Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 5: Closing Doors…

Hello World,

I must say that this was the saddest episode I’ve watched of OWN’s “Greenleaf” (which has been renewed for Season 4!)  thus far and I will tell you why if you continue reading this Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 5: Closing Doors.

Per usual, I will incorporate the title of this week’s episode in the recap and hopefully in doing so, I can illuminate some of the themes explored. And I’m sure y’all will let me know if I have done that successfully or not!

So without further ado…

Knock Knock…

Behind the closed door of her Calvary office, Lady Mae peruses a brochure for Howard Divinity School. (Is she really going to our nation’s capital to study there? I can’t see that. Now, I can see her doing a correspondence course or something like that but that’s about it. She’s too prissy at this stage in her life to submit to classroom rules. What y’all think?) She is interrupted by a call from Ms. Clara who has decided to NOT give the $2 million to Calvary.

Lady Mae tells this unfortunate news to Bishop in his office. He had already heard the bad news and they discuss why this happened when Ms. Clara had originally agreed to bail them out. Apparently, first of all, she learned that their IRS debt was a personal not institutional debt and secondly, she learned that Bishop and Lady Mae are on the brink of divorce. Her family values would not allow her to financially support a church led by a divorced bishop. Then the blame game and bickering start! “Mac was your brother,” Bishop says. “You told me those offerings were not taxable,” Lady Mae says. “I believed what Mac told me,” Bishop says. Lady Mae has a solution. “You’ll step aside and I’ll take over.” She reminds me Bishop that she had a calling and dumped it in the dirt for him and what did she get for her trouble? Bishop says, “Chanel and Tiffany!” Amen! (That’s me not Lady Mae LOL) And Lady Mae’s solution is not a solution at all according to Bishop. “You are sorely mistaken. If we divorce, it will be you who will exit the building not me. That’s nature’s way.” SMH…These two…They are so alike it’s ridiculous…

So I think someone should take a Bible and knock Zora over the head with it, but instead Lady Mae, who is now at home, knocks on her granddaughter’s door to tell her that Bible study will be in 15 minutes. It is now morning, but barely, as it 5:45! Yikes!  Zora thought she would be luxuriating at the Greenleaf estate, but Zora is the one who was truly sorely mistaken. As a new day dawns, Lady Mae and Zora read from the Bible together. Lady Mae has Zora read Isaiah 54:7. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” I know this message is for Zora but I cannot help but think that Lady Mae thinks this verse applies to her calling as well. In fact, below is the entire passage in a different version.

For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God.  “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger, I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.

As Lady Mae and Zora are reading together, Sophia stops by on her way out of the door for a morning run. Zora scowls.  They have such a good girl/bad girl competition going on.

In another part of the house, Charity seems like someone knocked her out. She is an angry stupor and stares at a bottle of oxycontin pills. When Grace comes into her sister’s room to check on her, Charity spews out her anger. “Are you okay?” Grace says. “Why wouldn’t I be?” Charity replies. She blames her sister for her arrest at the Four Seasons hotel.

It’s obvious that not only a new day but trouble is on the horizon when Sophia clutches her side in front of the Greenleaf home after she finishes her morning run.

Sitting By Heaven’s Door…

Now that Clara aine coming up with the cash, Bishop is scrounging around for another solution. He tells his assistant Karine, who is Clara’s granddaughter by the way, to call Percy Thompson. Remember he is the one who introduced Lady Mae and Bishop and was in last week’s episode. Karine says, “I’m sorry about Nana” to Bishop. Bishop replies with, “God will provide,” but Karine doesn’t know how as she has a bemused expression on her face. Man will always let you down in one way or another, but God in Heaven is always our help!

But Rochelle aine worrying about going to heaven’s door when she wants to create hell on earth for the Greenleafs. She meets with her sister-in-law and lawlessness to conspire about how they will take down Bishop and Jacob. Rochelle wants Tasha to get Jacob to sign some papers (to trick him into giving up the church? I’m not sure.) and she is elated that Bishop’s IRS troubles are splashed across the front page of the local newspaper.

Back at Calvary, Lady Mae goes to Deaconness Connie to tell that she need not worry about the IRS scandal. “Bishop will step aside and I am ready to step up and take over.” But Connie is not compliant regarding Lady Mae’s solution. “Mae, it’s my feeling and the deacon board shares my feelings that our best hope for the future is a disinterested third party.” “Who is disinterested?” Lady Mae says. “Why Grace,” Connie says as if it’s obvious. And maybe this is part of the reason that Lady Mae is jealous of her daughter and or gives her such a hard time. Everyone can see that she is called to be a minister and Lady Mae put her calling on the back burner to support her husband’s call.

Also at Calvary, Sophia teaches the little children about faith by blindfolding them and asking them to move around the classroom. Roberto, her boyfriend, comes in and tells her that she is good with children. She says, “I think they’re good with me.” So sweet. He apologizes to her for attempting to push her beyond her sexual boundaries.

And yet in another part of Calvary, in Bishop’s office, Percy has shown up. Bishop inquires about how he got out of his IRS mess. He tells him his lawyer helped him rob Peter to pay Paul. Bishop says that he needs to speak with Percy’s lawyer, but Percy says he already has a ace in the hole. “That pretty little bunny that was prancing about at your party.” He’s been to Rochelle’s website and has discovered that she is involved in crytocurrency. “It’s growing faster than bad grass,” Percy says. He asks Percy for Rochelle’s number and Bishop asks for Percy’s lawyer’s number.

Close The Door…

In the most heartwarming moment of the show, Jacob is spending some quality time with his son behind the closed doors of his office. They are playing chess and his son beats him! This is the first time I’ve seen him and his son alone. Tasha comes into his office, prepared to push these mysterious documents in his face for him to sign. But she is so touched by what she witnesses that she makes up a reason to be there (the ac is too cold) and closes the door behind her. She has a heart after all…

Lady Mae has a heart too but somehow when it comes to Grace, her heart is cold. “So I spoke to Connie and I know about this coup of yours,” she says to her daughter at Calvary. Grace informs her that she is truly disinterested in the job. “I wish the two of you would forgive each other and move on…I don’t know where pride ends and weakness begins. I don’t want the church.” “Good because you will never get it,” Lady Mae tells her daughter. And with that mean-spirited comment, Lady Mae may have sealed her fate. Grace may not have wanted the church before, but now that her mother tells her she will never get it, those just may be fighting words!

After Lady Mae speaks with Grace, Connie has another conversation with Grace about who will take over Calvary if Bishop and Lady Mae divorce. Connie says Lady Mae must be on another planet if she thinks she is the change that Calvary needs at this time. In fact, that change of leadership will lead to a “big for sale sign” on the church. “That will be a change.” Grace continues to resist Connie’s suggestion that she be the one Greenleaf who will change the direction of Calvary. She reminds Connie that the offering went down when she preached last summer and that she will be preaching about Jesus’ unconditional love.

At the Greenleaf estate, Charity is forced to give her son to his father Kevin. She attempts to be stoic as she does so, but when she closes the door of her bedroom, she slides down the door awash in tears. She is coming apart for sure…

Rochelle’s plan is coming apart too because Tasha is having a change of heart about getting Jacob to sign the papers. She tells Rochelle that she hasn’t found the right time to present the papers to him. “Do you want to see Basie again?” Rochelle says. “Then make it the right time.” I’m not exactly sure how these papers are related to Basie’s return, but I miss Bootleg Basie! LOL

After meeting with Percy, Bishop decides that he needs Rochelle’s planning skills as it relates to money to help them pay off their IRS debt. He goes to her office to speak to her in person, but Rochelle Cross is now cross when it comes to Bishop. After he tells her that he feels the Lord led him to her door, she says, “You prayed and it brought you back to this Jezebel? Now why would I want to help you? You can’t throw me out and come back begging for favors.” That door of opportunity was closed.

Tasha gets back on track with the plan as she figures out a way to get Jacob to sign the papers, but I don’t know if she will give them to Rochelle though. During their conversation, Jacob tells Tasha how much she appreciates her help at Triumph. In fact, he considers her a member of the family!

Back at the Greenleaf estate, Zora is listening to music from rapper Ice-T before his “Law & Order” days. Apparently, she didn’t know that he was a rapper before he was an actor. (I guess these Millennials don’t realize that Will Smith was also a rapper before he was an actor! ) Sophia asks her if she wants to go to Zaxby’s and then she gets that mysterious pain in her side again.

Girl Next Door…

When Grace realizes that her mother is calling her as she is spending some time with Darius, she almost ignores the call. They are discussing him potentially being the First Gentleman of a church! But thankfully, she answers because her mother tells her that Sophia is in the hospital!

At the hospital, Grace learns that Sophia is suffering from an ovarian torsion and surgery is needed to see what is causing the issue. After Grace assures her daughter that she will be nearby when she wakes up, she joins her family in the waiting room. Charity’s behavior is odd to say the least. She yells out, “Being sliced open is not fun” and mumbles about losing her daughter. Her family thinks she is drunk and advises her to drink some water. So now we’re starting to see what is at the root of Charity’s pain. She definitely hasn’t had the chance to grieve the death of her daughter AND the death of her marriage in my opinion.

By the time Grace returns to see Sophia, the anesthesia has kicked in and Sophia is nearly giddy as she tells her mother that Roberto wants to marry her and respects the fact that she is saving herself for marriage. She dreams of having a home filled with children and puppies with him and Grace is excited that her daughter is in love (and feeling at ease in preparation for the surgery).

At the vending machine, Jacob has a quick discussion with Zora about staying with her grandparents. Unlike Sophia, she is perpetually moody and complains about gaining weight, not having access to TV and a computer, early morning Bible study, etc. (Y’all know that child is pregnant, right?) Charity comes over then and says to Kerissa, who replaces Jacob after he walks away, “Y’all really messed her up bad.” She attempts to get a candy bar but the candy bar refuses to come out. Like a woman who is out of her mind, she punches through the glass to get the candy bar. And although her hand is bloody, she uses her other hand to eat the chocolate! “I’m going to need stitches,” she says. Her family is stunned silent.

After Charity is examined and stitched up, the family learns that she is on Oxycontin which she was given after her Cesarean. In the midst of all of this chaos, Bishop pleads with Lady Mae once more. “These kids need their parents. They need us. Please let’s put all of this behind us.” But Lady Mae is no longer the girl next door ready to fit into Bishop’s plan. “I’ve reached a point in my heart where going back would be disrespect to God himself. They need their mother and father but they won’t have their parents again.”

Still, as a family, the Greenleafs, with Jacob pushing Charity in a wheelchair, make their way to the hospital chapel and recite the Lord’s Prayer together. And Bishop receives a text from Rochelle while there…More will be revealed later I’m sure…

Once the surgery is over, Grace receives some heartbreaking news…Sophia had ovarian cysts which were causing organ displacement I think. Her ovaries had to be removed thereby making it impossible for her to have children. Y’all, I’m almost started crying especially since we now know that having children with Roberto is a dream of hers and the fact that she is obviously great with children! Sophia wept in her mother’s arms. “I can’t have children,” she says as her mother holds her.  Grace says, “God has got you. You can lean on Him.” That’s kind of hard for her to believe at the moment. All of her dreams of being the girl next door with the white picket fence, handsome husband, babies and puppies seem to be in jeopardy with this horrible news! (It would be so unfair if Zora ends up being pregnant by a boy that she ultimately won’t marry and Sophia won’t be able to get pregnant by the boy she intends to marry 🙁  )

Speaking of horrible news, Bishop finally seems to be coming to terms with Lady Mae’s decision to move ahead with the divorce. He gives her a draft of what they will say to the church the next Sunday about their pending divorce. After he hands the draft to her, he says, “I’m sorry.” She simply says, “Please close the door behind you.” Wow…

Well, that’s it and that’s all…And it looks like there won’t be an episode next week. Apparently, it will return on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 5: Closing Doors and my other recaps so far. If you would like to keep up with OWN’s “Greenleaf,” and my recaps, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 3: Chain of Command…

Hello World,

I thought a major bomb was dropped in last week, but this week’s bomb, which I will reveal later in this Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 3, tops last week’s bomb Greenleafers! Yes, I know Lady Mae announced that she was divorcing Bishop last week, but we saw that coming. I did not guess that what was revealed tonight would be revealed tonight and so cavalierly too. But we will get to that later!

Tonight’s episode was entitled “Chain of Command,” and in keeping with that theme, I will proceed…

Ball & Chain…

So many of OWN’s “Greenleaf” episodes start with Lady Mae sitting at a table somewhere in her fabulous home and tonight was no exception. With her this time, however, are her daughter Grace and her granddaughter Sofia. They casually discuss weather. Sofia comments on the rain the night before and Grace says, “Everything was washed clean.” Lady Mae invites her granddaughter, not Grace, to have supper with her. Nothing too out of the ordinary happens until Marisol brings a manila envelope to her. Beware of being brought manila envelopes. I would endeavor to say that very few of them contain happy things. What’s in Lady’s manila envelope are papers asking for the dissolution of marriage between Lady Mae and the Bishop. Yes, Lady Mae threatened divorce last week and Bishop acted on that intention this week! Seeing the shock on Lady Mae’s face, Grace asks her what is in the envelope. Very rarely does Lady Mae having anything nice at all to say to her daughter. And she is true to form tonight! “After the way you spoke to me last night, if you weren’t family, you wouldn’t even be living in this house.” And then she storms off. I can’t say I blame her. She got grimy with her mother last night and then wants to get all in her grill the next day?! Chile please. With her grudge against Grace intact, she leaves the premises, racing off in her car.

Back at Calvary, instead of Bishop looking like he’s scored a victory in serving his ball & chain before she can serve him, he seems nervous. To make matters worse, his baby daughter Charity is waiting for him in his office. He’s got no patience this morning and refuses to coddle her per usual. Now that Charity has quit the tour, she announces to her father that she wants to preach! “If I’m goong to stay here, I want to move forward with my career.” She tells her father that she even has a sermon idea and everything…something about souls are songs and God being our heavenly choir director. Say what Charity?! She needs to stick making melodies because her sermons won’t be saving souls! After Bishop jokes about wanting to be a baker before he became a bishop, he tells her, “The call to preach is not anyone’s plan B.” That will preach Bishop! The chain of command will not be changing anytime soon.

Speaking of the chain of command, the daughter who Bishop believes is called to minister, Grace, meets with a donor to her legal fund for victims of domestic violence. At Rochelle’s urging, the donor gives a sizable amount to Grace in her office. Shortly afterward, Bishop asks Gigi has she seen her mother. After she tells him no, he tells what he has done!

Also on the chain of command, but at another location, is Jacob. Tasha slithers into Jacob’s office to tell him that she has noticed many torn envelopes in the offering. She thinks one of the ushers from the first service is stealing from the offering. Jacob tells her that he will be meeting with the ushers to see if he can sniff out the thief.

Chain of Fools…

Lady Mae is a lot of things, but a fool aine one of them. With the quickness, she consults with a lawyer regarding Bishop’s request for the dissolution of their marriage. This is one of my favorite scenes in tonight’s episode! Lady Mae tells the female lawyer that Bishop, a “shepherd of 4,000 souls,” has cheated on her with her sister and now he is taking up with a woman half of his age in addition to other scandalous secrets! The lawyer says, “Hypocrisy! Abuse of power! Sounds juicy!” The lawyer seems so delighted by the prospect of attacking this soon-to-be-sullied shepherd that Lady Mae is a bit hesitant to proceed. “Are you a Christian?” she asks. She replies, “No, and you’ ll be thanking me later that I’m not.” LOL. With a $10,000 retainer, she can start right now. However, Lady Mae is not the first soon-to-be former First Lady that she has represented in a divorce. She tells her that her expectations must be realistic. Lady Mae says, “I just want what I deserve.” The lawyer lets her know that what she deserves has nothing to do with what she will get. “Once your bishop is done with you, it’s Cinderella time. At midnight, the party is over.”

Well those words were enough to send Lady Mae to the club. At first, I thought it was Mavis’ club, but Mavis wasn’t anywhere in sight. When will Mavis return by the way? At the club, Lady Mae orders a Brandy Alexander. I’m not into alcohol like that but it sounds like a classy drink, so classy and rare that Lady Mae has to instruct the bartender how to mix it. As she sips, her face is aglow in the blue lights of the establishment.

Lady Mae aine no fool but her baby girl Charity can really be foolish. After Jabari hangs up on her last week, that woman calls him up and tells him she misses him. Within a minute or two, Jabari hangs up on her again and continues his conversation with the woman sitting next to him.

Back at Calvary, Grace has to speak with a reporter who was originally scheduled to speak with the missing Lady Mae. Lisa Noland from The Memphis Monarch is working on an article about the rise of women’s leadership in church. Since Grace used to be a journalist (Has she said that before? I don’t remember.) she takes pity on the journalist and decides to be her source. You know that once Lady Mae finds out, she will be hot!

Bishop still hasn’t heard anything from Lady Mae and now he is downright worried. He heads over to Triumph to see if Jacob has seen his mother. When Jacob tells him that he hasn’t seen Lady Mae either, he tells his son that he has filed for divorce from his mother. Bishop tells Jacob this sweet story about when he asked Lady Mae to marry him the first time. She said, “No” because she had “other plans.” To put a fire under her, he told her that he packed up his storefront church to follow her. I guess he wanted to show her that he was serious. Well, that was enough for Lady Mae to accept his proposal after all. “She’s the same woman as she was back then.” Apparently, Bishop thought that filing for divorce would shock Lady Mae into seeing how wrong she was to threaten divorce and back away from that proposition. It looks like his gamble backfired and he will be the one looking foolish in the end.

Unchained Melody…

Charity continues to be a lost soul as this episode unfolds. When she goes to pick up Nate from Kevin’s new apartment, instead of finding Kevin there, Aaron is there. Aaron is playing with Nate and has even bought him a new toy. She asks,”Are you moving in now?” As a matter of fact, since Aaron did receive a job offer, he will be moving into Kevin’s home. In last week’s episode, the prospect of Kevin and Aaron living together was upsetting to her, but in this week’s episode, she was more upset that Aaron has a new job on the horizon. “I’ve got my own things going on too,” she tells Aaron before taking her son and driving to Nashville!

As she enjoys the music, Lady Mae is still drinking at the club. In fact, Vernon the bartender thinks the drinks must be so good, he is considering adding the Brandy Alexander to the menu! Lady Mae even invites two other women to come to her table, telling them she will pay for their drinks! She asks them if they have heard about a famous preaching woman on TV named Maxine Patterson. When they tell her they have heard of her, Lady Mae tells them that Maxine was her college buddy and they once were going to Howard Divinity School together. At that very same bar, Lady Mae told her friend Maxine that she wouldn’t be going to divinity school with her after all. She was in love and had to stay in town. But now she has regrets. “You give your whole life to a man and in one fell swoop, he takes it all away.” Lady Mae sings the blues. And she is drunk. She is so drunk that she decides to stay at a motel next to the bar. “It may not be what you’re used to, but it’s clean,” Vernon tells her when she asks about the conditions. She stumbles to her motel room where she watches her old friend on TV.

Finally at home, Bishop still hasn’t heard from Lady Mae! And then she calls Sofia and tells her that she is sorry she won’t be making it for supper with her. She also asks Sofia to tell everyone that she is fine and will be back in the morning. Bishop hears and takes the phone from her but Lady Mae hangs up without saying a word shortly after hearing Bishop’s voice. Bishop pretends that he has a quick conversation with her although the dial tone is on the other end.

At Darius’ home, Grace reveals her reservations about Rochelle. “I can’t help but think this whole thing is about Rochelle Cross.” Darius offers to have a friend at the police department check out Ms. Cross.

After arriving in Nashville following a seven-hour drive, Charity busts into a rehearsal and tells Jabari she wants to come back on the tour. Jabari aine trying to her at this point. “I thought you loved me,” she says. He says, “I did.” Ouch. “I gave you what you said you wanted,” he says. Charity agrees and reaffirms that she is back. But Jabari says it’s too late and that the woman on stage (the woman he was talking to when Charity called before) has taken Charity’s spot. “Go home. I don’t want you here.”  I say, “Good riddance.” If you don’t want me, I aine beggin’ you to say.

Chain Gang…

Conspiring like some criminals, Rochelle and Tasha meet at a bar. Tasha says, “How did you get the IRS to reopen the case?” I should have known that Rochelle was behind this IRS shakedown. She’s a crafty one, ain’t she? Tasha expresses a bit of remorse about conspiring against Jacob. Tasha asks, “Don’t you ever worry about God?” Rochelle spits out “James Greenleaf killed my father. It wasn’t just Basie’s father. There are two generations making a mockery of religion…We have to stay the course. I have no time for backsliders.” And this is the revelation that we Greenleafers have been waiting for! The caretaker who died in the church fire that Bishop started to get insurance money was the father of Basie and Rochelle!!! I thought she would have revealed that information in some heated argument with an adversary, but it just came out of her mouth like it was nothing.

Remember Rochelle was once a member of Gethsemane Baptist Church and Gethsemane was the garden where Jesus prayed before he died on the cross. If Rochelle Cross has anything to say about it, she will be offering up Bishop for him to atone for his killing her father. And Bishop did remember that the caretaker had a daughter…Is Basie younger or older than Rochelle? Hard to tell…

Although we know that Rochelle is up to no good, Darius tells Grace his contact didn’t find anything on Rochelle, but his contact did discover a list that the IRS is using to come after churches in which the shepherds of the church didn’t pay taxes on their personal income. And Calvary is at the top of the list!

Speaking of criminal behavior, Jacob meets with the ushers to determine who has stolen from the offering, but all along he thinks his daughter is the culprit. She is the only new usher after all. After the meeting, Jacob busts into Zora’s room as Zora insists she did not steal. After turning her room upside down, he discovers bills in a box! “You lied to me,” he screams to his daughter. Kerissa, who didn’t think her troubled daughter was also a thief, is aghast!

On the other hand, Lady Mae, after having sobered up, returns to Calvary as calm as she wants to be. She asks Karine to schedule a flight to Atlanta. “I’m going to visit an old friend.” We know that is Maxine Patterson aka ThePatti.TheLaBelle baby! At Karine’s desk, she notices that Grace is on the front cover of the newspaper. “The reporter had a deadline and Grace handled it,” Karine states. I’m sure that Lady Mae will go off on Grace about this at another time.

And at the very end of the episode, Bishop, dressed in blue, finally sees Lady Mae at Calvary. He tells her his filing for divorce was a “stupid mistake.” “Let’s just start over,” he says. “We can’t, James,” says Lady Mae, who is dressed in black and resolute. AND she thanks him for filing the papers!!! She says it was her mistake to marry him and make their lives together her calling when she was called by God on her own. She’s ready to move on to “anything other than being at the mercy of a man who plucks at the web of my absurdly constructed life!” What a line!!! Regarding the divorce papers, she says her lawyer has begun to work on the case. “It’s time to go,” she says finally.

And sadly, a lone tear slides down Bishop’s downcast face. The chain of command is being broken…Lady Mae wants to head her own church!!! Y’all know when it’s all said and done, they will get back together…eventually…and what a wild ride it will be till then!

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 3: Chain of Command and my other recaps so far. If you would like to keep up with OWN’s “Greenleaf,” and my recaps, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Any thoughts?

 

 

Seven Reasons Why I Approve of The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s Eulogy at Aretha’s Franklin’s Funeral…

Hello World,

I watched several hours of The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin’s funeral or homegoing (which word you choose is likely a reflection of your cultural origin) on Friday, but I must admit I missed the The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s (pastor emeritus of  Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, Georgia) eulogy of the Queen of Soul on Friday. I mostly watched to hear some good ole black church saaangin and see who was there! Yes, I can be shallow like that. But as far as what the pastors and preachers had to say, I figured it would be what we always hear at funerals – some variation of the person was a good person or decent person, etc. (eulogy definition – a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.) and a come- to-Jesus- while-there- is- yet-blood-running-through-your-veins appeal at the end. I’m in church every Sunday and when I was growing up that was every Sunday and Wednesday so I’ve been to many many church services and funerals/homegoings. But I’m not a preacher nor a pastor and don’t aspire to such a controversial calling but I probably could plan a pretty decent church service or homegoing if I was called upon to do so.

All that being said (written), that was why I didn’t pay attention. Some of you may wonder well wouldn’t that apply to black church saangin too. Probably but given the fact that this was the Queen of Soul’s homegoing, I figured the music would be on another level and it was. But I digress. So later on Friday, after this homegoing of all homegoings had finally commenced, I saw all kinds of chatter online regarding Rev. Williams’ eulogy.

From the AJC Article Pastor Who Delivered Aretha Franklin’s Controversial Eulogy Speaks Out:

“I need people to know that this eulogy was not reflective of God nor was it honoring to nor did it offer comfort to the bereaved or give hope for tomorrow. It was, in fact, trash. And as long as we don’t boldly call this out we are complicit.”

“Aretha Franklin was a mother of four black boys, two of them she had as a teenager. She was all set to bail Angela Davis out of jail. Raised money for the CRM. This eulogy is disrespectful to her legacy. I’m upset.

But since I hadn’t taken it in for myself, I had no thoughts on it. However, my mother told me my father, pastor emeritus of our church, Central Christian Church in Southwest Atlanta, approved it. So I was like, “Uh oh, if my father likes it” but many people that I “know” online don’t like it, there must be an old school/new school dynamic at work.

So finally this morning, I watched it and I kept waiting to be outraged, incensed at the implications and or Trump thread throughout the tirade, but I just wasn’t. Maybe if I had a theology degree as many people who have criticized the message do, maybe I would feel differently. But as a lay person with my own mind, I didn’t mind at all what Rev. Williams said. So below is not the thesis of a theological scholar and I highly respect them, but I respect my thoughts as well.

  1. As a student of history, I love a good history lesson. As a friend of the Franklin family who knew Aretha Franklin’s family and even delivered her own father the Rev. C.L. Franklin’s eulogy, the Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. offered a very knowledgeable perspective about how the Queen of Soul even came to be. I thought it was beautiful that this man who preached the gospel had enough insight to know his daughter did not have to confine herself to gospel music. Williams described in great detail how on one occasion, Rev. C.L. Franklin preached a gospel sermon in an auditorium in Memphis followed up by his daughter’s blues performance.
  2. Rev. Williams talked about how her iconic voice likely was developed. It was born of pain. The best artists of all kinds have gone through a measure of pain. And if you haven’t gone through pain, it’s hard to identify pleasure. In fact, pain and pleasure are twin souls and the most evocative of artistic expressions reflect both of them. Rev. C.L. Franklin’s home was a broken home and he was forced to raise four children on his own. It wasn’t the ideal situation, Rev. Williams noted and surely there must have been some pain felt along the way. It is likely that Aretha Franklin drew from that pain to sing the blues. I mean she made her first album at 14 years old! She was also 14 years old when she gave birth to her first son.
  3. A lot has been said about how Rev. Williams criticized single mothers when the Queen of Soul was likely a single parent for some time. I didn’t see that. He was saying a two-parent household is the optimum environment in which to raise a child. He was not saying that if you are a single parent, your child is doomed to fail nor was he saying that children from two-parent households always fare better than children raised in a signal parent household. We all know situations where that is not the case. But he was saying if it indeed took two people to form to a create a child, why wouldn’t it be optimum for then those two to raise that child? Now there are situations where that is impossible, but that is the model. Also, he wasn’t saying that aren’t any black fathers in the home, but we all know that this a problem that needs addressing.  (In addition, there are many single parents who have chosen to adopt children and that is a choice that should be commended.)
  4. And there are others who believe that Rev. Williams criticized the Black Lives Matter movement. How Sway? He was saving that black lives do matter. And they matter whether we police officers take them or we take them. Yes, police officers shouldn’t kill innocent black people but neither should we. Now, I will admit I don’t like the phrase “black on black crime” because most people when they kill other people kill people from their own race so there is “white on white crime,” “brown on brown crime” and so on. But since his audience was largely black, he was directing to his words to black people. We can support the Black Lives Matter movement AND support eradicating unjust murders in which both parties are black. In fact, it would be pointless not to do so.
  5. Now about his message about the virtues of segregation versus integration. Many of us have said that when black people had to depend on each other, we were more prosperous in terms of creating and sustaining our business models. I’ve never lived through segregation and based on what I’ve learned, I have no desire to do so. But also from what I’ve been told by those who have lived during both times, a certain cohesiveness has been lost in the name of progress.
  6. Speaking of black communities, many people do walk around like zombies on all manner of mood enhancers (drugs). Now, there are other communities who are experiencing this as well (Hello opioid epidemic!) but he was directing the message to the audience. Why is that so upsetting? This remind me when one child is scolded and the child comes back with, “Well, he is doing wrong too” in reference to his brother. That may be the case, but that doesn’t negate your error either.
  7. Back to my first thought. Rev. Williams is the same age as Aretha Franklin when she died last month. Do you not think she didn’t know him? They must have grown up together! That funeral was eight-hours long with dignitaries far and wide but in the end a preacher who had eugologized her father was the one I would dare to say she and the family chose. I know the Queen of Soul belongs to the world, but she was a human being first and she (they) chose him. In sum, all I can say is if you like it, I love it. Who am I to criticize whom you chose to deliver your eulogy?

That’s all I got.

Also I want to note that this is NOT a case of the whole “touch not my anointed” thing in which people are scared to criticize and critique long-time and revered clergymen. NO ONE not even the clergy is above criticism and critique which is what happened with the priests who were allowed to commit pedophilia for years in the Catholic church…

Watch the whole thing for yourself below. What are your thoughts?

Any thoughts?