Sunday, November 15, 2009

Real Open Talk For Life with WJC

Rebuild the Walls of Our Community
By: Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Houston, TX

If you tuned in last week you will remember that we discussed the necessity of focusing more on the people doing the work than those who refuse to do the work. Chapter 3 is composed of 32 verses of which 31.5 are dedicated to describing who was working and where they were working. As I pondered conversations and meetings from this week that I have been privy to, I have returned to my own wonderment…what work needs to be done in our African American GLBT community and who is assuring that the work is being done.

It was my every intent to move into Nehemiah 4 for today’s study. However, I have found myself lingering in chapter 3 amazed by the work that the people of Jerusalem did in an effort to rebuild the wall and restore their city.

Here is a glimpse of chapter 3:

Ø “Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate.” Vs. 1
Ø “The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah.” Vs. 3
Ø “The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah.” Vs. 6
Ø “Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one fo the perfume makers, made repairs next to that.” Vs. 8
Ø “The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanum and the residents of Zanoah.” Vs. 13
Ø “Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azaniah, made repairs beside his house.” Vs. 23

In order for complete restoration to occur, walls needed to be rebuilt. There were gates that needed to be rebuilt. There were towers that needed to be rebuilt. There were even individual residences that needed to be rebuilt. The work needed to be done and it did get done.

In 21st century Black Gay America what areas of our lives and communities need to be rebuilt in order for this community, our community to flourish in a healthy way?

The Black Church: Many African American same-gender loving individuals, like myself, are rooted in the church. In order for the mainstream church to be fully equipped to minister to who we are in totality, Black church leaders are going to have to move beyond the archaic misinterpretation of scripture and embrace God loves us all and accepts us all without regard to who we love. In many instances it is not because our spiritual leaders don’t know better, they are just not ready to accept the financial fall-out that may occur if they move towards becoming fully inclusive. However tedious it may be, educated and empowered leaders of the Black GLBT community must partner with Black church leaders to usher in this necessary movement to and insure its completion. There is only one table and Christ has set the table for all to sit and be fed. Who will step up to the task of building this new paradigm?

Same-Gender Relationships: Too often I lament with my same-gender loving friends regarding our inability to enter into and maintain a healthy relationship. Why? Why? Why? Why does it seem so hard to achieve this goal? I know I’m as cute as 99% of my friends who are in relationships! I have a job! I have my own home and my own car! Okay, this is not about me! Could it be that even though we are embracing who we are completely, we still hang onto baggage that causes us to believe that we can’t have a healthy long-term relationship? We need more people working on this wall, equipping our community to not only enter into healthy relationships but to stay in them and keep them healthy. Let me know when the class is starting! I don’t want to put up another Christmas tree by myself! LOL!

Inter-Community Hatred: Let’s be real with this thing! Sometimes much of our pain as members of the African American same-gender loving community does not come from the heterosexual community. It comes from our fellow gay brothers and sisters. Words and actions filled with hatred. Lies…truths that are not anyone else’s business…the unnecessary disclosure of someone’s HIV status…rolling up on someone’s partner… The list goes on and on. The question is: who is going to take on the task to correcting this madness? If this type of behavior does not stop we will self-destruct and the blood of those who have fought publically and privately will have been in vain.

As I look at Nehemiah 3 again I see the solution to our issues throughout. First, we all are assigned to get our own houses in order and it is no better time than that present. Secondly, there are so many who are gifted to be community builders and community educators. Let’s accept the task and get to work. How do we respond to this call?

Not to brag on Houston but, I do believe that 2009 has been a very good year for my home city in regards to getting the walls rebuilt. Here are some of the things that are happening right now:

Ø The Men’s Gathering—a dialogue group for African American same-gender loving men
Ø One Voice—a brain child of The Men’s Gathering that is composed of same-gender loving men and women
Ø Brothers Speaking—a dialogue group and book club for African American same-gender loving men
Ø HeART and Soul—a monthly spoken word and visual artist social event that targets members of the African American same-gender loving community
Ø Progressive Open Door Christian Church, Through Him Fellowship—Open and Affirming churches with a worship setting that attracts African Americans
Ø The Fusion Program—a HIV/AIDS prevention program for young African American same-gender loving men between the ages of 16 and 24
Ø Brothers Speaking—a large group dialogue event focusing on the needs of African American same gender loving men of all ages.

All of these groups, organizations and events are designed to rebuild the walls of our community. None are perfect but, all move with the intention of overcoming stigma, self-hatred and homophobia.

It does not end here. There is much more work to be done. Again, the question is asked of you, “What role will you play in this mammoth project? It’s your time to put on your work gloves, pick up your hammer and start the work.

Until next week…ROTFL with WJC!

Please contact me at for further discussion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent points JC. The church aspect is still bothering me...the hurt and pain some in the church have caused is still a soar spot for me. And the new video of Donnie McClurkin spewing his self hate is just an example of young people getting such a hate filled and misdirected message. The issue seems so big and to start to correct seems almost impossible.




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