Who’s to Blame for the Eddie Long Soap Opera?

by | Feb 8, 2012 | Charisma Archive

bishop-eddie-long{jcomments on}Why the yearlong circus surrounding Eddie Long involves more than just broken leadership

I don’t know Eddie Long. I’ve never met the guy, have no idea where
his heart is and am in no place to judge where he stands before God. But
considering the soap opera surrounding him over the past year—from a
sex scandal to a burglary case to multiple lawsuits to his church’s
school closing to divorce to being crowned “king”—it’s safe to say this
probably wasn’t the guy’s favorite year. It’s also obvious, based upon
the state and fruit of his ministry, that after walking through a season
of true healing (which I pray he’ll do), he needs to reconsider the
people surrounding him—those in his “inner circle.”

Part of Eddie Long’s true healing, if it comes, will involve ‘fessing
up to whatever mistakes he needs to own. But an equal part will be
recognizing that he, for whatever reason, succumbed to one of the
American church’s most destructive paradigms: the leadership bubble. I’m
referring to the incredible man-made force that insulates thousands of
pastors, bishops, apostles, prophets and ministry leaders (particularly
in the charismatic movement that I cover) and makes them unapproachable
superbeings who sweep in from the heavenlies to deliver divine messages
on Sunday mornings, and then are swept away by the winds of their
assistants, never to be bothered by the commoners.

I’ve met a lot of these leaders (both the self-appointed and non)
and, because of the nature of my job, shared heart-to-heart
conversations with them. The truth is, most have sincere hearts and an
honest desire to see God’s kingdom established on earth as it is in
heaven. (No comment on the other leaders.) But what so often taints
their ministry, reputation and legacy isn’t their own motives, it’s the
culture they allow to be furthered by those who continue to prop up
“God’s anointed” at any cost. This posse of personal assistants, aides,
bodyguards, executive secretaries and the like creates such a protective
cocoon around the leader that it’s no wonder sin and dysfunction spring
to life in almost every case. We were never meant to be so detached
from the Body we’re all connected to—and that’s especially true for
leaders.

To me, that’s the real tragedy of what’s going on at Eddie Long’s
church. Beyond the charade of a so-called rabbi crowning a man whose
character is under question as “king,” beyond the recent apology from both for offending the Jewish community,
beyond even the embarrassing fact that thousands stood by and applauded
this ridiculously bizarre ceremony … beyond all the things wrong with
this picture lies a serious issue of how we build kingdoms for our
leaders—and in turn, how those leaders keep those kingdoms intact.

I seem to remember Jesus having a strong reaction to this kind of
foolishness in His Father’s house. I also recall Him coming as King and
establishing the one true kingdom that renders all others powerless. So
why, after all these years, are so many of today’s church leaders (and
their entourages) still trying to build—and then hold onto—their own
plastic thrones? Have we forgotten that Jesus’ own model of kingship
centered on servanthood, submission, humility and genuine love? Have we
overlooked the fact that Jesus’ definition of a great leader was one who
was more concerned about being “the least” than what title was given to
him?

God help us.

Marcus Yoars is the editor of Charisma. You can connect with him on Twiter @marcusyoars or facebook.com/marcusyoars.

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