Why Pastor John Gray & His Wife May Not Be Wrong to Host A Relationship Conference in February After Cheating Rumors & Divorce Discussions…

Hello World,

It was a exactly a year ago that Pastor John Gray got caught up in a controversy regarding relationships. R&B star Ciara faced backlash from single ladies simply because of a snippet of a Pastor John Gray sermon that she tweeted. Remember this tweet below?

Ciara tweeted a snippet of Gray’s sermon from the 2016 I Am Woman Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I felt it was kind of unfair to blame Gray for something he said in 2016 that Ciara tweeted in 2018, and I also didn’t think Ciara’s message of #LevelUp was wrong considering all that she went through to get where she is today. And if you want to read that entire post, click on “Why Ciara & Pastor John Gray Are Right To Advise Single Ladies to Level Up…”

But now, a year after that January 2018 tweet, Pastor John Gray is caught up in another controversy regarding relationships. Gray recently posted on his Instagram page that he along with his wife First Lady Aventer Gray will be hosting a relationship conference entitled “Align 19” which will be held at their church Relentless Church in Greenville, SC on Feb. 7-9. See the post for yourself below:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

HEY YALL! SINGLE, MARRIED, DIVORCED OR SOMETHING IN BETWEEN? THIS IS FOR YOUUUUUUU! What do you get when you put @devonfranklin, @chadcveach and @juliaveach, @richwilkersonjr and @dawnchere, @realtalkkim, @kirkfranklin and @iamtammyfranklin, @claytonhhurst and @ashleehurst and me and @grayceeme together? ONE OF THE MOST IMPACTING RELATIONSHIP CONFERENCES OF 2019! Join me @myrelentlesschurch and Let’s bring in the new year with a new you! Register for the @thealignconference happening February 7-9th, 2019. Married, singled or divorced, this relationship conference has something specifically for you. You can register to be in the building or you can register to watch online. Space is limited so sign-up now! Head over to TheAlignConference.com or you can register THIS SUNDAY at the Align booth at Relentless Church. #LoveAlign19

A post shared by John Gray (@realjohngray) on

This announcement has folk talking again because The Christian Post and other news outlets reported that Gray and his wife admitted that they had considered divorce for two years, which he said on a YouTube video from the summer of 2018. From The Christian Post:

“What they didn’t see is that for the last two years we weren’t sure if we would even make it. This is what the people saw,” he said while fake smiling, “but they didn’t see the tears at night. They didn’t see the times when one of us was sleeping on the couch because the argument. We had to keep smiling because even though we were struggling and even though I was failing as a husband, I was already in front of the people and the people can’t receive my brokenness because where do leaders go when they bleed? Because sheep don’t do well with blood so I had to bleed alone,” Gray said.

In that same video, his wife spoke about a “strange woman”  whom affected their marriage. From The Christian Post:

“I prayed for them and him and then the devil loses,” she said to applause. “’Cause what’s not gonna happen is you tell me that I’m gonna lose my purpose because somebody whispered to a 16-year-old John? The devil is a liar. I’m staying with my husband and you can go back to the pits of Hell where you came from.

She added, “So you want me to leave my husband because you spoke to the 16-year-old that couldn’t get a date? And he listened. So I’m supposed to leave my husband because you spoke to a place of brokenness that had not yet been submitted back to the Father? But because I know the tricks of the enemy and I’m learning them every day, I can stand here in boldness for everybody that tried to sneak in, thank you, because I got closer to God because of it. I got in that word … come on devil, you don’t want it with me.”

As a result of these revelations regarding their near divorce and this “strange woman,” some think Grays do not need to be hosting a relationship conference. And given the fact that Pastor Gray could have been contemplating divorce and allegedly cavorting with a “strange woman” while giving relationship advice to women at the 2016 I Am Woman Conference, he could very well be a hypocrite. I must say those were my initial conclusions as well.

But then, I started thinking about the fact that the Grays will be the hosts of the conferences but are not billed as speakers (as least according to the flyer anyway). I don’t know about you but when I need help in a particular area, I gather as many experts in that area that I can find and try to learn from them. That expertise may be found within the pages of a book. I may attend a conference or two. I may get counseling. I try to align myself with people who have what I want so that I can get what they have.

As far as the speakers at the Align relationship conference are concerned, Kirk and Tammy Franklin have been married for 23 years and although they have faced some challenges (I remember when Kirk Franklin admitted to having a porn addiction), they are still together. That is an inspirational story for couples who have faced similar challenges. Although DeVon Franklin is happily married now, but prior to getting married to Meagan Good, he was celibate for over 10 years as a single man. He obviously has a word for single people. I’m not as familiar with the rest of the slate of speakers, but based on their bios, they have testimonies that could encourage conference attendees. And as far as the Grays are concerned, maybe their decision to name the conference “Align” which means “to to be in or come into precise adjustment or correct relative position” is indicative of their intention to adjust or correct  their  marriage after what they revealed about their personal lives last year.

But what about the fact that he was giving relationship advice in 2016 while likely not having a good relationship with his own wife at the time, some of y’all are probably saying? LOL. I say I hope he uses better judgment in 2019 regarding his speaking engagements and overall speech because I can see why he was more than ready for 2018 to be over and hit the reset button for 2019.

Y’all it seemed like Pastor Gray was being talked about and not in a good way for much of 2018. See for yourself below.

Am I missing any controversies?

Pastor Gray said in his New Year’s Eve sermon “The Reset” that he was dressed in all black in his “funeral outfit” because “2018 tried to kill me so I thought I would dress for the occasion.”  He said that, “Some of the stuff that tried to kill me, I helped…Some stuff wasn’t the devil. Some stuff was you. It would be great if we shouted for that too because what we’re saying is, ‘I take personal responsibility.'” He then goes on to talk about how he even thought about suicide behind all of what transpired in 2018. I agree with Pastor John Gray that much of what happened to him at least regarding his public persona and statements could be traced back to his decisions. For example, I’m pretty sure he is not the only megapastor who gifted his wife with a lavish gift in 2018 especially on the heels of Christmas but many of them did not post what they gifted.

I remember Pastor Gray before he was a pastor. He was a comedian I believe. I saw him at a church event here in Atlanta, and I thought he was funny at the time. But I didn’t think much else about him because he was another Christian comedian doing this thing. But now his circumstances have changed. He is a pastor with worldwide platform. Somebody say, “More platform, More problems…” As it says in the Word, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)  His inclination is still to be funny although his words, which may come from an innocent place, are now judged more seriously.

I hope he remembers this verse as we proceed in 2019.

What say you?

Any thoughts?

Will Christian Couples Make Love to David & Tamela Mann’s Clean R&B Love Music?

Hello World,

I know I haven’t posted in about a week but your girl was sick with the flu. I mean I was in-the-fetal-position, hubby-had-to-spoon-feed-soup-to-me-sick, but I’m almost completely well again, praise God! And today’s post got me snorting over here and as the Word says a “joyful heart is good medicine!”

So last night I received this Christian Post article in my inbox from a Facebook friend: David and Tamela Mann Release R&B Album Offering Christian Couples Clean Music to ‘Make Love’ To by Jeannie Law.

Apparently the gospel powerhouse couple feels there is a void of clean music that Christian couples can listen to the bedroom. So in an effort to continue to commemorate their 30-year wedding anniversary (which has included release of their new memoir, Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family ), the couple has now released their first R&B album “Us Against the World.”

“It was different for me, it was really different, even though I was happy to think about the man that I love [while singing],” Tamela told The Christian Post. “It made me even look at him differently, and in all honesty, we tested it out and it really worked.”

“It’s making baby music,” David interjected about the album.

Produced by the couple and their son, David Mann, Jr., Tamela said her 30-year-old son pegged the album, “back in the day” music. They were so happy to be able to provide a project like this for the body of Christ.

“Even though you knew we were talking about love, it wasn’t nasty love music,” Tamela explained.

All of that sounds good, but Hello Beautiful is reporting that Black Twitter is clowning the clean love music from the Manns…Below are a few of the most hilarious comments in my opinion…

I bet you snorted out your coffee reading those comments, right? LOL

Before you judge, check out the first single “Good Love” below…

So what y’all think? I like the song and I love the Manns, but I’ma be honest, the only man I want in my bedroom is my hubby. The same people who are responsible for taking me to the King won’t help my king take me…I can’t go from hearing you sang blessings and glory and honor, they all belong to You and then you sanging I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind…

And what’s wrong with “nasty love music” anyway when it comes to what Christian marrieds are doing in the bedroom? The Word says the marriage bed is undefiled so if a Christian couple decides they enjoy “nasty love music” in bedroom, what is wrong with that? And maybe the Bible is even suggesting that Christian couples can listen to songs like Jay & Bey’s “Drunk in Love” in the bedroom?

Have y’all seen this verse?

“She is like a beautiful deer, a lovely fawn. Let her love satisfy you completely. Stay drunk on her love.” Proverbs 5:19

Do you prefer “Good Love” or “Drunk in Love?” Do you prefer clean love music or nasty love music in the bedroom? Or can you listen to Bey & Jay and David & Tamela Mann in the bedroom?

Any thoughts?

Should Divorced Men Such as Dr. Jamal Bryant, Newly Named New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor, Be Allowed in the Pulpit?

Hello World,

Now that Season 3 of OWN’s “Greenleaf” is over until next season, I’m back to finding my religious drama and intrigue in real life! LOL.

Last week, Atlanta was abuzz with the news that Dr. Jamal Bryant, founding pastor of Empowerment Temple, an A.M.E.  megachurch of about 10,000 members in Baltimore, Maryland was leaving his church to be the new pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which also has about 10,000 members, in Lithonia, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. He will preach is first sermon at New Birth on Sunday, Dec. 9.

The announcement has people talking for many reasons. One of those reasons is that Bryant’s tenure comes after the death of the controversial church founder Bishop Eddie L. Long, who passed away in January 2017 after battling cancer. Prior to his death, he wrote about his life in his memoir “The Untold Story – The Story of Adversity, Pain, and Resilience.”  In a previous blog post about this memoir, I wrote, “Is Bishop Long going to address what really happened with those young men who accused him of sexual misconduct as their claims were settled out of court and why he settled? That’s all people want to know at this point!” What is ironic about that post, which I wrote in 2016, is that the post was about Bishop Long AND Pastor Jamal Bryant. Here is a link to the post “Bishop Eddie Long Releases New Book ‘The Untold Story’ While Pastor Jamal Bryant Sidesteps Paternity Claim Today… What Are The Biblical Requirements for a Pastor?” I had no idea that two years later that these two men who be forever linked by last week’s announcement.

And that blog post brings me to another reason why people are talking about Bryant being named pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Even without all of the Bishop Long controversy, Pastor Bryant has enough controversy that he can claim on his own – from a fairly recent out-of-wedlock paternity allegation to the admission of infidelity in his previous marriage to Gizelle Bryant, one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” He was dating R&B singer Tweet but I guess they have broken up because I haven’t heard anything about them still being together. He referred to her as his “Last Lady” in the clip.

Below are a few comments I saw on New Birth’s Facebook page following the announcement last week:

“New Birth still has members?”

“WoW I’m shocked they gave it to Jamal with all the scandals he been through…but no man is perfect and I wish him the best.”

“Facts: No pastor wants the debt associated with NB! It will take a name to fill the seats & ‘encourage’ people to give! We are all flawed & human! However, for the church’s sake, i pray there’s real accountability worked into his contract! Literally, he just left court on stalking charges! There’s a pattern of poor judgment! I’m just gonna pray!”

 “Plenty of women to choose from.”

“Wow, I can’t believe these are Christians on the church website with this garbage. Talking about men of God like we are talking about Love and Hip Hop! Messy!!! Truly I wish that Pastor Bryant would not even go down there in this mess. Because he is loved and wanted at Empowerment Temple and ALL over the country. Half of the people on here don’t support the church financially or spirituality. The way our world is today we better, get our lives together. We don’t know when the Lord’s going to call us home. Please stop being so quick to point out what we think is somebody else faults and get our own selves in order. NB congregation on your new appointed Pastor. Pastor Jamal, love you! I will be praying for you and supporting you the same as I did at ET. I believe in you and the God we serve.”

“Episode of Greenleaf Coming!!!!”

“So he switching denominations!?”

See ALL of the 538 comments and counting HERE.

All of this chatter has got me thinking about being a pastor as a single divorced man. If real life is stranger than fiction (like what went down on OWN’s “Greenleaf” following the divorce of Bishop & Lady Mae), what should be expected from the pastorate of single divorced man? And should single divorced men be allowed to be pastors at all? Years ago, Atlanta-based but known worldwide pastor Dr. Charles Stanley, who is one of my favorite pastors, caused a lot of controversy when he decided to remain pastor of his church, First Baptist Church of Atlanta, following his divorce. His stance was particularly controversial when he previously said he would step down if he ever divorced.

Do you think divorced single men should be pastors? Below are three views on this topic:

  • While many in the Southern Baptist Convention called on him to step down over his divorce, Stanley refused to give up his role as senior pastor. ‘God said you keep doing what I called you to until I tell you to do something else,’ he told CNN. “I got that straight from the Lord. … I was simply obeying God.’ He added: ‘If somebody doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to live with you, you can’t — nowhere in the Scripture does it say that you’re to preach the gospel until someone does this or that.'” excerpted from “Charles Stanley Names Successor but Will Remain Sr. Pastor, Says Retirement Is Unbiblical” by Leonardo Blair
  • “In the end, it remains the choice of the congregation whom they call to be a pastor. If a man was divorced prior to becoming a Christian, then 2 Corinthians 5:17 comes into play: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” A divorced man’s pre-Christian life is certainly part of the “old things” that pass away. Life in Christ warrants for all believers a “new lease” on life. Congregations may also, legitimately, conclude that a divorce for a Christian man was so long ago in the past that it should not hinder his witness or his work in the pastorate. There are no hard and fast rules; only principles, to guide a man in the ministry or a congregation seeking a pastor. ” excerpted from “The Divorced Pastor: Is He the Husband of One Wife?” by Michael F. Ross
  • “I really think we need to look at it on a case by case basis, especially if the man was divorced for one of the two biblical exceptions: the wife’s infidelity (Matthew 5:32) or an unbelieving wife divorcing him (1 Corinthians 7:15). Although I respect an autonomous church’s right to set whatever policies it deems appropriate (as long as those policies don’t violate Scripture), I, personally, don’t think it’s right to deny a man the office due to his wife’s sin that he had no control over and may have done everything in his power to prevent.” excerpted from “The Mailbag: Can a Divorced Man Be a Pastor?” by Michelle Lesley

If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Bryant altogether, here is a brief bio from the AJC. Boston-born Bryant, a third generation pastor, is a graduate of Morehouse College, Duke University and Graduate Theological Foundation. As he failed the 11th grade and received a GED, he started at Morehouse College, which is in Atlanta, on probation. He is the father of 5 daughters. Also, his sister Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a relationship counselor for Pastor Chad Johnson and his fiancée Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child, on their OWN reality show “Chad Loves Michelle.” (I am really enjoying this show by the way.)

I listened to Dr. Jamal Bryant being interviewed on a local radio station V-103 last week, and he is very personable and upfront about the fact that he has not been a perfect shepherd. And I especially loved how he closed out the interview with this prayer “Lord, Your Will. Nothing More, Nothing Less & Nothing Else.” The first time I heard that prayer was from Bishop Greenleaf, my favorite fictional pastor! LOL. I don’t mean to be cavalier here because we’re talking about real lives and the saving of souls, but art is inspired by real life…

Anywho, any thoughts Saints?