Do You Still Trust Pastor Joel Osteen After His Hurricane Harvey Response?

Hello World,

As I watched the daily coverage of Hurricane Harvey over the past seven days, I’ve marveled over the fact that the course of one’s life can change as easily as a watercourse flows. Can you imagine that one day you’re immersed in the regular monotony of life and the next day all that you know is immersed under rainwater that refuses to recede. I’ve been praying for those affected by Hurricane Harvey as they go about recovering from the ravages of this natural disaster.

Even as Hurricane Harvey developed day by day, stories of how those in its path responded developed day by day alongside it. One of those stories you’ve probably heard of by now is how Senior Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas responded. Osteen was dragged on Twitter last week when he allegedly tweeted out inspirational messages regarding Hurricane Harvey but did not open the doors of his 17,000-seat megachurch to Hurricane Harvey evacuees until he was shamed into doing so. It has been a point of contention whether the church had also been affected by the hurricane and thereby not accessible or whether that was not the case at all. A flurry of news coverage was created by this “Twitter storm” which resulted in Osteen granting various news outlets interviews to explain “what had happened was” and for damage control.

Do I believe that Pastor Osteen responded with too little too late and was shamed into opening the doors of this church? Hmmm…I’ve had to think about my own humble and small church where I’ve attended since I was six years old in forming my opinion. If Hurricane Harvey would have hit Atlanta, would my church be prepared to open its doors to evacuees? I don’t know that we would have immediately because a typical church isn’t prepared to assist in that way. When we’ve had snow storms for example in the A, church shuts down and everyone is encouraged to remain in their homes until the roads are clear and conditions are safe to gather together again. So I think it’s unfair to rush to judgment when most organizations aren’t prepared to service people in natural disasters.

That being said, if the natural disaster, storm, etc. continues, a place of ministry should develop a means to minister to its congregants and the wider community if they have resources available. A small church often does not the resources available to minister to people in the time of a natural disaster or otherwise that a large church like that of Lakewood Church, for example, has its disposal. It’s likely that as Hurricane Harvey continued, the staff at Lakewood headed by Osteen would have implemented a plan to minister to its congregants and the community even without the Twitter storm. I’m sure that many churches throughout Houston have been considering their course of action as well.

And that brings me to another point. Pastor Osteen is not the only pastor in Houston and you would think that based on the news coverage. Is he the only pastor that who did not allegedly immediately implement a plan to open the doors of the church to evacuees? Probably not. But since he is well known, he was an obvious target of scrutiny. And I’m pretty sure the people who were already not fond of his ministry which has been referred to as “prosperity gospel” were some of the loudest people criticizing him. And on the other hand, those who were proponents of his ministry before Hurricane Harvey have probably not been persuaded to not support him based on his Hurricane Harvey response.

Finally, for all of those who have worked themselves into a lather regarding Pastor Joel Osteen, my question to them is: What are you doing to minister to those affected by Hurricane Harvey? If the answer is not much or nothing, maybe all of that energy would be better directed inward or upward. I don’t know why God allows storms, literal and otherwise, in the lives of people but there are always lessons to be learned. Maybe one of the lessons from this storm is that we need each other more than we thought we did…

That’s all I got.

Any thoughts?

 

Greenleaf Mid-Season Finale Recap, Season 2 Episode 8: And the Sparks Fly Upward…

Hello World,

Saints, pull up real close to your laptops or your phones because I’m about to serve you from the sumptuous feast that was laid out in this OWN’s “Greenleaf” mid-season finale !!! And you gon be licking your fingers too because it was sooo juicy!!! Taste and see that the Lord is good! LOL

Crash…

Remember at the end of episode 7, last week’s episode, Grace sped off the Greenleaf estate in a Greenleaf security truck to chase down Mac after he boldly sent flowers to the estate in honor of the one-year anniversary of Faith’s passing? Well, this week’s episode starts off with Grace careening through the woods, pressing her foot on the gas until she loses control of the truck. The truck catapults into a tree and Grace’s face lands on the steering wheel with the air bag deployed. For a second, I wonder if she is dead. But I’m like the heroine of the show cannot be dead at this point. And as soon as I have this thought, she stirs and then wakes up, stunned to realize what happened. She crawls through the window and then calls Darius the journalist on her cell phone. (Am I the only one who thinks the truck was about to blow up? I guess I’ve seen one too many action movies! LOL!) I thought Darius and Grace were through, but obviously, I was wrong.

He takes her back to the estate, where he is enthralled by the grandeur of the Greenleaf home. I guess it’s one thing to write about the Greenleaf dynasty, but it’s quite another to see it up close. He tells the family that Grace was “lucky” to have survived to which Bishop responds with, “We don’t believe in luck.” Grace explains the accident by saying she swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Once Darius leaves, Bishop says, “If you ask me, I don’t  think that was any deer.” He tells his daughter that she has to stop pursuing Mac and Sophia tells her the same thing. Grace says, “We all have our crosses to bear.” Sophia says, “Then you are mine.” Can you imagine telling your mama that she is your cross to bear? I can’t…

When Charity and Jabari get together, it won’t be by accident! As Charity is caring for her son, Jabari calls to invite her to Nashville to record with a group that is coming in from L.A. Y’all know recording won’t be the only happening, right? She agrees to his invitation, but now she has to figure out who will take care of Nathan while she is away.

Before the Triumph train crashes, Jacob finally divulges Basie’s poker scam to his wife Kerissa. Kerissa calls Basie and his wife Tasha Bonnie and Clyde and says she should have known something was up when she found that one-hundred dollar bill on the floor. She tells him he’s got to get out of this situation, but whatever he does, he better not go “crawling back to that mansion and that sneering a** mom of yours.”

Macarena…

The “relationship” that Mac has with his girlfriend Lorraine is like a badly choreographed dance. It’s not free flowing or joyous. Everything he does or says is to squelch her women’s intuition which is trying to tell her that this man is no man at all. She’s living with a monster but she gon learn. The lies that some women tell themselves to keep a man is simply sad.  According to Mac, his niece Sophia is the one who is blowing up his phone all day and or all night although we know it is Michaela from his old building. Lorraine says, “What kind of niece calls her uncle so often?” He says, “I like to be there for her if she needs me.” She then admits that she knows what people are saying about Mac, but she doesn’t believe them. She tells him she loves him. Dumbo.

Outside of whatever church the couple are attending, he calls Michaela to tell her she needs to stop calling him. Michaela says her mother has gone schizo, and she needs a place to crash. “I don’t have anyone else,” she says. But Mac still shuts her down for now.

Charity looks like she is ready to get her dance on at the club although she is singing at Sunday morning worship service. Her dress is fitted and short. Kevin notices,  but that doesn’t stop him from glancing at Aaron during the church service.

Across town at Triumph, Basie Skanks listens to his headphones, dancing around and what not in his office before his Sunday morning service starts. He is trying to get pumped as he wants to make a “withdrawal from the banks of Heaven” he tells Jacob, who catches him while he is dancing. Yes, he expects his flock to make up for the funds he lost in poker. He is a delusional shepherd. In service, he tells them to admit they’re “in sin” and they need to “dig deep” and “sow a seed of faith.” Then he says, they got “skanktafied.” See what I mean?

Back at Calvary, Bishop tells his flock that while he could preach about the wages of sin, he wants to talk about the gift on the other side of the equation. “To sin means to turn away, but to repent means to turn back.” I know that Bishop is no angel, but unlike Basie, I really believe that Bishop believes in the power of God even if his humanity fails him from to time. Grace looks at her father as if she wants to repent of trying to avenge the death of her sister on her own instead of leaving the vengeance to God as He commands. But she doesn’t know how it seems.

Kevin agrees to care for his son while Charity goes to Nashville and she says he can stay at the estate while she is gone. Little does she know that while she has to travel across the state to see her soon-t0-be new bae, her husband’s soon-to-be new bae will be just down the hall from her. She may as well be “dancing the dark.”

The dance between Mac and his age-appropriate beard abruptly, and I mean abruptly stops when he gets a call from Deputy Mayor Leonard who says he will not be getting a job for him after all with his “sick self” because of pushback he has already received. He delivers the final blow when he says, “Lose my number.” Mac believes Grace got to the deputy mayor when Jacob was the one who threatened him. When Lorraine asks him who was on the phone, instead of lying as he had in the past, he says, “None of your business.” He then proceeds to call her everything (including “bottom-shelf” and “off-brand” ) but a child of God before telling her to get out! And the woman didn’t want to go although she did leave. Smh. He then calls Michaela and asks, “You still need a place to stay?” I guess since he has no job prospects, he has nothing to lose by revealing his true character.

If Zora and her boyfriend Isaiah were dancing to “Cha Cha,” the music has stopped . He invites her to listen to him record a song at a studio, but when she truthfully tells him that a couple of his notes were flat in front his friends, he asks to speak with her privately. He clutches her arms and tells her, “Don’t do that in front of them.” It’s obvious this guy may be an abuser so Zora calls her cousin to pick her up. The only problem is that Sophia is supposed to be on the way to meet her mother and Darius at a restaurant.

Karma…

Basie feels betrayed when Jacob comes to him and offers to pay Triumph 2’s debt if Basie would allow him to have the church and disassociate it from the original Triumph. When Basie asks how he is going to get the money, he says he has the money as it was a wedding present from his parents. Yes, Jacob had the trump (not Drumpf) card all along. He says Basie is playing a dangerous game with Triumph’s church members. “If you mess with black people’s money, they will rise up and take it back.” Got that right! I despise a money-grubbing, dishonest pastor. I’m so thankful that I was raised by an honest and upright, God-fearing pastor.

At Mac’s apartment, Michaela gets comfortable on his sofa as Mac pours two glasses of liquor before they watch “Imitation of Life.” Darius and Grace wait for her daughter to show up to meet them for dinner at Farm & Table. Michaela and Sophia do have similar looks, and it’s clear that Sophia could have been one of Mac’s victims if Grace had allowed him to get anywhere close to her daughter. I’m so creeped out as I watch Mac touch Michaela’s hair as she sleeps. Then he touches her knee and continues to move his hands upward. He attempts to kiss the child when she wakes up and kicks at him until she is able to escape his grip. Thankfully, she runs out the apartment.

After tucking in Nathan, Kevin takes the baby monitor to Aaron’s quarters where he and Aaron kick back and have a beer. Aaron gives him advice on finding a place since Nathan can’t seem to find anywhere to rent. Kevin tells Aaron, “Thanks for being so nice to me through all this.” Their arms are already touching and then they kiss! After this, Kevin may find a way to keep living at the estate.

Mac the monster calls Grace and tells her, “You should have left it alone, Gigi.” Grace leaves the restaurant and rushes over to Mac’s house. She believes her uncle has done something to Sophia to retaliate against her although she doesn’t quite know what her uncle is talking about. He calls his niece a female dog and their limbs entangle as they fight. They fall to the floor and Mac lands on top of his niece. With his sweaty, contorted face close to hers, he grabs her throat and squeezes. For the second time, I wonder if the heroine is about to die. But just before the life is squeezed from her, she finds a piece of the broken liquor bottle and sinks the shard into his neck! As the blood gushes from his wound, she screams, “Tell me where she is!” Mac got what was coming to him, but if he is dead, what will happen to Grace?! See why God says, vengeance is mine…

And then it’s over! Wasn’t that good? Are you satisfied or do you want more?!  I guess we will have to see what happens when OWN’s “Greenleaf” returns this summer!

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Mid-Season Finale Recap, Season 2 Episode 8 and my other recaps so far.

Check out a snippet from “And the Sparks Fly Upward” below…

Any thoughts?

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 1 Episode 8: The Whole Book…

lady mae

Hello World,

So, this Greenleaf episode was sooo explosive, I’m tempted to start this Greenleaf recap from the end of the episode and write back to the beginning….but that would ultimately spoil everything so here I go from the beginning…

Wedded Bliss?

In the opening scene, Isabel is nearly drowning in the minutia that is wedding planning. She asks her fiancé Noah to decide whether he wants napkins with the words “Noah & Isabel” or the words “Mr. & Mrs.” on them? (Aside: As a kinda newlywed since I was married three years ago next month, I know the game she was playing. The truth is a typical bride pretty much wants to plan everything and just have the groom show up and say, “I do.” But to demonstrate egalitarianism since marriages are supposed to be about two equals coming together, a bride occasionally asks for the input from the groom although she really doesn’t want it…Marriage is about  egalitarianism. Weddings are not…LOL…)So Noah picks the first option while Isabel was hoping for the second. And before they can get into why they haven’t really agreed on very much when it comes to wedding planning, in walks Grace. I see why Isabel is pushing for “Mr. & Mrs.” because when Grace is around, Noah isn’t really thinking about Isabel. Isabel knows that too which is why she asks Grace who will be her plus one at the wedding. When Grace replies her daughter Sophia will be her date, she offers to pray for her in a condescending but yet not entirely confident tone…

Security Breach

With every episode, we’re getting closer to knowing why Grace really came to town. I think her main goal is to bring Uncle Mac down and prove that his actions led to Faith’s death and if things fall apart in the process so be it. In this episode, Grace approaches Noah about hacking into her uncle’s computer. Noah says it’s no problem as the security team had to do something similar when a church employee was thought to be downloading porn onto a computer…smh…Noah has a revelation for Grace as well. He tells her that after the wedding, he and Isabel are moving to Denver, Colorado.

Pre-Wedding Jitters

While Noah and Grace are getting their digital I SPY on, Lady Mae and Isabel walk the grounds of the Greenleaf estate. As the First Lady is paying for the wedding, she explains how lavish it will be. She says the cherry trees will be like a white tunnel of love. That sounds divine, doesn’t it? Despite the fact that Lady Mae is paying for the wedding, Isabel isn’t entirely sure that her wedding day will go as planned. She confesses to Lady Mae that she is worried that Noah “is still holding a torch for Grace,” particularly since they nearly married 20 years ago. Lady Mae, however, assures her that Noah and Grace are in the past and says that all men seem to be indecisive as the wedding day gets closer. She says, “All men, Bishop included, think as their wedding approaches, is she the one?” She concludes with, “You mark my words. Noah loves you.” Hmmm….Noah may love Isabel, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love Grace more…As they say, you never forget your first love…

Black Lives Matter

Just when I thought this episode would focus on Noah, Isabel & Grace with a side of Mac (which is already a full course meal), the town of Memphis becomes incensed when it is announced on television that David Nelson, the police officer who shot an unarmed, 16-year-old boy Kenneth Collins, will not face criminal charges. Calvary is blamed for having influence in the city as Nelson is a member of the megachurch. Of course the Bishop is none too happy about being brought into the controversy.

Televangelism

Still trying to convince his father that he is a worthy partner in ministry, Jacob convinces his father to take a meeting with the Christian television network executive. Rather than to convince the Bishop that more people need to hear of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the reach of television, he emphasizes the material wealth that can be gained. He says, “I never thought I would own a Jaguar, and now I have three.” That is such a despicable reason to get on television if you are supposed to be a true preacher of the gospel. To me, there is nothing wrong with wanting to have nice things, but things should not be the aim of a ministry on television or otherwise…Okay, off the soapbox and back to the Greenleaf recap…Curiously, the Bishop shuts down the executive with the words, “I will not the hawk the gospel like a ginsu knife” and then tells him to “Get out!” If only I believed the Bishop because I do believe that he has no problem hawking the gospel…Jacob is understandably puzzled about his father’s strong reaction…

Black Lives Matter v. Blue Lives Matter

After the city erupts following the announcement that no charges will be filed against David Nelson, Grace is concerned about his safety and goes to see him in his hotel room. He tells her that he plans to move far, far away to escape it all, but she tries to convince him that he needs to stay and be a part of healing that needs to happen in the city. He listens but tells her he will send her a postcard from Delaware. I know that’s right!

Pastor to Pastor

The Bishop ventures off of the gilded campus of Calvary and into the city to see a more humble pastor who has been publicly calling out the Bishop for his support of David Nelson. This pastor is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and is showing hanging protest signs. But instead of squashing the situation, the pastor tells the Bishop that he will “long for the days when all I did was call you out.” Okay…what does that mean?

What Happens in Nashville

As Grace requested, Noah delivers the contents of Mac’s computer to her on a hard drive. She discovers that he had appointment in Nashville presumably at an abortion clinic. With this knowledge, Grace tries to get Danielle to tell the truth about what happened with her and Mac. Danielle still denies that anything happened until Grace tells she knows what happened in Nashville. Danielle then reveals how Mac came seduced her. He took her to school when her mother wasn’t available, brought them dinner, etc. Finally, Mac took to the church camp to teach her how to “fish” and then she comes up pregnant. They go to Nashville where the abortion is performed. She ask Grace, “Am I going to hell for killing my baby?” Danielle is also concerned that her revelation would put her mom’s scholarship that she is receiving from Calvary in jeopardy. She also tells Grace that she will come forward if she is not the only one. It seems that Mac targets the daughters of single parents…Faith wasn’t the daughter of a single parent, but her parents are obviously distracted by Calvary business…just sayin’…

After doing more digging, Grace realizes that many women/girls have received scholarships over the years courtesy of Mac. They are given out at an scholarship reception that Lady Mae holds each year. Grace confronts her assistant about a scholarship that her daughter received without having to go through the usual application process. The assistant realizes then Grace knows her daughter’s secret and when Grace asks her why she didn’t go after Mac, she says that Calvary is her church and, “the Bible says don’t look back.” Grace also realizes that is if she reveals the scholarship payoffs she will end up wrongly implicating the church when Mac is the sole culprit.

The Secret

So the Bishop and Lady Mae have an intimate discussion in their bathroom. I would guess that all discussions in the bathroom are intimate…LOL…Anywho, as the Bishop is brushing his teeth or dentures (I’m not sure), they fall out or something like that…Obviously, he is sick….Lady Mae asks him when he is going to tell the children what is going on him…Apparently, the real reason he doesn’t want to be on television has to do with some sort of illness…That’s all I’ve got at this point….

First Love

When Grace goes to Noah’s home to tell him what she found out after speaking with Danielle, she expresses remorse that Mac is the reason why they broke up all of those years ago. Noah tells Grace that he always thought she would end up with someone more exciting than him anyway, but Grace says that when she was with Noah, she always felt like “you were home to me.” So that line got to me. Very good one OWN! And just like that, their clothes fall off. LOL

Grace does the walk of shame the next day back up to the Greenleaf mansion as Noah lives on the property and hope that no one notices. Unfortunately, her archenemy Lady Mae is up and confronts her with the words, “You look like you’ve been rolled hard and put away wet.” And that’s a GREAT line OWN! I will have to remember that line…She also says, “You won’t be satisfied until you’ve burned this place to the ground.”

Sunday Mourning

So Noah and Grace sneak looks at each other as they travel through the parking lot to get to the church building. Noah is walking with Isabel while Grace is with Sofia. In the midst of that, David Nelson shows up, walks up to Grace and tells her that he decided to stay in town after all. Right then, the brother of Kenneth Collins approaches Officer Nelson and shoots him in front of everybody!!!

And that was THE END…

Yeah, that was A LOT for one episode…So I’m thinking that the title of this Greenleaf episode comes the gruesome story that Sophia is telling her mother about throughout the episode. Sophia tells her about a Levite in the book of Judges who cut his concubine into 12 pieces. Sophia was puzzled by such a story being in the Bible and I think Grace told her to read the whole book….I think….Also, I think the fact this story came from Judges is about Calvary being judged….

We will see…We will see…We will see…

Any thoughts?

Check out the confrontation between Grace and Lady Mae below…