A RADICAL CALL TO UNITY

                                                                               Leonard Lovett, Ph. D

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     Uniformity is not necessarily unity…please do not get them twisted.  Wearing the same religious garb or uniform is merely uniformity. Unity evolves from within. Unity must be sought after and desired if it is to be realized within the Body of Christ and our nation. It is a totality of oneness derived from the human spirit. With such a totality there can even be unity in diversity. However, uniformity is like a forced march…one obeys because of rules, pressure and compulsion. Authentic unity takes place when we respect each other for who we are and provide an opportunity for respectful dialogue to hear what the Spirit is saying through each of us. As a denomination we are facing the end of an era. An era is a distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic. The new era appears to be pointing to the need for a shift in leadership. The leadership styles of the past will not fit the new emerging challenges of the present. Respectfully, no single leader will successfully lead our denomination apart from a radical shift in style. One does not pour new wine in old wineskins according to Jesus. The ferment of the new wine is too strong for old wineskins. New wineskins are needed.  Radical new models of leadership are needed for our present situation.

     Hopefully, the denomination will transition to term limits in response to a rallying cry from our COGIC base constituency for same. Several Traditional mainline Black denominations have successfully transitioned to term limits without major upheaval.  When leaders are elected indefinitely they begin to substitute their limited authority for spiritual power. Lord Acton was correct – “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”   They argue that when leaders remain in office too long they often become selfish, self-serving and greedy. They confuse their term of office as a personal possession and not a great opportunity to serve God’s people through quality leadership.  Our founding Chief Apostle Bishop CH Mason was never caught up in unnecessary power struggles, taking sides and being divisive. He was never accused of absolute power and a lustful greed for money.

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A CHALLENGE TO THE NATION

Dr. Leonard Lovett

Grief_edited-1(Part 1 written early Thursday)

  I had decided to remain silent and ride this one out. The fire in my heart like Jeremiah began to burn. The wanton murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota has spurred righteous indignation. The weak insipid response of the President was disappointing to say the least. His speech writers really got it wrong this time. To say this is not about race but an American problem is to diminish what most African-Americans experience on a day-to-day basis as being simply routine. Mr. President I respectfully ask how can you say in one breath this is not racial and proceed to give a litany of racial disparities that involved African-Americans and end with the tired phrase “all life matters ?” In context there is a disconnect between what you are saying and Black life “that really matters.” You proceeded to address the bias in the minds of Police Officers and on and on with useless tired rhetoric that failed to deal with a systemic problem, namely, institutionalized racism at its best. I am not blaming, but rather challenging you as leader to assist us in finding a way out of this morass

  What prevents you during the end of your second term from issuing a Moratorium on the killing and decimation of Black lives by racist bad cops? No all cops are not bad. There are many exceptions to the ones who have participated in the killing of Black men like animals within the last five (5) years. Six decades ago I marched against segregation so we could live in a nation without fear. Today when a cop blue lights you, most of us are almost gripped by fear of the unknown. A personal friend of mine told me that a cop stopped his son who was licensed to carry a weapon. He told the cop that he had a weapon. The cop told him to retrieve the weapon. He refused and told the cop where it was. His refusal saved his life. The cop in a laughing manner told him that had he reached for the weapon it would have been his life. That kind of behavior is all too often frequent and must be reported and never tolerated.

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The Trump Syndrome:

trump2Dr. Leonard Lovett

Donald Trump suffers from an incurable disease, and the diagnosis is clear: Diarrhea of the mouth and Constipation of the brain. He does not think before he speaks, therefore the prognosis is bad. We must never trust him with nuclear codes. He has started the “fear tactic” again, by attempting to re-define Islam. His persistent confusion of Islam as a historical faith is all too often confused with the extreme abusers of Islam such as Isis and other extremist who use the religion of Islam as a pretext to exact violence upon peoples of the West.  Islam as a faith has made major contributions to the building and development of civilization. Abuse of religion is at a premium in America.  Does anyone remember Jim Jones who led close to a thousand persons to their death in Guyana by drinking  a mixture  of water laced with a deadly poison and promised them a home in heaven? Banning Muslims from entering the country has the smell of Adolph Hitlerian savagery. Building  walls instead of bridges to keep Mexicans out is far more dangerous than we would like to admit. He may be insulting relatives of the maids, janitors and maintenance workers who keep his real  estate empire afloat by working for low wages.  Is that what the democratic experiment has come to?

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WILL GOD ABANDON A NATION?

Leonard Lovett, PhD

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   Mitt Romney is at the mike again. We best remember him for an astounding and resounding lost in the 2012 presidential election after making an insensitive remark about forty-seven percent of voters he had written off as being non-essential. His assignment has changed. He is at the mike to “clip the wings” of Donald Trump who he perceives as a fake who has deceived Americans and may win the presidency by default if the Republicans do not get their act together. A Harvard neuroscientist, Howard Gardner has indicated that Trump has a mental disorder that fits the parameters of a “certifiable textbook narcissist” that makes him a dangerous world leader. That a “person with this mental disorder has an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.”

[see Bobby Azarian, Raw Story, Jan 18, 2016] That Trump easily fits into the category of ruthless leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. Trump has excoriated Mexican immigrants (like his wife) who are in search of a place to thrive and live a meaningful life. Banning Muslims from entering the country has the smell of Adolph Hitlerian savagery. Is that what the democratic experiment has come to? Here we go again, Mitt Romney, a loser has come to fore to bail out a political party that has virtually lost its soul by bashing their front runner. At least Donald Trump leads in the trek toward the Republican Primary as he boasted about his wealth and promises to bring jobs and currency from abroad back to America.

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Muslim Eye Opener

Here is a perspective adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam:

Dr. Hammond was born in Capetown in 1960, grew up in Rhodesia and converted to Christianity.



The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat:

Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.

Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.

Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well..

Here’s how it works:

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States — Muslim 0.6%
Australia — Muslim 1.5%
Canada — Muslim 1.9%
China — Muslim 1.8%
Italy — Muslim 1.5%
Norway — Muslim 1.8%

 
At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.
This is happening in:…

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Can Leaders Remain Too Long?…When its Time to Say Goodbye

Leonard Lovett, PhD

Time to go copy insertActs 13:36 [LAB] “For after David had served his generation according to the will of God, he died and was buried, and his body decayed.”

 

     On an idyllic Thanksgiving holiday morning I called one of my Philadelphia sons in the Gospel and asked him, how often do you change the oil in your automobile? He was vague with his response and finally admitted that he went by the service sticker info and occasionally the mileage. After convincing him that this was not a gimmick, he remarked that he really did not have exact information to the question. After getting his attention I asked the real question, how often should we change leaders in the church? I had just googled an article on, “When Should You Change Your Oil?” –Ronald Montoya The first thing suggested is to “let the manual guide you.” Secondly, “trust your oil life monitor.” The monitor based on mileage and will switch on a maintenance light when the vehicle reaches a predetermined mileage range. Numerous sensors throughout the car records conditions and habits of the driver. Thirdly, use the time estimate. The Toyota Prius recommended an oil interval of one year or 10,000 miles. Fourthly, get an oil analysis. An oil analysis will tell you the condition of your oil, and can reveal any problems that your engine may be experiencing such as traces of fuel and coolant in the engine oil. The article concluded that the 3,000 mile oil change myth is designed to keep people in the business busy. If this much attention is given to an automobile, what about our church leadership? Who monitors how long leaders remain in office in the church? I believe that we need to devise a system where leaders cannot remain if office indefinitely. This applies to pastors, Bishops and all church leaders including, but not limited to our National Supervisor and Supervisors, Presiding Bishop, General Board, Board of Bishops and Jurisdictional Bishops in the Church of God in Christ.

     I am convinced that my calling is to stand “in defense of the Gospel” according to Philippians 1: 17 and to challenge church leadership. I do not respond to unsigned internet lies and garbage generated by cowards. The only thing I have is “the pen of a ready writer” according to Psalm 45:1. What I say may be offensive to some and liberating to others. I plan to write an open letter to the Church of God in Christ in January and publicly resign as Ecumenical Officer, an appointment by Presiding Bishop G.E. Patterson in 2004. All the details of my Ecumenical journey and much more will be set forth in my forthcoming book scheduled for Winter/Spring 2016, titled, Why COGIC Must Change or Die…Recapturing the Essence of our Holiness-Pentecostal Faith. My book will detail the root of our present crisis and a possible alternative course of action out of this morass. With the eye of an historian and the passion of a theologian who has served the church, God has enabled me to be fully capable of engaging in meaningful discourse about the future of our faith.

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BUT AFTER FURTHER REVIEW…A PASTORAL RESPONSE

Bishop Nathaniel W. Wells,

General Board Member, COGIC

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     In sports a questionable call by a referee must be viewed by camera replay and the ruling can only be challenged by the results…after further review. The letter generated and placed on our website by select people in this administration was designed to deprive an Ordained Elder of his constitutional rights to a fair hearing for what was alleged to be inappropriate behavior directed toward leadership. However, after further review, the letter seeks to circumvent Scripture and by tone and spirit is a gross violation of the Constitution of the Church of God in Christ. The letter appears vindictive in tone and places this Elder in the role of chief offender. It seeks to recruit supporters that resemble a lynch mob and not a body of believers. If the church is a regime, this approach is in place. But after further review… I am compelled by conscience to seek the biblical approach that squares with what we believe historically.

     From earliest times in the Church of God in Christ, Scripture has been our rule for faith and practice. Controversy is not new to our church. Bishop Mason was sued and called names. Controversy comes with the challenges of being a leader.  However, as a leader we must never flagrantly demonstrate our anger through public action. We must not allow those who love us to break the rules by emotional reactions in order to support our position. Justice, love and reason must be the guiding norm for whatever response we make as leaders in a crisis. After further review…we have not followed Scripture to resolve the present conflict. In Matthew 18: 15ff. (MLV) Jesus admonishes, “If your brother should do wrong against you, go and show him his fault privately; in case he does not listen, take one or two along, so that from the testimony of two or three witnesses the whole dispute may be settled.”

Flag referee

     The Pastors and Elders Council, has the responsibility to invoke the Constitution when the rights of a pastor or Elder are violated. Neither approach has been utilized in the case of this Ordained Elder. It is morally and ethically wrong to pressure anyone either directly or indirectly to sign a letter against their will. An injustice to anyone jeopardizes and threatens the freedom of all of us. We must not yield to tyranny. I took a vow as a General Board Member to uphold the doctrine and ordinances of the Church of God in Christ. Let us seek those things that make for peace and unity in the Body of Christ. Repentance, prayer and fasting must be the key to uniting a divided people. After further review… I am bound by those commitments to God, the church and the voting constituency. I can do no other. The prayer of St Francis of Assisi comes to mind.

“Lord make me an instrument of Your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon, Where there is doubt, faith, Where there is despair, hope, Where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy…To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive– It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.http://theagora.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/But-After-Further-Review___.pdf

(2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV)

(But After Further Review…)

Why is Such A Shaking Going On?

Dr. Leonard Lovett

Shaking

 

Isaiah 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of its place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.

The present crisis we are experiencing is really not about the guilt or innocence of the Presiding Bishop or the credibility of the accusers. Speaking prophetically, this crisis is about whether we are going to risk profaning the name of God throughout the global village by foolish choices as the largest Classical Holiness-Pentecostal body in the world. Heretofore we were revered by ecumenical and cross denominational enclaves. Unfortunately we are losing our voice due to posturing and infighting over worthless positions and plain idolatry within our ranks. Where are the spiritual Fathers and Mothers who were fonts of wisdom, mother wit and plain common sense? Why are we listening to card-carrying, money seeking false prophetic clowns who are merely saying what we want to hear? It has become a fad to call oneself a prophet in our current religious environment. Pastors why are you having a feeding frenzy with this kind of foolishness in your church? Why are you looking for another religious “fix”? Can you imagine Isaiah, Elijah, Ezekiel or Amos being invited to a modern day Prophetic Conference? They would have been averse to a gathering of so-called prophets renting a fancy upscale hotel simply to falsify the truth to each other about their present and future situation. God forbid that we as a church fall victim to this kind of gamesmanship, deception and veiled witchcraft. When are we going to stop playing with God?

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When is Enough, Enough? Greed as Idolatry

Dr. Leonard Lovett

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     I was intuitively urged to explore the biblical notion of greed as a form of idolatry after reading a scathing article in the Washington Post by Michelle Singletary in her The Color of Money column.

The title of the article was engaging: “Where Money Meets Faith, bring Skepticism…Be careful your pastor isn’t fleecing his flock.” She discusses Rev Robert “Dr. Shine” Freeman, a fifty-six (56) year old Maryland minister who was recently sentenced for twenty seven (27) months in prison pleading guilty to obstructing bankrupt court proceeding. That Shine took the command “let us pray” into “let us prey.” He preyed on people. He hid assets to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts. Shine was ordered to pay more than $650,000 in restitution to four (4) church members who took out loans to buy cars and a mansion. What Freeman did comes under the category of “affinity fraud.” Affinity fraud occurs when people use a personal connection such as religion or ethnic status to gain people’s trust and their money.

     Nearly one in four Ponzi schemes involve- affinity group targets according to studies by several reputable consulting firms. The three (3) most common affinity groups targeted by Ponzi schemes, accounting for eighty-five (85) percent of such cases, were the elderly or retired, religious groups and ethnic groups. Whenever a too-good-to-be-true is coming from someone you trust or respect and endorsed such as your pastor, raise the red flag. Freeman used his church members in the name of Jesus, to get what he could not afford, eleven (11) luxury vehicles worth a million dollars, a leased jet, a $1.7 million 9000 square foot house purchased by a member. Recently, a Bishop asked me whether I could recommend a “name” speaker to complete his conference calendar. I replied, do you want someone who can “entertain” or “challenge” the people? Entertaining, “grab your neighbor” false prophetic fundraisers are a “dime a dozen.” To find someone who will “stretch your people” to new levels of maturity and growth requires different search engines. Your ministry is like a tree, when it stops growing it is preparing for inevitable death.

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