For the past few years, we have heard the name Le`Andria Johnson in a ‘not-so-positive light.’ But along with her name, is raised the seemingly unfair, taboo subject of church hurt. Is our dear sister crazy, or could she be the poster child of years of being gifted and gutted for the pleasure of the church (the organization)?
A few years back, we saw Sister Johnson in raw form… And that’s in more ways than one. We literally saw her flesh, her bottle, and glimpse at her colorful language. With the reaction the Church gave, one could liken it to Genesis 9:21, but instead of there being only a few people to see Le`Andria, many of her followers and haters alike enjoyed/disdained the view (thanks to the gift of social media). It seemed as if she hit rock bottom. But just as her voice has shocked us, so has her style of presenting frustration. Periscope is her poison, and church people are her plight.
Now that you’re up to speed on the Whitney Houston of Gospel Music, Le`Andria’s most recent rant had a direct result that was immediately made known to all. She was cancelled from her performance at the 2018 Essence Music Festival shortly after proclaiming, “Essence Festival is a couple of days away, and if y’all feel like y’all don’t want me on it, y’all don’t want me on it”. Since her last rant, she has apologized “if” she offended anyone by saying “F— the church” and “F— Christianity” (posted on Instagram, July 10, 2018). This wouldn’t be the first time she has apologized, and if Sister Johnson doesn’t change her presentation, it won’t be the last.
Those who agree and disagree alike are taking the stance of church hurt to either build or break their case in regards to Johnson. Church Hurt can be described as being hurt/offended/scared by the church’s leadership, members, or any affiliates of the organization. In reality, the church has caught a lot of flack for not supporting its members/affiliates in tough times. For instance, Tonex’s family was dropping like flies. He had an outward struggle which he no longer wanted to resist, and the church rejected him like a gag reflex. Tonex no longer fit the mold of traditional Christianity. Some folks still haven’t forgiven Christian influencers such as Jamal Bryant, Deitrick Haddon, Tye Tribbett, James Cleveland, Tina Campbell and others. It’s seems that as long as the sin is covered, we (the Church) can cover you -simply forgetting Romans 5:8, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died.”
The case of church hurt is tried again and again and we are left clueless to truth. But, the attention that sexual assault cases are getting should be the same model for the Church vs church hurt situations. While on “trial,” the defense attorney could potentially build a case based on the Church itself and if it is hurting anyone. Let’s take a quick look at the life of Jesus as he started flipping tables (Matthew 21:12). Johnson’s recent rants have been pointed towards the Church using people, stating, “the church is the only place you can get robbed and nobody call the police.” She made many points including being asked to “give up” or “abort” her baby in order to save face by leaders in the Church. If we go solely on what she said and not how she said it, then according to Titus 1:5-9 leaders of the church are not living up to the standard Paul wrote to Titus.
Although Le`Andria’s delivery may have needed some seasoning, her statements are not the first like this and the scriptures have been written clearly. Who are we to ignore her statements rather than address the corruption that has plagued the hearts of some of Gospels most beloved influencers. As believers, let’s take a moment of introspection after digesting Eph. 5:8-14. If the church keeps hurting it’s members/affiliates, then maybe it is because the church itself is hurt. And yes, we are to expose the corruption, just in a more tasteful manner than our dear Sister Johnson. Before the Church ostracizes another individual, let’s check to see what we’ve done to contribute.