I watch services in general. The more over-the-top they are, the less comfortable I feel.
Needless to say, the following video had me cringing the whole time. It’s from the Church of God in Christ’s 107th Holy Convocation in Memphis and features a young man declaring himself free from homosexuality…
At 0:18, Pastor Earl Carter asks a young man why he came to the church… and we’re off to the races:
Young Man: To get delivered more!
Carter: To get delivered. Do you believe that the Lord tonight has set you free?
Young Man: Yes sir.
Carter: Turn around and tell those people! Tell ’em!
Young Man: I’m not gay no more! I am delivered! I don’t like mens no more! I said I like women! Women, women, women [speaking in tongues]. I said women! I’m not gay! I would not date a man! I would not carry a purse! I would not put on makeup! I will, I will love a women!
Welp. That happened.
There’s so much to deconstruct here… I hesitate to make fun of the young man since he’s been manipulated into thinking his homosexuality is something that needs to be cured. His speech reveals the church’s damaging teachings. (I can’t help but note that I would totally wear that jacket, though. Way to rock the bow tie.)
And then he starts dancing. And then about a dozen men come to the front of the church and start dancing with him. And then Carter starts talking even more (2:58):
I just heard the Lord say there was about 50 others of you that needed some kind of deliverance. But you were afraid that you were going to be labeled. Now, since we don’t know what’s going on, I dare you to run down here and say, “Do it for me, Jesus!”… Hurry up!
And then more dancing. And then more of Pastor Carter:
Bring him back here. Turn him around to me. Young man? Young man? You can live for God, okay? You’ve been set free. Satan, the devil, is a lie, okay? We love you son. You understand that? We love you. You can live for God. Don’t be afraid. You trust god. Your past is just that: behind you.
Paul said, “I’m forgetting those things which are behind and I’m reaching for what’s in front of me.” Can I tell you something? Better is in front of you. When I tell you, I want you to run down towards that camera and tell ’em, “I got a brand new life.” Run, right now, RUN RUN! Because it’s in front of you!…
You’re a brand new creature. You have a job — you work? You don’t work? How old are you? 21? You’re in school? You’re in school. What are you studying to be? A doctor. Huh? You’re an author? You’ve published how many books? 14 books. Let me tell you something: God said he’s going to bless you because of you commitment. Just to prove it, he told me to give you $100. He said money is coming your way because of your new-found commitment.
The pastor gave him $100. A couple of other people gave him a few bucks. Which, for what it’s worth, is probably not enough to cover the therapy I worry this young man will need one day.
I have no idea what I just witnessed. Please feel free to decipher it all in the comments.
And then remind me to follow up on this young man a year from now…