Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.


"No Comment"

So by now you all have heard about Juanita Bynum . . .

But just in case, courtesy of the Associated Press:

ATLANTA — Juanita Bynum, a televangelist who has won a national following with sermons about women's empowerment, was badly bruised in a fight with her estranged husband as they met in an attempt to reconcile, police said. No charges were filed in connection with the confrontation between Bynum and preacher Thomas W. Weeks III, founder of Global Destiny churches, police said Thursday. The fight happened early Wednesday in the parking lot of the Renaissance Concourse Hotel near Atlanta's airport, and a hotel bellman pulled Weeks off Bynum, Officer Ronald Campbell said. "She was bruised up and battered," Campbell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "She had purple bruising around her neck and upper torso."
I thought of many ways to start this post. I first thought of Bynum's quote "This too shall pass" in her media statement that she was recovering from her injuries inflicted by her "Bishop" (quotes intentional) husband Thomas Weeks III. But I didn't think that fully represented the gravity of the matter. After all, anything shall pass if we wait long enough. A spate of unfortunate circumstances. A rainstorm. Gas. Lol.

Then I kept reading the news accounts. A number of followers and ministers expressed sadness, dismay at the situtation the fiery "prophetess" found herself in. Some women expressed fear that if a powerful woman of God could be so preyed upon, what did this say for the rest of us? Some people read much into the first media accounts that the couple were both fighting. Sitting in my hairdresser's chair Thursday afternoon, she weighed in. "She looks like she has a temper. I think she can hold her own!"

Under the dryer a few minutes later, I grabbed a nearby hairbook. Ironically Bynum was on the cover, looking "black church chic." Extensive black weave. Frosted pink lipstick and prominent lip liner. Skin glowing as if literally touched by an angel. Inside she talked about her beauty regimen. Kiehls whole lineup. Olive oil for dry skin. She spoke about her wedding, which, news reports say featured her wearing a bodice hand sewn with crystals and a 7.76 carat ring. What the story didn't say was that she was the wife of an abuser. A broken woman. A sheep primed for the slaughter. I wondered if she had seen that other side of the "Bishop" at the time the story ran. Had he offered her the "right hand of fellowship" by then? Was she yet in denial?

To a former reporter Juanita Bynum's situation seemed a perfect story, perhaps fodder for a future book. "Juanita Bynum, Breaking Free of the Chains of Abuse." $17.99, $20.99 for a consecrated handkerchief too. Now at Barnes and Noble. As a Christian, it seemed yet another sad reason to fuel my doubt of the institution we call the black church. Where were the leaders of Christ who speak up when wrong is done? Why was syndicated radio host Michael Baisden the only one pressing loudly for accountability? ("Why is everyone afraid of these preachers?" he asked listeners emphatically yesterday. "They are men and women like you and me!!")

To me, perhaps sadder than the event itself was the non-statement of uber-Bishop T.D. Jakes, of the Potter's House just outside of Dallas, TX. As I'm sure you know, Jakes is the black leader Bush looked to after Hurricane Katrina. With his seasoned sermons, gazillion member church and T.V. audience, he wields more influence over the blacks than the Congressional Black Caucus, Al Sharpton and Colonel Sanders all put together. I actually went to his church once this summer and found him to be refreshingly humble and true to the Word. (However I would be lying if I didn't say that the post-church book sales lines and made the place seem like there should be a Jesus-themed Ferris Wheel outside in the parking lot.)

But when Bishop Jakes was contacted by the media about Bynum this week, his response was more telling than a thousand sermons. "No comment," the Potter's House said. Perhaps he knew more about the situation than he was letting on. Maybe Bynum had an abusive personality too? Maybe she had beat her husband in the past and this was a case of battered men's rage? Maybe he didn't approve of her union in the first place and considered this to be her just desserts? (Rumors float that Bynum and Jakes parted ways in the past over some differences). Maybe he wanted to wait until all the facts came out before coming out on one side or another? Still, I expected at least a general word for those -- Christians and non-believers alike -- who read the news stories. Something like, "We at the Potter's House are praying for Bynum and Weeks," or "We love Rev. Bynum and her family" or ... dare I say "Jesus does not condone abuse." For example Rev. Cynthia Hale, a dynamic Georgia minister said she was saddened by the incident and spoke of Bynum's faith and leadership in her community.

Instead, the Potter's House chose to speak by not speaking. And in this case, "No comment" said a million words.


At September 02, 2007 6:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if she has a temper, he CHOCKED HER, her life was flashing before her eyes. Very few people are calling him on the carpet for his behavior.
And how do you have a million dollar wedding and a 7 carat ring but you house is rented and someone can throw you out when you miss a payment?

where are our values as a people. Ladies, do not have a million dollar wedding to a man who does not own his own house. Let's be real here.


At September 09, 2007 3:21 PM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

For me, the biggest disappointment that this story has produced is the (re?)emergence of the Christian apologist machine. Rationales like, "Even Christians are only human," predictably followed by "We need to pray for them," do more damage than good, insofar as they excuse - to one degree or another - abusive behavior.

Regarding Dr. Wright's point: The question should be how in the world someone who is supposedly following the path of Christ is flossing to the extent of 7 carat rings and million dollar weddings in the first place? WWJD? Certainly not this.

At September 11, 2007 1:20 PM , Blogger YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

I can only imagine what was going through her mind. As anonymous said, (like when you're in the middle of a car accident) her life flashed before her eyes. The man she loves is hurting her. She probably felt like "this can't be happening to me"... not in the sense of "I'M Juanita Bynum!", but "I'm his wife!".

It's not just heartbreaking to hear about any woman going through this, but it is moreso when you hear of an advocate of marriage, going through this. However, because it truly is complicated, I feel the need to pray for both.

I pray for the "Bishop" because this is a man who has written awesome and topselling book about marriage, going coal-miner deep about the core of a woman, yet reduced himself to a wifebeater. I pray for Juanita because now, alot of people are looking at her like "Hmpf! Take care of your OWN backyard before you preach at me about mine!".

She ran the risk of telling others about her own experiences, only to have them thrown in her face, both by her own husband and us (as a whole).

At December 11, 2009 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

At January 08, 2010 2:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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