Pastor Jamal Bryant of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple church says his heart and spirit have been broken by the mockery being made by Christians of what he says is a sincere testimony of a former prostitute during a New Year’s Eve church service.
The woman shown in a video that appears to have been first shared on social media by @TrevonPowell, gives her name as Sonia Menzie (phonetic spelling). It is unclear which church the testimony was shared at but Menzie began describing in graphic terms what her life used to be like as a “prostitute” before her testimony was cut short by church officials. The video has since been shared by millions of Christians and others online, mostly as a joke.
Bryant said that a number of Christians sent him the video, but he doesn’t believe Menzie’s testimony should have been treated as a laughing matter and argued that the church failed her by not allowing her the opportunity to be honest about where God brought her from.
“She said, ‘when I was in school,’ this woman is now in her 30s. She’s going back to her teen years, she started in prostitution. So we can surmise then at 15 or 16. Then because she is in a church that is sanctified, says, ‘I was performing oral sex.’ But y’all are so holy you don’t know what that is. So she’s trying to help the church mothers understand what that is, she says, ‘I’m using my mouth.’
“And after she said that the associate pastor lowered the mic,” the megachurch pastor said in a discussion of the video online. When the woman went into even more details about her past sexual behavior, the mic was taken away and she was dismissed.
“And immediately this video goes viral and my spirit and heart are broken,” Bryant said.
He then explained that instead of cutting off the woman and allowing her to be honest about her journey, there are several things that the church could have done differently.
“It’s the last night of the year and her testimony is that she was in prostitution. And she is sharing this to the whole church and not one person runs up to say, ‘are you still in this life?’ There’s evidence that you’re under the influence. That you are broken, that you are fractured. Where’s the women’s department to say, ‘how did you get into this? Who all did you leave in the hotel? What can we do about your housing?'” Bryant said.
He argued that the woman was dismissed because her testimony made the church uncomfortable, and instead of allowing her a “moment for deliverance” she became entertainment for the masses.
“The saints said what God brought you from is too much for you to talk about. The saints said it is not appropriate for you to say what God did for you ’cause you’re not speaking in a language that has been bleached for our comfort and diluted for our respectability politics. So as a consequence, the world today and the saints have made it go viral without anybody pulling a question as to where is she now? What did the church do to put a hedge fence of protection and where are we with a generation that is more sexual than they are spiritual?” he asked.
SOURCE: Leonardo Blair