July 5, 2010
Two words: Yolanda Adams. I debated whether I should post this video, or even write about this, but it’s 2:53 a.m. and the devil’s got me by the throat. The only way to get him to give up his grip on my gullet is to pry him off, and this is the only way I know how to do it.
I actually got the idea to write this Sunday morning, but I cowered. I chickened out. I thought: If I write this, people will pummel me. They’ll come after me with blazing bullets because I’m so filthy. “You hypocrite!” they’ll say. And I let the damn devil get me. Again.
It’s already started, hasn’t it. <– Deliberate period, there, for you grammar gurus. You’re saying, “See, Melissa? You couldn’t even take a breath before you cussed.”
Well, wannabe saints and disparaging sinners, I have news for you: I’m filthy and I know it. And I know you are, too. You holier-than-thou types don’t fool me. Trust me. Takes one to know one, right?
I didn’t go to church this week. I didn’t know where to go. I’ve attended many different churches in the area, but none of them matched my mood. I needed a breakthrough kind of service. I needed to not be disappointed with the praise music. I needed to not grow impatient waiting on an original, captivating but genuine-hearted delivery of a message. I needed to not be judgmental of a puffed-chest pastor pleading for my 10 percent and above that I owed him God.
So I watched church on TV. I’ve heard the phrase “bedside Baptist” used before to describe people doing this. How original. What message did I receive? Yep. “You should be in a church right now and not watching me on TV.”
Then, Pastor Shirley Caesar appeared on BET’s Lift Every Voice. She looked into the camera and spoke directly to Melissa: “Make it to somebody’s church whose leaders are living holy.”
See, I’m not the type to be a prim and proper, come-to-church-just-for-appearances spectator. I’m not a benchwarmer. I don’t half-listen to a message. I’m going to challenge, at least mentally, every word being spoken. And I’m going to challenge your living those words coming out of your mouth. I’m really not a hypocrite. It’s hard enough for me to even walk through the doors of a sanctuary right now. Don’t waste my time. I go to church for reality. Be real.
But I’m trying. I’m putting forth the effort. I’m waging war against this broken spirit inside me. Just like I’m waging war against the devil at my throat. But the devil won’t win this time. Not twice within 24 hours.
This is the first song I ever danced to in church. This is the song that stifles my too-stubborn Melissa. Sing, Yolanda …