Actress Meagan Good revealed that she sometimes avoids attending church because of judgmental Christians in an interview with comedian and radio host D.L. Hughley, reigniting online conversations about #ChurchHurt.
Asked by Hughley if she goes to church with her husband, film producer and Seventh-day Adventist preacher DeVon Franklin, Good answered in the affirmative but added a caveat: “Not all the time though because if I’m being completely honest, my experience with some church folks has not been that positive.”
“It’s unfortunate because we’re supposed to be the biggest lovers,” she added. “Even if you disagree with someone or you don’t think what they’re doing is right, you’re supposed to mind your own business and pray for that person. Other times, you’re supposed to correct in love if that’s what God told you to do. And there was no correction in love. It was like a complete assault.”
Faithfully Magazine previously reported how Good was criticized for dressing provocatively in public by a woman during a book event at pastor Touré Roberts’ church, which Hughley cited as an example of one of the actress’s negative experiences.
However, Good made it clear she still has love for her brothers and sisters in Christ.
“At the end of the day, for me, I still love Christians. I will always love the church. I love my Lord and Savior, period point blank. That’s first and foremost over everything,” Good said. “But even though I love some of those people, I have to love them from a distance because my spirit is too sensitive. And even though I’ve gotten to a place of balance, I’m the type of person, if I see someone crying, I’ll start crying. I’m extremely sensitive so I have to protect my spirit because those people don’t always know what they’re doing.”
After Good’s interview began circulating, the hashtag #ChurchHurt reemerged on social media as others started recounted their own experiences. While some revealed experiences bordering on the comical, others shared weightier stories. Experiences of molestation, rape, sexual discrimination, phobia, and toxic theologies flooded timelines. The confessions highlight the disparate realities within the church and a need for the examination and eradication of current harmful modes of ministry, and the intentional development of relevant and relationship-oriented outreach.
Good’s comments reflect an experience that is often met with apathy or intensely rejected in defense of the institution and its leaders. While one person’s encounter or troubling exchanges in one congregation does not represent the overwhelming majority, one cannot ignore the truth of these moments. Whether it’s the alarming cases of child abuse within the Catholic Church or misogyny and sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention, these cases and experiences of trauma cannot be reduced to mere “bad experiences.”
“What the hashtag #ChurchHurt showed me was that lay leaders and hired church workers need to do a better job of being self-reflexive on the ways that we contribute to church hurt,” the Rev. Joshua Lazard wrote in 2018 when the hashtag previously went viral. “Pious language and [S]cripture quotes used in defense of an institution that is the source of pain and suffering is no different than Republican leaders quoting the Constitution and offering First Amendment defenses of a pusillanimous president who is unfit for office claiming ‘make America great again.’ As long as church leaders abdicate their responsibility to create and hold a safe space to hear complaints, accept the grievances and implement ways of change, this injurious dynamic resulting in church hurt will continue unabated.”
For centuries, the African-American church has stood as an institution built on community, family, justice, and holistic freedom. However, shifts in American culture and society have found the church — both White and Black — at an ethical and moral crossroads, forcing us to reevaluate our theologies and historical stances on matters that were traditionally viewed as fixed. Churches and other Christian institutions cannot afford to be silent, but must confront the complexity of issues involving abortion (and understand the woman’s reasoning), gay marriage, sex and sexual orientation and violence against Black and Brown people, LGBTQ individuals, and women.
If #ChurchHurt is to be countered, we must uplift the collective good of the bodies that make up the institution and implement transformative methodologies of ministry and building community. This includes engaging in relevant, inclusive, and affirming activism and reevaluating our evangelism and theologies.
As I’ve stated previously, the church can no longer afford to proclaim a gospel of holiness, love, and sanctification that bears tainted fruit. Therefore, the worship and continuation of denominational and reformational idealism, idols, and nepotism built upon misogyny, patriarchy, personal preference, and sexism must cease. There must be a willingness by a strong few to do the work that will transform and free a sector, people, and nation.