I won’t assume you’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the controversy concerning beloved gospel singer Kim Burrell and the comments she made about homosexuality. Maybe you’ve been living your life, taking care of your responsibilities, and minding your own business. (Good for you!)
If that’s the case, let me fill you in.
During a New Year’s Eve sermon that was broadcasted live via Periscope, Burrell, who is also a pastor, made comments concerning homosexuals that many considered to be offensive and homophobic. You can watch the segment here.
Since then it seems that everyone and their mama has come out in full force against her. Literally. A guest appearance on Ellen was cancelled, and her radio show at Texas Southern University was taken off the air.
Dang. Our sis is really going through it.
Even those who tried to defend her, namely Tamar Braxton and Shirley Caesar, have received the wrath of social media. (Somehow presidents got involved, but this past election has taken enough out of me. You can venture down that political road on your own.)
To be clear, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a Kim Burrell fan, but I think she’s an exceptionally gifted singer and have always thought she was underrated. (Her album Kim Burrell Live In Concert is one that every gospel lover should have. It’s one of my favorites, and can be played from beginning to end without skipping any tracks. When was the last time you did that with a gospel album?) As great as I think she is, I haven’t followed her career. I didn’t know she was a host on Sunday’s Best, or that she was even a pastor. I also didn’t know that she was a featured artist on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie ‘Hidden Figures.’
Hhhhhhmmmm… Maybe I’m the one who’s been living under a rock. Okay, I’ll do better in 2017. :-)
Things seemed to be going really well for Pastor Burrell. It saddens me to see that four minutes of a sermon not even heard in its entirety have taken away the shine she seemed to finally be receiving. It’s nearly heartbreaking.
Here’s my opinion: I don’t think she was entirely wrong, and I don’t think those offended by her words are entirely wrong, either.
Am I talking about this again? Yes. Why? Because it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, those with the power to help heal church hurt actually don’t want to talk about it, and the majority of those who do talk about it do so in a way that is unhealthy. Usually a fight follows, and no good comes out of that.
Let’s skip the arguments. Our brothers and sisters are hurting. It’s not time to focus on who did what to whom, in what way, at what time, and point fingers at each other. It’s time to heal.
Before we proceed, let’s get an understanding. When I use the phrase “church hurt” I’m not talking about petty unforgiveness over superficial disagreements. It’s not about being upset over a parking space or who sung the lead solo during the Christmas program. If that keeps you out of church you have growing to do. A lot.
I’m talking about the pain that runs deep. Trauma. The kind that leaves believers walking away with spiritual PTSD. Overcoming abuse is hard, especially when it comes from the people who you trusted to speak on behalf of God. That’s especially hard, and a lot of people walk away from their faith because they feel it’s impossible to overcome. That’s the kind of church hurt I’m talking about. Below I have listed five things you can do to help a loved one who is suffering from church hurt.