Sunday, November 8, 2009

Real Open Talk For Life with WJC

“Don’t Get Distracted by the Haters!”
By: Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Houston, TX

As an African American same-gender loving man I have made a conscious decision to walk in my truth and do the work of creating safe spaces for members of my community and other marginalized communities to experience healing, education and fellowship. In this path I have at times found myself wounded by the people who I have often tried to support in their journey.

There was the time that a member of the church where I served as pastor told an associate minister that he had called me on several occasions and I would not return his call. The real truth is that he would leave me messages and then have his number changed so that I would not be able to reach him. I know, that’s a great length to go to…but it’s the truth.

Another time I was having lunch with co-workers and the waiter flirted with me. Someone at the table shared this incident with a leader in my congregation. This leader realized that he knew the waiter so he called the man and told him that I was interested in him and gave him my contact information. I noticed when the man called that he seemed a bit forward and I was a bit taken aback. Once I determined what was going on, I apologized to him and told him that we were a part of very childish prank. He was very understanding.

Most recently I was called in the middle of night by someone who called me a “bitch” and a “faggot” due to a matter that they really had no clue about. It had been a long time since I had heard someone call me a faggot…It was sort of like being called “nigger” by a white person.

All of these people have either benefited or can in the future benefit from the work that I along with other people in my circle perform. So, the question for me is, “Why do people not want to participate in their own healing and why do they continue to bring harm to the ones who have been gifted to heal?”

I realize that I am not alone in this struggle. There are others in ministry who are also wounded very deeply as we extend and expose ourselves to the community.

While in this place of wonder I am again reminded of Nehemiah’s journey to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Chapter 3 of Nehemiah’s story provides details on rebuilding of the wall. It reads….

1--Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors…

2—Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

There are 29.5 additional verses that allow us to visualize what it may have looked like as various families, leaders and groups worked diligently to rebuild the wall of the city. But, when you read chapter 3 you will notice that there are 32 verses in this chapter. So, what about the .5 verse that is missing.

I’m glad you asked! Verse 5b reads, “but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.” Wow! Amazing! I have preached this text on several occasions mostly putting the focus on that ½ verse about the nobles who would not do the work. But today, Spirit has shown me a new lesson out of Nehemiah’s journey. The lesson simply put is, “Don’t get distracted by the haters!” The writer writes 31.5 verses spotlighting the work that the citizens of Jerusalem did in their individual and collective efforts to rebuild Jerusalem. Only ½ of a verse was given to disclose the nobles’ refusal to do the work.


Ø Too often we spotlight those who will not do the work.
Ø Too often we bring to center stage those who cause us pain.
Ø Too often we focus on those who drag our names throughout the community with disparaging remarks.

Many times hurt people delight in being in the spotlight with mad-crazy behavior. Their behavior is often used to get us off track and possibly to cause us to completely abort the vision and the work.

Some tips on how to stay focused on your vision and mission:

Ø Nurture your prayer/communication relationship with God;
Ø Surround yourself with a support/accountability group;
Ø Address unhealthy behavior immediately by conversing and not confronting;
Ø Don’t take it personal…most times it is not about you!

Whatever you are created, gifted and called to do in the church, community, your workplace and or your family, give the greater attention to those who are doing the work with you. Don’t get distracted by the haters….

Until next week…ROTFL with WJC!

Please contact me at realopentalkforlife@yahoo.com for further discussion.

2 comments:

thegayte-keeper said...

AMEN!!!

Nathan "Seven" Scott said...

Hey wait. I was the waiter that flirted with you. LOL! Damn those haters.

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