TSD Memphis



That rattling sound is love being chosen over hate

Dear Lucy: I have read your “love” articles. My question is about hate. It seems to me that hate is the real problem today.


Rev. Netters finds National Prayer Breakfast visit a moving experience


When this year’s version of the annual National Prayer Breakfast got underway in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, the Rev. Dr. James L. Netters was there.


Popping the question best suited for ‘level of honest intentions’

Dear Lucy: I have been dating the same woman for three years now and I am thinking about getting married to her. But each time I get ready to pop the question, I see something about her that I don’t like ...


Catholic bishops, GOP backers hammer President over employee health rule

Page three of the bulletin distributed last Sunday (Feb. 5) at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 1695 Central Ave. featured a letter from The Most Rev. J. Terry Steib, bishop of the Diocese of Memphis.


Time to ‘forge ahead into the 21st century,’ says new leader of Baptist ministers

“…We don’t want to be just an organization of ministers, but we want to make a marked difference in our community. My vision is to expand our efforts in mentoring our boys and continuing to invest in our children’s education…”

– Dr. Roosevelt Joyner


 The Rev. Dr. Frank E. Ray delivered a spirited keynote address during the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association installation service. The MBMA continues to be an active financial supporter for The LeMoyne Owen College, and for the James L. Netters and Henry Logan Stark chairs at the Memphis Theological Seminary. (Photos by Tyrone P. Easley)
 The MBMA has donated tens of thousands of dollars over the past three decades to “deserving seniors who aspire to attend college.” Now the group is being led by new President Dr. Roosevelt Terrance Joyner (right) and Vice President Dr. Luther R. Williams. Also pictured (l-r), Clara Williams and Carolyn Joyner.

A changing of the guard in leadership at the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association (MBMA) “will continue the standard of excellence demonstrated by past administrations and forge ahead into the 21st century,” according to the organization’s newly seated president.

Immediate past president, the Rev. Carl Greer, passed the gavel to the incoming president, Dr. Roosevelt Joyner, pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church, last Sunday (Jan. 8) at Koinonia at 4340 Millbranch Rd. The new administration will serve through 2014.

“Our plans are to move forward into the 21st century technologically, socially, and religiously,” said Joyner. “Rev. Greer’s leadership focused on some very important issues regarding the African-American community – educating our children and improving overall healthcare for our people.

“We want to continue to make a positive difference in our community by expanding the programs we have in place to mentor young people, especially our boys. I want to focus, not so much on political activism, but on making Baptist ministers enablers – enabling our children to obtain a quality education and become successful adults. We plan to work closely with our schools and in our churches to expand our efforts.”

The MBMA has 400-plus members, many of whom are pastors of established churches and outreach ministries. Others are associate ministers, seminary students and aspiring pastors. The group meets every Tuesday morning at the organization’s headquarters, located at 591 E. McLemore Ave. in South Memphis.

Setting administrative priorities

Joyner said the MBMA is building a website that should be up and running by the first of March. It’s just one of the technological advances underway. Expect interactive features that will enable members to post video invitations to worship as well as full sermon messages.

“This will propel us squarely into 21st-century ministry,” said Joyner. “The possibilities are endless.”

As for political endorsements, Joyner said the association does not anticipate making any.

“This is a critical election year and some candidates will probably seek an endorsement. But with hundreds of members, we represent a number of views and political stands. We will not publicly support any candidate,” he said.

“However, we will make a stand when some issue involves blatant race, gender, or religious discrimination.”

One of the MBMA’s most important priorities involves creating a more effective mechanism for helping ex-felons successfully reintegrate into life on the outside, said Joyner.

“Most of these people are not hardened criminals, but they caught a felony case. When they are released, they end up going back to jail because no one will hire them. We’re not excusing lawless behavior, but we want Memphis corporations and other entities to help first-time offenders secure gainful employment so they can become productive members of society.”

Joyner said he has contacted Congressman Steve Cohen, as well as Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell regarding the issue.

“Something has got to change. Ex-felons need our help. The majority of those affected are African-American young men and women. They need our help, and love compels us to get involved.”

Soul-directed sights come into view when resistance is kicked to the curb

Living the life I love

Dear Lucy: Last year I started wearing eyeglasses. I have had to have the prescription changed once this year to a stronger lens. The doctor says that I don’t have any kind of awful threat of going blind or anything like that, it’s just that I have reached a certain age. I really don’t like wearing glasses and I am always misplacing my glasses. It’s really getting annoying because I seem to be obsessed with this thing about my eyes. Any thoughts about this?

– CY

Dear CY: It seems that during the past few weeks I have been having lots of thoughts about my own eyes and other people are talking to me about theirs! You are seeing a doctor and so you should deal with your doctor on what’s happening from a physical standpoint. I have mine checked right on schedule and recently renewed my prescription. My opinion, on the other hand is from a different perspective. When I think about the human faculties of seeing and hearing, this statement of Jesus always comes up for me....“Let those with eyes to see, see and those with ears to hear, hear.” He was not talking about physical eyes and ears. Rather, he was referring to our spiritual sight and hearing.

Here is what has been happening to me over the last two to three months. I let this slip by me until recently when some things started happening to make me stop and really consider. I have been wearing eyeglasses as a necessity for several years now. I really resisted wearing them. My baby sister had LASIK surgery at 40 years old after wearing glasses from the time she was a teen. She called me on her way from the surgery amazed at her new found capacity to see clearly without glasses. I am ten years older than her and at the time that I checked into the surgery, I was told my eyes were “too old.” So, while I don’t receive this business about “old eyes” (or old anything!), I settled on wearing my eyeglasses.

Now, I like to make life fun and interesting. So does my sister, Carole, who also wears glasses. So we buy prescription eyeglasses in different shapes, colors and styles just to entertain our vanity and maybe even make an occasional fashion statement while we use the gift of physical vision. That may seem expensive or extravagant to some, but it’s a choice between the glasses and some other thing to spend money on. We have also found an affordable means of doing this. And, it works for us.

But, lately, I have been misplacing eyeglasses left and right! I mean flat out losing them and not being able to find them. This is a weird thing for me because I believe that nothing in God’s universe can be lost...temporarily misplaced, but not lost. I now have three pairs of missing eyeglasses.

Here is what I am doing about it:

One: I am affirming diligently that they are not lost.

Two: my prayer partner reminded me that I told her years ago to drink Eyebright tea when she had an eye problem and it worked. I went to buy some at Whole Foods and they were out. Since number one and two are not working for me, I have gone deeper into my spiritual arsenal.

So, Three:  I am asking myself, “What is it that my soul is urging me to see with the eyes of my spirit that I am resisting?” This came to me the other day when I left home driving and suddenly couldn’t see out of my glasses very well. I stopped the car and asked myself this question. I asked it with an intention, willingness and expectation that the answer would be revealed to me and I would hear it! Immediately, my vision cleared up and I could see (with my glasses) to drive safely again. Same glasses. Nothing changed except my willingness to see from the spirit whatever God needs me to see.

I was not conscious of resisting my spiritual sight because I like to think that I am always listening and looking for God’s direction. But this thing with these eyeglasses is making me think that I need to check my spiritual arrogance at the door and step up my game of obedience and willingness to see and hear using my spiritual faculties right along with my physical ones.

So, I am giving thanks for both my physical and spiritual vision along with a willingness, intention and expectation for the highest and greatest outcome with both!  Join me in this experiment.

Using my eyes to see and my ears to hear,


(Check out Lucy Shaw’s website at http://www.heartworks4u.com. You may send your questions to her by U.S. mail to: Heartworks4U, LLC; 4646 Poplar Ave. Ste 201, Memphis, TN 38117 or by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)

The love and labor of pastoring 50 years

Special to the Tri-State Defender

In January 1962, the Rev. Coleman Crawford Jr. was called to the pastorate of Grace Missionary Baptist Church.

 The Rev. Coleman Crawford Jr. has served as pastor of Grace Missionary Baptist Church for 50 years. (Photo by Tyrone P. Easley)

On January 1, 2012, designated as Celebration Sunday, members of Grace M. B. Church honored Crawford for serving as the pastor of the church for 50 years.

During his New Year’s Day morning message, Crawford chose the theme “Hitherto, the Lord hath helped us” from the book of I Samuel. Traveling down spiritual memory lane, he gave thanks to God as he spoke of his fifty years as pastor.

Crawford’s pastoral works have included baptizing hundreds who professed faith in Jesus Christ, receiving those who came by letter and Christian experience, eulogizing numerous saints and a few unsaved, presiding over a countless number of weddings, consecrating scores of babies, counseling members and couples, preaching thousands of sermons on Sunday mornings and evenings, and conducting numerous revivals.

Grace M.B.C. is anchored in the Oates Manor division of North Memphis at 1203 N. Manassas St., it’s fourth location. The current church building was constructed in 2004.

Following the morning worship service, members gathered at a reception at the church to unveil a banner depicting momentous occasions of Rev. Crawford as pastor and to share gifts of love. Among those present were members who have been with Crawford for the 50 years. They were Joy Rogers Stout, Dr. Inetta F. Rogers, Loverta Rogers Dorris, Sandra Jackson Edwards, Carl Jefferson, and the Rev. Charles Liggins. Two charter members that remain active are Oscar Jackson and Mary Jackson.  Timothy C. O. Stout, CDM, served as chair of the reception.

Crawford’s ministerial accomplishments are evident on the local, state and national levels.

On the local level, he has served as president of the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association, moderator and dean of the Union Progressive District Association and Dean in Congresses.

On the state level, Crawford has served as state president of the North Mississippi Baptist Education Convention.

And on the national level, he is a member of National Baptist Convention Board of Directors. He said he has been blessed to impart knowledge by serving as an instructor in the local, state and national Congresses, the educational arm of the denomination.

Crawford maintains his commitment to support his alma mater, The LeMoyne-Owen College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science.

His pastorate resume also includes having served 43 years as pastor of Fredonia Baptist Church in Coldwater, Miss. and eight months at Middle Baptist Church – Whitehaven.

A public celebration of Crawford’s service is scheduled for April 28 at the Hilton Hotel on Ridgelake Blvd. at 5 p.m. For more information, including tickets, call the church at 901-527-9144. The Rev. Dr. Inetta F. Rogers is chair and the Rev. Mack Holloway is co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee.

Curiosity trumps fatigue in the quest for growth

Living the life I love
 Lucy Shaw

Dear Lucy: It is nearing the end of December already. It seems that so many people pass away during this time of year. Many of them are older people. It seems like they just decide that they don’t want to do another year. Maybe they know something we don’t know. So much is changing in the world and so fast. It’s time for another year and I can’t get excited about it. I’m not depressed, just not excited. Am I the only one tired?

– PK

Dear PK: I suppose that if I could ask the question just right, I could Google and find out if it’s true that December is the big month for deaths of a certain age. So often I tend to be more aware of death or birth or birthdays or anything else simply because I am thinking about it and paying greater attention. In the last three weeks, I had a personal stake in three different deaths ranging from ten years old to ninety. As I focused on these deaths I began to pay attention to the whole subject of death and dying including the ending of one calendar year and the start of another. So I feel a little of what you are talking about.

This is the time of year when we ask many life-changing questions. There will be many essays written and sermons preached on this topic for the next month or so. The essence of growth is curiosity. Curiosity is our spiritual birthright. We are constantly asking who, where, why, when and what. The trick to success is asking the right question and having the wisdom to balance our search for the answer with the patience and ability to wait and be quiet so that we can hear the answer.

Sometimes we ask “why?” just to wallow in the “why.” We don’t really want the answer and if we had it we wouldn’t use it or stop asking “why” long enough to learn the lesson contained in the why. Quite often the answer is looking back at us when we look in the mirror. I am the “who,” the “why,” the “when,” “what” and “where.” Sometimes I look so hard outside myself for answers that I forget how absolutely resourceful, wise and wonderful I really am.  What seems like the fatigue of having to face another year could just be my curiosity getting the best of me.

How I wish I knew what the next year will bring! But, I don’t. I can expect to see some people come and some go. I can expect some super days and some not so super. The big definite is that I can expect change. We live in a world of constant change...this is a fact. This change is tiring, invigorating, scary, encouraging, all at the same time depending on one’s viewpoint. And what we do have control over is our viewpoint.

There was a jeweler in Memphis named Las Savalle who passed away this year. Each time someone he knew or someone well known in the city passed away, he would put their name on his store marquee in honor of their lives. No matter who it was or what they had done, he would simply create a headline that said, “Memphis is a better place because John Doe was here.” I remember shortly after my husband’s death, the shock and simultaneous comfort I felt when I passed the store and looking up read, “Memphis is better because Harold Shaw was here.”

Las was a truly fine gentleman and what he knew was that we are all connected and we are all important. And this brings me to the question I want to ask of myself this year: “What am I willing to do this year to become better in ways that not only enrich me but also bless the rest of the world?”

What I do is important and makes a difference. I won’t judge according to what anyone else thinks about me. I will judge according to what I know I can be. I can be the one who will be missed by the entire world simply because I lived and made a choice to make a difference by elevating my own mind, and spirit.

I make a choice to remember that what I think about myself as connected to every other person, place and thing in this world is an awesome responsibility. Everyone I reach out to touch with love may not choose to touch back. I don’t control that. But I do control my willingness to keep on reaching, caring, giving, sharing and being curious. If that makes us tired sometimes, PK, we will just have to wait for the inevitable change!

Happy New Year!


Check out Lucy Shaw’s website at http://www.heartworks4u.com. You may send your questions to her by U.S. mail to: Heartworks4U, LLC; 4646 Poplar Ave. Ste 201, Memphis, TN 38117 or by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)

Trusting in the ‘One’ treasure

Living the life I love

Dear Lucy: I was looking on line at the items at Christies Auctions that belonged to the actress Elizabeth Taylor. There are millions of dollars in jewelry. I don’t know who will buy them or who will actually get the money for them. But the pieces are unbelievably beautiful and unbelievably expensive.  How could someone spend that kind of money on jewelry?

– M.S.

Dear M.S.: I went online and took a look at what you are referring to. You are correct. The collection is awesome! One would have to have a mega-movie star status to even have an occasion to wear most of the pieces. Elizabeth Taylor was certainly a mega-movie star and much loved by her husband’s and by her friend Michael Jackson.

There is a diamond watch in the collection valued at $500,000 given to her by Michael Jackson. It occurs to me that she must have been the very rare friend and spouse with the capacity to inspire a level of love and admiration that caused people to want to give her the gifts that caused her the greatest pleasure. This is quite an attribute for anyone to possess, so my hat is off to what this says about her capacity to inspire such giving in others.  

Who buys such expensive jewelry?  It’s pretty simple…people who can afford it and value it intrinsically and extrinsically.

Beauty and value is in the eye of the beholder. Beyond any judgments about “why,” I was reminded of the temporary nature of life. I am certain that at some point in time before her departure from planet Earth, Miss Taylor had cause to consider that she would not get to take any of her physical possessions with her.  In fact, there will be an equally extravagant and dazzling auction of her clothing! It may be that this lady had the wisdom to enjoy all of her possessions in the moment and let them go. I have no idea what her capacity for philanthropy was, how she gave or to whom she gave in ways that are lasting.

So what can we take away from your question?

This week, I did a workshop for two groups titled, “What’s In Your Treasure Chest?”    Today, during seemingly tough economic times, many of us are convinced that our earthly “Treasure Chest” is dwindling or at the very least it is not growing.  When most people are asked to select their most treasured life experiences for placement in a “Treasure Chest,” they will tend to choose only the “good” or “nice” things as treasures.

Yet, it is the mix of ups and downs, good and bad, happy and sad that teaches us and grows us into wonderful, useful human beings capable of giving meaningful service to ourselves and the rest of the world. By God’s sweet grace, I am certain that Miss Taylor had the opportunity to look into her “Treasure Chest” of life experiences and honor and cherish those that created permanent, enduring and endearing life lessons for her. I was so blessed by looking at that collection of hers that I was able to look into my own Treasure Chest in which I have stored rich memories of both hardships and joys that I am so very grateful for.  Many of them cost me a lot of lost sleep, tears, some sorrow and a few cost me some money. But, what I received in return is absolutely priceless.

As it gets closer to year’s end, do you know what’s in your “Treasure Chest?” While there are many scriptures to choose from about treasures, here is one of my favorites:  “Some trust in horses and some in chariots, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God…” How often have I called upon that name when nothing else would do!

Trusting in the “One” treasure, for you and for me,


(Check out Lucy Shaw’s website at http://www.heartworks4u.com. You may send your questions to her by U.S. mail to: Heartworks4U, LLC; 4646 Poplar Ave. Ste 201, Memphis, TN 38117 or by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)

Door open for ‘Continuing the Legacy Oratory Contest’

The National Black Presbyterian Caucus, Greater Memphis Area Chapter will present the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Continuing the Legacy” Oratory Contest at Parkway Gardens United Presbyterian Church at 1005 East Shelby Drive on January 15.

The contest is open to local middle schools and high schools in Memphis. The top three winners of the oratory contest will receive monetary awards – first place, $150, second place $75, and $50 for third place. A community-based panel will judge all participants.

The following must be submitted:  personal photo, separate sheet with typed name, address, phone number, birthday, high school, grade level and small biography. Also required is a three-to-five minute speech, with content that includes the contestant’s personal, local, state, national, and international perspective on “Continuing the Legacy.”

All essays must be free of grammatical errors and plagiarism.

Entries should be mailed to Parkway Gardens United Presbyterian Church, c/o Greater Memphis Area Chapter, 1005 East Shelby Drive, Memphis, TN, 38116. All entries most be postmarked by Dec. 28, 2011. Essay entries will only be accepted via United States Postal Service.

The winners must be present at Parkway Gardens United Church on Jan. 15 to present essay and to receive monetary award. All winners will be notified prior to that date.

The guest speaker will be James Riley Henning of Dyersburg. The guest choir will be from the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences High School.

For more information, contact Luctrica Lewis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sophia Hardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or call 901-348-0985.

LifeWay funnels 1,273 Bibles to inner city youth

A perfect match

Special to the Tri-State Defender

Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) needed Bibles – 800 to be exact – for each of the 800 inner city youth participating in small group Bible studies at the ministry’s 15 neighborhood youth centers.  

 Daryl Braden, MAM New Hope Center director, conducts an afternoon Bible study. Thanks to LifeWay, each child now has his/her own Bible.  (Courtesy photo)

And Ralph Owen, LifeWay Christian Store manager, needed a ministry to support for a New Living Translation (NLT) Bible promotion at the LifeWay store located at 7720 Polo Grounds Blvd. off Winchester Rd.

“I moved here in August from Dallas, so I was not familiar with local faith-based youth organizations and I had an in-store promotion coming up for the month of September,” said Owen. “When I googled ‘Memphis Ministries’ and Memphis Athletic Ministries popped up, I knew that I had indeed found the perfect match.”

At MAM, there always is a need for Bibles that the kids can call their own, James Armfield, MAM president and chief executive officer.

“Before this year’s after school programs started, we discussed in staff meeting how great it would be if each child had his own Bible, but the prospect of coming up with 800 Bibles seemed like such a large undertaking. So we were more than overjoyed when Ralph called to see if we could use Bibles,” said Armfield.

LifeWay asked its customers to purchase the regularly priced $19.99 Bible for $5.00 and donate a Bible to MAM. The response from customers was overwhelmingly positive, causing LifeWay management to continue the promotion through the end of October. A total of 1,273 Bibles were purchased.

 The Bibles donated to MAM were a compact pocket NLT (New Living Translation) Bible that is very popular with kids of all ages. The language is easy to understand, the Bibles come in a variety of fun colors, and the small size makes it easy for youth to carry in backpacks, purses and pockets.

Daryl Braden, MAM neighborhood director for the MAM New Hope Center, said the are really enjoying having their own Bibles.

“They have been more diligent in remembering to bring their Bibles everyday and are taking notes, marking Scripture and paying closer attention to what they are being taught,” said Braden.

“It is pretty cool to have my own Bible. I like the bright color and I like to carry it with me in my backpack,” said Tamara Morton, age 11, a fifth- grader at Grandview Elementary.

“This promotion has been a perfect match for everyone. LifeWay is a not for profit company that makes significant contributions to Christian missions and ministries. Giving Bibles to MAM not only increased sales, but also gave our customers an opportunity to give to the poor in our community,” said Owen.

“And from a personal standpoint, I grew up playing sports and heard the Gospel for the first time while playing football, so the premise of combining sports with youth ministry greatly appeals to me.”

So much appeal that Owen and the staff at LifeWay have already committed to sponsoring Bibles for MAM again next September.

Is the ‘Church’ obsolete? Scandals fuel questions

bishoplong-200Reports of a fight this past Sunday at New Salem Baptist Church between the wife and alleged mistress of New Salem’s pastor, Frank E. Ray, are circulating widely, landing in at least one Bible study session on Wednesday night.

The incident at New Salem unfolded the day after news surfaced that Atlanta-based mega church pastor Bishop Eddie Long would be taking an immediate sabbatical from the pulpit. Long’s sabbatical and his now estranged wife’s move for a divorce stem from highly publicized lawsuits accusing Long of sexually abusing young men under his guidance. After vociferously denying the charges, Long has settled out of court.

For some, the two church-related incidents, along with several other recent church-associated happenings, apparently is enough to wonder whether something is amiss with the so-called modern-day church.

At Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church on Wednesday night, the scandals seeped into Bible class, where the pastor, the Rev. Ralph White, was leading a discussion about how such incidents affect those who desire – and need – to maintain a faith in their church, and in the idea of church as a whole.

“We’ve heard about it all, but I’m telling you it’s about more than just what this man has done. The man may have a problem, but it hurts us all as a church body because it hurts our brothers and sisters in that church. It is not our job and we cannot justify what people do, but we have to pray for them to overcome their problems,” said White in his lecture.

“It is not our job to wrestle against flesh and blood. Pray for Eddie Long. Pray for Frank Ray. New Salem is on the same street we are on and they are our family in Christ and they are in pain. Pray that they overcome it. The enemy is after them and men like them because of what they manifest in the body of the church.”

The New Tri-State Defender’s effort to contact Ray for comment had not borne fruit by press time Wednesday night. Among his most persistent critics is talk show host Thaddeus Matthews, apparently the first to give the incident at New Salem a media airing. It was another in Matthews’ highly reactive “Pimps In The Pulpit” series.

The New Salem story was just breaking on Channel 5 when the TSD caught up with Matthews on Wednesday evening.

Tri-State Defender: Why are you persecuting Rev. Ray?

Thaddeus Matthews: I’m not persecuting him. He had a fight in his church involving his wife and several other women. And it all comes from the facts in the police report. You have a physical fight in a church involving the pastor’s wife, that is a news story. It’s an indication of what goes on in that church….

Look, now Channel 5 is reporting it, and Channel 3 has done a piece on it. The mainstream news does this all the time, but they never credit me. I’m the one who broke the story and I should get the credit, but it doesn’t bother me. The people know it’s my story.

TSD: “The Pimp in the Pulpit” series has been highly popular, but is it fair to judge other men’s motives?

T. Matthews: My thing is why is there such a contrast in how some of these church pastors are living, the way their congregations are living, and the resources they are taking out of black our communities, with pennies out of black folks pockets....We have a million dollars being collected in these churches every Sunday morning, why isn’t it being applied in the black community on Monday mornings? And it’s getting worse. The only loans you can get from a bank are to build a church, and that money goes to white contractors.

TSD: You’ve often spoken on the air about yourself being a minister, but how do you justify your own contrast?  Especially with some of the raunchy sex shows?

T. Matthews: I have been preaching since I was 15, and have been a pastor, but I don’t do it anymore. But the difference is that I’m not hypocritical. I’m not trying to hide behind a façade. I say that I’m unrighteous. I say that I am an unfinished work, a building that God is still working on….

Maybe if you talked more about sex in your church, we wouldn’t be having so many kids being born out of wedlock. I’m just real and a lot of people don’t like it. And I’m going to keep on exposing these shyster preachers. What they’re doing is wrong….

TSD:  But are you giving enough credit to ministers who are actually trying to do a good job of leading their churches?

T. Matthews: (Laughs) If I’m not roasting you on the show, you must be doing something right! But I’m watching. And remember, I get my information straight from the people. Is the church obsolete? That’s the question. Can you get more from God at home than you are getting from these greedy pastors on Sunday morning? Wake up people, that’s all I’m saying….

Meanwhile, at Bloomfield Baptist’s Bible study, the Rev. White stressed that, “Our belief is based on the Christian principle that God sent his only son to save sinners, so we have to love the sinner. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we must. And we have to pray for ourselves. None of us are perfect….Think about what you had to overcome with the help of the church.

“When these things happen, the church is where you find the strength to change,” said White. “That is what is damaged when people concentrate on the shortcomings of men, but God never fails. We may fail him, but he loves us!”

Then White made a discussion-broadening turn.

“We know about Frank Ray, we know about Eddie Long, but what about the sin we see on Wall Street? And in corporate America? We all know backstabbers who will use whatever cutthroat means they can to advance on a job. Wanting possessions and positions at all costs is just as bad as any of the things we hear about today, except when it involves our children,” he said.

“When we see the struggles of the world today, it is very easy to understand that Satan is in control of the world economic system. As Christians we must remember that it is OK with being rich, it is Ok to want a nice car, fine clothes and a big house. As long as you don’t let them have you.”