A couple of years ago, church leaders —especially African American ones— were all up in arms about “the downlow”. A great deal of it seemed to be a knee jerk reaction to JL King’s inglorious book about the subject. Several Pastors hurriedly wrote books denouncing it. Sermons on the downlow (npi) started popping up on Sunday mornings, but a lot of it was church laff-a-palooza. Now, it seems to have passed and all has returned to normal. But has anything really changed and has the downlow went underground in the church? Hardly. But now I question why there was so much hype in the beginning? Was it just a opportunity to sell books and make some money? Certainly, with all the secret (or not so secret) homosexual immorality going on in the church, one would think a plethora of ministries would have been birthed in the wake of these revelations. But don’t trouble yourself looking too hard. Ministry to men and women struggling with homosexuality —secretly and openly— is just as barren in predominately African American churches as it was before the downlow craze.
Pastor Michael Stevens of University City COGIC in Charlotte wrote a book called Straight Up: The Church’s Official Response to the Epidemic of Downlow Living [source]. Of his book, Stevens says:
“Tired of the homosexual agenda trying to “soothe our conscience and level of tolerance,” Stevens fires back with a hard-hitting, in-depth look at the emotional, spiritual, and psychological damage this “nurtured” disease is having on the very core of the black family—the male seed. He adamantly pushes forward on this controversial subject because “we must deal with a disease that is invisible with no symptoms of potential threat or current characteristics of existence.”
Stevens also points out that “for every deception and myth, there is hope and healing.” He offers a four-step process that begins with acceptance, followed by repentance, avoidance, and confidence. The detailed plan, he is sure, will help men walk out of the double lifestyle into a new life full of straight living.”
I’m not singling out Stevens only using him as an example. He does say a lot in the video which is debatable. For instance, he veers off onto feminine men in the church but honestly downlow men arent considered overtly feminine. That would thwart the whole idea of being hidden and secretive and certainly “heterosexual”. But I digress.
Another book called “Deliverance From The Down Low: Deliverance For Men Who Sleep With Men But Profess to be Straight” by Pastor Gary Williams came out about the same time. Here’s another sermon on the subject. Despite the pastor’s self admonishing “preach boy”, its fairly shallow.
So does the church have an answer? The answer? Yes and no. The church needs to acknowledge first that it is part of the problem as well as part of the answer. Stevens says it takes mentoring, modeling and molding to reduce spiritual recidivism among homosexuals who leave that lifestyle. I agree with Pastor Stevens, discipleship (Matt 28:19) is our command. It includes teaching, training and modeling right living in brotherly relationships. But if the problem is as severe as he says it is, why isnt the answer as prominent as the problem? Maybe I’m missing something, but I didn’t see anything addressing the problem at Pastor Steven’s church. The men’s ministry is well…typical. See it here.
The real solution to the downlow isnt a book (which downlow men most likely didnt read), or a fiery sermon about how downlowism is ruining the black community and church (alone, its not). The real solution is out in the open, long term ministry. The other solution for those who think secret sin (that’s all the downlow is) should be tolerated and accepted, is a good old fashioned house cleaning.