Monday, September 24, 2007

Did Juanita miss the warning?

The situation of Prophetess Juanita Bynum and Bishop Thomas Weeks has been a topic of discussion among ministers lately, and I'm sure a lot of other people. An article about this was just featured in the New York Times, and it was probably the most interesting piece I've read on the issue. (Did anyone else have any idea that Juanita was working for Obama on his campaign? I was shocked to hear this one...)

This week I had lunch with Pastor Lisa and our conversation rolled around to the Bynum/Weeks situation. Pastor Lisa and I are basically eating out of the same box of cheerios on a daily basis (we are like minded) so I'm not surprised we completely agreed about the issue. And if my pastoring partners message board is any indication, most of the women in ministry I know feel this way. And that is..."we discern something is awry but we just can't put our finger on it..."

We have been told, "the whole story has not come out yet..." Weeks has yet to make his side of it public but supposedly it's pending.

For what it's worth, I want to share my thoughts however first I want to bring up a very important point that Pastor Lisa brought up and that is...first of all, who gets divorced, then gets married again and a year later writes a book, Teach Me How to Love You, and starts traveling the country doing marriage seminars?

Who would even be qualified after a year of marriage to do that? Does anybody besides me have to restrain themselves from busting out laughing when you hear some single person or newly married person try to advise the rest of us about how to keep it hot, or even how to simply keep it together? Oh puh-leese.

Even if you are Juanita Bynum, (and even if you were not previously divorced), a year of marriage qualifies you to do nothing but sit on the front pew and listen to somebody else talk. Teach me how to love you? Honey, in mere year's time YOU HAVE NOT EVEN BEGUN to know how to love somebody, nor how to advise them about anything as regards marriage!!! (I went one time to a pastor's wives retreat where they had a married woman who had never had children get up and give seminars on how to deal with difficult children, and raise them to love the Lord. Most of the pw's there had to fight back the laughter while she was talking, realizing, until she's been there, she has no clue. Even a teacher has no clue as wonderful as teachers are. Until you have missed three nights of sleep holding a kid's head while they are puking into a trash can with the flu, you don't need to get up and tell everybody else how to do it. Until you have had a toddler lay on the floor and scream and not care one whit how many times or how hard you spank them...then shut up and listen to somebody else teach.)

Okay, so that's one major point - ministering out of season. It is truly not your season after one year to start traveling the country teaching somebody how to do it. But second...

My thoughts are this. I have read most of Juanita's books. I am not against Juanita, let me make that clear. If I were against her I wouldn't have read all her books. Nor am I glad in the least that she was mistreated and abused. Heavens no. However, I do think there is more to the story.

In her books, she candidly details her journey of life and ministry. She shares about the hard times, her first marriage, being abused, getting divorced, living in poverty. She shares about her home church and her pastors and how God impressed on her the importance of her spiritual inheritance and listening to her spiritual mother and father, even though she is an evangelist with a national platform. She details in her book Don't Get Off the Train about how she did get off the path God had for her even while in the ministry, and how she went against the wisdom and advice of her pastor and his wife and found herself in a mess. She shares about how they told her it was not her time and to sit down. Her writings detail about how they would give her warning signs about things and instruct her and she, filled with pride, thinking she knew it all, would walk away from it and do her own thing. And where did it get her? I wish we could just say, "no where" but that is not true. It got her somewhere. It got her to all the wrong places.

I do have to say one thing I have a lot of respect for is that when she found herself in those places, after not heeding Godly wisdom and counsel, she did come back to the house, back to her pastors, and asked their forgiveness and submitted herself to their leadership once again. (Most people don't do that - they have too much pride. They just move on, say, "okay I've learned from that", I'll make a point to try not to do it again" and then rather than go back and confess and humble themselves to their pastor/pastor's wife, they just find a new one so as to not embarrass themselves and deal with their pride.) I do have to give it to Juanita for honesty. When she has made a mistake in the past, she put it right out there on the table, confessed it and submitted herself to Godly counsel.

It does seem though, that this may be changing. Apparently, she's divorcing Weeks, and moving on with ministry as usual. This seems to be epidemic, by the way. (Look at all the ministers we see doing this. Another topic for another day...) The other day she was on TBN and said she's in counseling to try to figure out why she does these things...why she found herself in this situation twice...why she is drawn to such men. Why? Why? Why? Um, go back to the house, Juanita. You might be a big name evangelist, however you yourself have a book about spiritual inheritance and the importance of a spiritual mother and father. I guarantee, your spiritual mother and father had something to say about the decisions you were about to make. God never allows us to get into anything without some warning signs and red flags being there along the way. You know I believe he does that because when it all comes down he wants us to realize, "GOD WARNED ME ABOUT THIS...I JUST WASN'T LISTENING." God never fails to give us a heads up when we are headed in the wrong direction. He doesn't just let His children go off a proverbial cliff.

Why did Juanita gets involved with Weeks? Let's be real. Look at his photo. He's a very sharp looking man. I'm sure a lot of sisters were tripping over their high heels to get to him. There were probably plenty of women over the years swooning in the altar over him, not to mention HIS ex-wife! (That's a whole other story...I won't go there.) So, he's a bishop. You thought that made it safer than your last marriage, but being in the ministry and watching many, many pastors/evangelists/bishops who are not all they are cracked up to be, you should know you can't just go by the fact that he is a bishop, nor that he prays, nor that he can preach well. (Plenty of men look great, can pray and can preach well but that doesn't mean they are right for you...)

It's hard to be single...especially when there is a hot looking bishop that presents himself. But as Pastor Lisa says, "no man is better than a piece of a man..." How true that is.

So, how did Juanita get herself into this mess? No counseling needed. It's a simple matter of the familiar habit of not listening to warning signs and counsel. For some reason, Bynum and Weeks did not have an original ceremony with anyone else there. Months before they had the multi million dollar "wedding" on TBN Bynum and Weeks actually said "I do" legally in July 2002 but kept their marriage quiet until they announced it during a TV interview on TBN's Praise the Lord program. When they said their vows the first time privately, Bynum wore a white sweatshirt, Weeks wore jeans, and he presented her with a $36 ring. Now, why the secret? Does this make any sense at all for two mature adults? What was there to hide? Could it be that somebody had warned her about Weeks and she needed to quickly marry him in a quiet ceremony, and then have the large lavish one when it was "too late" for anybody to complain or give "any reason why these two should not be married...speaking now or forever hold your peace?" For you see, amidst that 7.76 carat diamond wedding ring, and a multi million dollar wedding/reception on TBN, I'm sure somewhere in least once...the God we serve tried to give Bynum a warning loud and clear through all that to STOP, and think about what she was about to do. He probably did not do it through a burning bush or writing on the wall, but instead through the mouths of people around her, namely her spiritual parents, if her writings in the past are any indication. Evidently she has pastors who don't hesitate to advise her even when it's something she doesn't want to hear. Praise God for pastors like that!

What should Bynum do now? According to Pastor Lisa...she should sit down. But before she sits down, I recommend that she go BACK TO THE HOUSE, back to the SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE she talks and writes about, the sit down and listen to her pastors. Once they have determined, through counsel and the leading of the Holy Ghost that she is ready, she can step out again. I don't believe this is that is going to happen, based upon her current actions, but according to her previous writings, she totally believes in this principle.

The New York times asked her, "you call yourself a didn't you see this coming?" Maybe she didn't. But I guarantee somebody did, and I would bet my bottom dollar her pastor, her pastor's wife, or some other Godly man or woman who had the courage to say something - did.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

How sad.
I watched her ministry grow. I attended one of her conferences before she was married. God blew my mind at that conference. It was not what she said that blew my mind--God did.
I am sorry that this is happening. Sorry for her but more so for the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST.
How many times will His name have to be drug through the mud because of "His people"?
Anytime someone is in ministry--there is a chance that Satan will knock them off their soapbox. Be careful that you say you stand-least you fall? She has fallen hard. I wonder how many of us were backing her in prayer calling on God to protect her and her marriage and ministry? I was not this enough I know. An important reminder for us to remember to pray for those in the light. God's name is on the line.
May she find herself back at her original calling.
May God say of her--you are woman after my own heart. May her heart be found pure before the Lord.