After watching this all play out over these last few days…I realized that I couldnt act as a bystander. This situation is very personal and close to me on a few levels.
My family and I were members of New Birth for over 7 years; Bishop Long served and continues to serve as one of my spiritual mentors and influencers; outside of my Dad and Mom.
But more than that I was and am still a “LONGFELLOW”. I along with my oldest brother; as well as the mentioned “PLAINTIFFs” were apart of the 1st class of Longfellows – Bishop’s Young Men’s Mentoring program together. So unlike many in the many Gospel/ministry community I have knowledge of ALL parties involved. And having that makes this entire ordeal so hard and hurtful. I entered the gospel industry community at a very young age – 12 and I will be 21 in March. Over these years unfortunately, I have seen, heard and been subjected to alot of pain, hurt and not so good news of Gospel; but this is beyond anything I have ever experienced. Over the years I have encountered people who have said one thing in public and demonstrated another in backrooms and behind stage. Bishop Long has been a CONSISTENT force of realness and just a straight up dude. He has always been real, honest, caring and giving to many; but to me and my family specifically and personally.
My point is this simply, I am in the unique position to know ALL parties involved and I have to say MY PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE of Bishop Long as a Pastor, Leader, Mentor, Father-like figure and Friend; these allegations completely contradict not a public image but the man that I know and trust personally. I hate the shadow or cloud that is being cast over something as meaningful as LONGFELLOWs; like it was some secret society of sin. Young dudes from all walks of life and family situations need these types of programs; we need the influence and direction of Godly men; and LONGFELLOWs, Bishop Long and the staff reached out and provided that w/ love, discipline, direction, vision, scholarship assistance and fundamentals of becoming a REAL man. Longfellows as an organization and Bishop Long as a Leader and Mentor; were instrumental in my growth as a teenager, now as a man and as a public and platformed representative of Christ.
My heart’s prayer is for resolution and reconciliation. I have been praying and will continue to pray for ALL of my fellow LONGFELLOWS and for Bishop Long and his family. My family scripture and motto has always been ROMANS 8:28 – “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” and over these past few days I have reassured myself with the promise that scripture holds.
IROCC, I am glad that you feel Bishop Long played an instrumental part in your life of becoming a man honoring God. However, the fact still remains that their are some young men from that program that have spoken publically about Eddie Long's illicit sexual behavior. Furthermore, multiple men have come forth with corroborating stories about expensive gifts, luxury plane trips, and questionable photos of Eddie long being sent to these guys cell phone. I can appreciate a mentoring program BUT someone has to DRAW the line as to how far the mentors become involved in each child's life. Apparantly, Eddie Long was TOO involved and CROSSED many lines with these young men. The Bible states also that what one does in "darkness" WILL come to the light (Luke 12:3). In addition, the Bible also states that if a known leader has been doing things outside the Will of God, HE WILL BE REBUKED OPENLY (1Timothy 5:20). In light of the situation, it would be a great idea for Eddie Long to sit down while the investigation proceeds. Notice, I did not say STEP down but SIT down until the matter is resolved. God is a JUST God and He will certainly REVEAL everything that has been going on with Eddie Long and anyone else involved with possibly covering up past similar instances. My prayer is for you, IROCC—in that whatever the outcome, DO NOT LOSE YOUR GRIP ON CHRIST!!! He has not caused this to happen and He is STILL the same. What greater Love is there for a man to lay down His life for His friends(John 15:13). Peace & Grace!!!