@Rodney Sampson, Executive Producer of @BibleSeriesWord for @BibleSeries, Responds To Rev. Wil Gafney’s Twitter Posts:
The patriarchy patrol sent a minion onto my timeline because I critiqued a (black) man of God w/ corporately sponsored sermons.
I am not the least bit surprised that History Channel found a black preacha-man to pimp/promote their series:https://bibleseriessermons.wordpress.com/jamalharrisonbryant/ …
As a seeker of truth, open and transparent dialogue regarding Biblical antiquity, we were originally inclined to feature Rev. Wil Gafney’s blog regarding “Black Samson & White Women” in The Bible Series executive produced by Mark and Roma Burnett and distributed by History Channel and Lifetime. My team was also internally dialoguing on how we could create a national conversation between ministers such as Rev. Gafney and evangelicals that were early advisors to The Bible Series.
Yet, her recent false tweets based clearly on a lack of knowledge and definitive research and truth lead us to believe that she is not seeking an open and inclusive dialogue and conversation regarding the lack of cultural authenticity and inaccurate historical context portrayed in the mini-series; but that she is simply on a self-promoting campaign fueled by her personal attack on those faith leaders that are participating in our Bible Sermons Project. Her erratic tweets don’t promote healthy dialogue, conversation, re-thinking or change in a dominating patriarchal religious culture where “whiteness” is synonymous with “Christianity.” It promotes herself only and why she should continue to be relevant and necessary to her audience. It promotes her platform (i.e. speaking honorariums, book advances, royalties, sponsored “religious” expeditions and mainstream opt-ed posts, etc). Who’s “pimping” the gospel?
We would encourage Rev. Gafney to seek definitive and recognizable change as it relates to racial and cultural representation within the very organization that she is ordained as a priest – The Episcopalian Church. They too perpetuate past and ongoing inaccurate and unrighteous imagery as it relates to the representation of the human species throughout Biblical antiquity, particularly their depiction of Jesus, the Christ, himself. Their quest to become a “gay affirming” church before they become a “human dignifying” church baffles me. Yet, still, there is no record of her resigning her posts, voiding her canonical benefits (tangible and intangible) and continuing forward as an independent servant of this liberating cause. Double standards forfeit authenticity and nullify respect.
Now, rather than to simply ignore the lack of color and representation of women in the mini-series, we created the conversation and dialogue directly with the executive producers (Roma Downey and Mark Burnett). We also sought permission to create an official sermon series inspired by the mini-series in order to create an opportunity for faith leaders of color and beyond to add a complimentary voice to the epic mini-series that millions have watched to date and will potentially engage for decades to come.
Authentic relationships are built over time and that is what we are doing with the Burnetts. Change is inevitable but takes time to realize and manifest. Who knows? Perhaps our process has created influence and access to those decision makers in Hollywood and entertainment based culture who seem to back their convictions with capital; and perhaps one day soon we will see an accurate depiction of Adam and Eve, Moses, Pharaoh, Joshua, Samson and Delilah, David, Mary, Joseph and Jesus (with skin of bronze and hair of lamb’s wool) on the big screen.
Until then, we are left to continue liberating our minds (intellect, will and emotions), souls, spirits and bodies with the “letter” (i.e. multiplicity of versions of the Bible that are published, distributed and available in print, film and cinema). Yet, scripture reminds us that the “letter killeth”, but the “Spirit brings life.” Spirit encourages us to seek change through revelation, connectivity, conversation, dialogue and reciprocity; not isolated pontification, un-merited attack of fellow clergy and grand-standing. Spirit demands that we seek facts before we tweet and post. Spirit demands that we seek forgiveness when our ignorance is discovered rather than #blocking.
The Word is truth because truth is precedent; no matter how it is manipulated or distorted. Just look at American chattel slavery and emancipation of its Southern slaves by President Lincoln in 1863. The same Bible that was used to enslave our people (physically, mentally, spiritually, economically) was and is being used to liberate our people physically, mentally, spiritually and economically. The truth will ultimately prevail.
Finally, remember, it is “History Channel” and not “Our Story Channel”. It is OUR responsibility to write, fund, publish and distribute our story. Accountability begins within.
Again, we welcome intelligent and meaningful dialogue and conversation. However, ignorance and verbal abuse will not be tolerated at all. Grace and peace.
+ Rodney Sampson
Executive Producer, Bible Series Sermons; Advisor, Mark & Roma Burnett; Creator of Kingonomics and Opportunity Hub; Prelate, International Bishop’s Conference; Co-Founder, Streamingfaith.com