I went over to New Birth Baptist Church live streaming today to watch what Eddie Long had to say about the accusations he is facing. The church puts it’s service on a site called Streaming Faith. I logged in an hour early because what Eddie Long has to say is news.
Right as the 8 am service was to start the site gave this message:
The Atlanta minister made it clear that cameras would not be allowed in his mega-church this Sunday and that he would speak at a 10 pm press conference between his 8 and 10 am services. Through spokespeople Long indicated he would address his ‘church family’ first.
There is a media room and cameras, at least two Atlanta news stations are also streaming the service.
I was able to start watching the service at 8:27 am on a site – 11Alive out of Atlanta. Channel 2 news service is also streaming. The church was understandably full. From The Writing on The Wall:
I’ve been around the Church for years. Decades even. And nowhere in my experience with consulting pastors do I see a passage of scripture that suggests rocking the UnderArmour to impress your sheep. Does that help them graze more effectively? Do you get more well-shewn Kashmir sweaters if the flock is exposed to the “gun show”?
Yeah, I didn’t think so. Back to the statement.
Bishop Eddie Long is hemorrhaging over this alleged incident, and yet, he allows his attorneys to make public statements for him… and that’s supposed to make it all right?!
It’s bad enough he doesn’t care enough to immediately respond to this mess, he is having a gaggle of white folk talk noise to his highly not-so-white congregation. Yeah, that’ll do it. You dolt.
It is completely obvious why he “feels the Lord” telling him to wait until the Sabbath to respond? In all his years of impromptu preaching, even the verbose Eddie Long will need a ghostwriter for this message. It will caked with legalese and PR speak… you know, like any good Congressional representative busted for the same thing. (What? Too soon?)
There will nothing genuine about this retort because it didn’t come from him. The only that clearly did come from the Bishop are those pictures and the aggressive needs delivered by now four men.
However, he pleads for mercy and understanding… and patience… has earned Eddie Long one fan: Meet Ted Haggard.
The man who hand-led his family through a harangue of male prostitution, drugs and oh yeah, “categorically denying” it every step of the way has decided that what Eddie Long needs is his valuable endorsement…
Good times, Bishop Long. Good times. The more things change, the more they stay the same, no? But hey, we still have this:
“Finally, as I have done for thousands of others over my decades of preaching, I ask for your prayers for me, my family and our church. On Sunday, at New Birth, I will respond to my congregation.”
And the world brother. Because believe me, we will all be listening. You know, just the way your lawyers planned it.
At 8:35 am the church ran a video of Bishop Long’s work in Africa and then the offering, focusing as word of faith prosperity teaching does on sowing seeds.
The choir is filling time, some news reports in Atlanta say the cameras will be cut off before Bishop Long speaks. Others say no. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has reporters in the congregation live blogging the service.
Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal Constitution - New Birth’s mission: Pursue truth about Bishop Long:
Maybe it’s just an ugly scam.
Maybe it’s a well-coordinated, fairly sophisticated conspiracy among several young men to shake down Bishop Eddie Long, a successful, revered leader who has built New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into a powerhouse of Christian service.
Sad as that would be, it would certainly be the better outcome. Because if the opposite proves true and the allegations against Long are valid, the tragedy deepens.
…In the meantime, Long’s attorney has described the lawsuits as an attack not just on the pastor but on New Birth and its 25,000-member congregation. Church members no doubt feel that way as well, and most have rallied to defend their leader.
If the charges prove false, New Birth is indeed a victim of injustice almost as great as that perpetrated against Long. But if the charges are correct, then New Birth served as an accomplice, witting or unwitting, in a gross betrayal of faith.
Under the circumstances, it’s possible that the truth about the alleged seductions can be established one way or the other relatively quickly. The lawsuits include multiple details of travel and gifts that can be verified or discredited. They cite witnesses who will be legally obligated to testify honestly in court to what they saw or risk charges of perjury. Photos of Long taken by the bishop in his bathroom mirror and allegedly e-mailed to the young men have already been leaked, and other material might be forthcoming.
If the truth is not established fairly soon, however, church elders should launch an independent probe of the allegations. That would be difficult for an institution such as New Birth, which bears Long’s strong and charismatic imprint. But people should never be afraid to seek the truth, especially in a situation like this.
8:57 am A singer says to the congregation: “Can I just get you to lose your mind and praise?”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution live blog is loading slow. The 11Live feed is limping.
9:00 am Long goes to the pulpit with his wife. She leaves and four minutes go by before he speaks. He says he’ll be there next week and the crowd erupts in cheers.
My first responsibility is to my family and my next responsibility is not to address the world before I address my family at New Birth.
Let me make a statement for a moment and we’ll be gone.
This is a extremely difficult time, for me, for my family, for you, ’cause many have called you asked you questions, you ain’t got this many phone calls in your life.
…its a time when you actually see the veil dropped and who is with you and who is not with you.
So as a pastor I want to help everybody I just want to talk to you for about 10- 15 minutes- all my sons and daughers, pastors (he names ministers present).
He reiterates it is a difficult time in his life and wants to talk about how to handle difficult situations. Psalm 34:19. There is soft music playing in the background.
He jokes about using his bible, and jokes it will just take a few moments and then he’ll “say what the rest of you came to hear.”
His three points:
1) You got to understand the reality of painful situations.
2) We can control our response to painful situations, we can curse it, nurse it, rehearse it or reverse it
I missed a point.
He switches to the plural ‘we’.
And the feed just crashed. Cameras angles have changed and it’s back. He is talking about elections and voting and focus. I didn’t catch the acronym he is using.
8:58 am Long’s statement:
There have been allegations and attacks made on me. I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man, but I am not the man being portrayed on the television. That is not me. That is not me.
By the counsel of my lawyers they have advised me not to try this case in the media, it will be dealt with in the court of justice. Please hear this. I have been accused, I am under attack. I want you to know as I said earlier I am not a perfect man. … But this thing I’m going to fight. I want you to know one other thing. I feel like David against Golilath. I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.
Long grabs his wifes hand and practically runs off stage. The choir starts again.
The 10 am news conference is running late. Long comes in with an entorage and his wife.
The audio is really bad he is talking about what the church is going to continue to do. As far as I can tell – missions. Sound kicks in.
“On the advice of counsel, I am not going to address the allegations and the attacks. I want this to be dealt with in the court of justice not the court of public opinion. I am going to fight. Fight very vigorously. Things New Birth has stood for … we will continue to do… We’re increasing our commitment to work with youth so things that New Birth have stood for, an increase in that. Without violating what my attorney has instructed me…I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Media calls out a few unanswered questions to the backs of the entourage as they leave.
Update: Transcript of Long’s address to the congregation.
Video of news statement. Note the us of the plural ‘we’. The church has been named in the civil suits, the work in the community is not the issue.