February , 2019

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Pfleger Prays for peace and a quick end to stalemate


By Chinta Strausberg

Saying people ought to watch what comes out of their mouth because it can cause blood to be spilled out unto the streets of Chicago, Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday called for more gentler kinder and gentler rhetoric including the mayor of Chicago and a student-centered agenda for the Chicago Teacher’s Union and the Chicago Board of Education.

Referring to the school strike, Pfleger blamed on “two self-serving sides.” “I think the union and the board have both lost track of who it is we are supposed to be serving. We’ve got great teachers and we got some great people on the board. I love J.C. Brizard,” Pfleger said referring to CPS/CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “I don’t like the board,” he told the church. “I like J.C. Brizard. I am baptizing his son” after Sunday’s service.

“I have never heard the board or the teachers say we’re going to fight all this because we want better schools, say we’re not going to open any schools until we get the text books we need and the infrastructure we need and all the rest we need for our children and the classroom,” said Pfleger. “There are a lot of problems out here.

“The violence is rising in our streets, 30 percent increase in homicides. I am so tired of hearing that overall crime is down. Overall crime is down but homicides are up 32 percent. Really? I am tired of hearing things like ‘well, it’s contained in certain neighborhoods,’” Pfleger said referring to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent remarks on violence.

“Excuse me; so are you sending a message to just stay out of those neighborhoods and you are alright and in those neighborhoods, well, let them kill each other. I don’t know how to interpret that,” Pfleger who took issue with the mayor’s remarks.

And, he got a chance to vent last Saturday when Mayor Emanuel attended the 7th annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival. Pfleger told Emanuel, “Let me tell you something. Don’t say that again. It’s insulting to us who live in Auburn Gresham and Englewood. It’s insulting. I don’t want to hear that again, and he looked at me like he looks…. I don’t work for the city or the church. I work for God. I don’t have to worry about what people think.”

Saying people need something more than Democrats or Republicans, Pfleger said America needs a healing and voiced outrage at the ongoing streets wars that are going on after Interscope Records-backed 17-year-old rapper Chief Keef mocked the death of old Lil JoJo, 18, who was recently slain.

Referring to headline stories about these rappers, Pfleger said, “now threatening on rapping is now turning into blood on the streets…. Lil JoJo gets killed the other day and Chief Keef, 17-years-old and he threatens someone like Lupe Fiasco who has the substance and credibility and you, little punk, threaten a guy like Lupe. Oh no.”

Pfleger said the mother of Lil JoJo called him to give the eulogy at her son’s funeral. However, Pfleger turned down that request saying, “In all due respect, while I mourn the loss of your son, but I don’t think I’m the one because I am not going to sit there and say he was a victim of this. Because when you deal in that death mentality on the street, you set yourself vulnerable.

“Nobody should die. Death, murder and shooting are unacceptable, but when you step into that circle, you become a victim and a target. You could either be a victim or a perpetrator when you walk up in that and that is not acceptable. Ain’t nobody innocent here. It’s wrong and should be condemned, but this garbage cannot go on…,” said Pfleger.

Pfleger once again accused Interscope of allegedly giving a $1 million contract to Chief Keef. Pfleger said that money allegedly helped to fuel the deadly dispute between Chief Keef and Lil JoJo.

Pfleger said it was the same agency that put the money behind 2Pac (Tupac) Shakur who was shot four times on September 7, 1996 and died six-days later.) to keep it going between him and Biggie (Biggie Smalls who was killed in a drive-by shooting in L.A. on March 9, 1997.)

Again, Pfleger sharply criticized Interscope for allegedly taking out insurance policies of these rappers making themselves the beneficiary but at the same time financing controversial disputes like Chief Keef’s Internet attack against Lil Jojo after his death. Pfleger said Interscope makes more money if the rapper is dead. “The only way they are going to make money is that you go to jail because in the contract it says if you go to jail the contract is null and void.

“So they make money even in death, if you do die and they just stay up here in their Wall Street and LaSalle Street offices and play kids one against another…. Lil JoJo goes down. Somebody else rises up. Chief Keef goes down. Somebody rises up. It just keeps rising up. They’ll pay somebody else to do this garbage. Stop being pimped by these companies that are out there using our young people,” Pfleger told an applauding congregation.

“We need healing in this land,” Pfleger who gave the racial incident in Tinley Park as an example. Pfleger was referring to the arrest of Joseph Berndt, 47, who allegedly attacked 51-year old black man who was hired by a bank for the upkeep of a neighbor’s foreclosed home. He was attacked by Berndt while working on that house Berndt is free on a $25,000 bail having been charged with a felony hate crime.

Referring to Berndt, Pfleger said, “He goes after him (the victim) and calls him the ‘n’ word and tells him to get out of his neighborhood and then goes to swinging on him with a pipe and then jumps him and starts chocking him to try to kill him.

“You see Trayvon Martin isn’t some isolate incident down in Florida. It’s a reality all around this country,” Pfleger said. “We need a healing.” “God is able. This is not about him, God’s ability but about us to make the necessary adjustments and alignments and alignments in our life in order for God to move in the way God’s wants to move. God wants to bless us, but we have to be in the position for him to bless us.”

Saying he believes we are in a “divine, Kairos moment,” Pfleger said “I believe we are in a spot where a miracle is headed our way, to our homes, to our blocks, to our city. I believe that God is getting ready to make a move. God wants to come in. He’s just telling us ya’ll got to get it ready, get it together. I’m waiting to bless you. God ain’t holding back a blessing like he’s trying to run us through something….

“God says I want to bless you but I need you to get into position and get ready because when all is in right alignment with God, we will see the manifestation we keep crying and praying about. It will come,” he said.

“We have to reconnect. We have to get a new commitment to God.” Quoting the bible, he said, “If my people…. It is implying an intimate relationship, a personal relationship. God is not after some kind of superficial encounter. God is not just pleased that we come here and give him some praise. It’s easy to praise God in here. Some of ya’ll still don’t do it in here, but it’s real hard when you go out and hell is breaking out in your life.

“It’s real hard when you go into your workplace and there is somebody there you really want to throw out a window but you got to love her because God called you to love her or love him. Some of ya’ll come right here at this church and try to avoid certain people so you don’t lose your religions before you leave service. I bind up that nasty spirit in the name of Jesus,” he said.

“God is not interested in a one-night stand. He’s not going to be your mistress. He’s not going to be your other person. He is not going to get into some casual on again, off again relationship depending upon how you feel.” Pfleger gave as an example some people who say ‘I ain’t going to church today because you don’t know what I’m going through.’ Give me a break, fool. Look down your pew. You really don’t want people to start telling you what they are going through. “When people tell him they didn’t come to church because they are “really going through.”

Pfleger said, “So you’d rather be at home going through with your pity party with the devil than to be in church and have us pray with you and pray for you. I understand. That’s makes a whole lot of sense, stupid.” “God says I don’t want you to bless me because of how you feel. I call you to bless me in season and out of season, when you’re bound and when you are lacking.”

Pfleger said God wants to know if your relationship with him “is so secure and so tight that it really make no difference, that you are like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and say whether you get me out of this fire or not I will still bless your name. I will still give you glory. I know who you are and if you let me come out this, fine, if you don’t still blessed be the name of Jesus.”

“God makes it clear where he stands with us. Nothing shall separate us from his love, but God says I am looking for some people who declared that for themselves…. Nothing is going to separate me from Jesus” no matter what is going on in their personal lives.

“Our relationship with God gets so fickle,” Pfleger said. While in church, he said people get so excited about Jesus but then they “go home and hide behind your blinds, at the job come in with an attitude.”

He gave the example of people who talk on their cell phones and all of a sudden it cuts off. Pfleger said that’s when you enter into a dead zone because there isn’t a way to connect. “Some of us are unable to hear from God and to lift our hearts to God because our lives have entered into some sort of dead zone.  We walk in a place away from God; got into some pig’s pen…and we wonder why we can’t hear from God. Well, get out of where you’re at. Keep walking. Keep driving. That pity place that is a dead zone. You need to come out. You need to come out from where you’re at so we can reconnect again.”

“He tells us we swear his name. If you understand whose name you wear, you should never have an issue with low self-esteem…or self-confidence. If you know whose name you wear, you should not run around trying to get people to validate you,” said Pfleger.

“If you know whose name you wear, you should get up in the morning and say blessed be the name of the Lord. I’m a king’s kid. I am he apple of his eye. I’m a child of God. Do you know who I am? You ought to respect me. Be careful how you treat me. Do not touch the anointed of God. You might die on the spot if you mess with me. You don’t know whose kid I am.

“You’re worried about somebody telling you that you are OK. You don’t need somebody telling you that you are OK. You woke up with God telling you I love you.”

Referring to designer clothes and how some people purchase these clothes to make a statement, Pfleger took a “side bar for a minute and step out of pastor as man” and said First Lady Michelle “wore that dress” when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention where her husband accepted the Party’s presidential nomination. “I’m just saying. She was wearing that dress.”

“But, we go around trying to get all of these names to make us feel like somebody. Some designer doesn’t make you somebody. To the brothers out in the street…that doesn’t make you somebody. I woke up with a name on me. The name on me made the dead rise. The name on me made lame people walk. The name on me made the blind see and the deaf hear and the mute speak. You don’t understand. The name on me called the sun into being, called the day into being….

“You don’t understand whose name I got. I got a name that one day says every knee shall bow, every tongue confessed…Jesus…. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there is something about his” name, Jesus.

“When you walk in the room, Jesus walks in the room. You have what the Old Testament doesn’t have. They have visitation. He lives in you. You are the walking Tabernacle…. You should never have your head down…. You should lift your head up, throw your shoulders back and walk in every place you go because you’re blessed…. You don’t understand whose name I wear.”

“Why would you ever allow anyone to make you think little of yourself,” he said. “You are so precious. God said if there were nobody else alive but you, I die just for you…. He says if my people who are called by my name…. You don’t have to make a name. You don’t have to buy a name. You already got a name….

“If we are going to get God to bless us and deliver us and heal us, then we are going to have to learn about the power of dependency, not on somebody and not on yourself,” said Pfleger. “I know you think you are all that and a bag of chips, but you ain’t. You ain’t even a full bag of chips. I’m talking about the dependency on God. We are going to have to learn about the power of dependency because that’s hard because we live in this very arrogant time. We live in a proud time, proud world full of egos.

“I cringed when I heard Mitt Romney say if you want to do anything great in the world, you need an American,” Pfleger said asking “9/11 didn’t teach you nothing”? 

“I cringe when Barack Obama says repeatedly Osama bin Laden is dead and everybody applauds and screams. So we become a nation that still rests on our arrogance and ego and get excited about somebody getting killed and we call ourselves the moral compass of the world? Please.

“It bothers me when I hear about some crime taking place and you always find somebody in some neighborhood saying this doesn’t usually happen in our neighborhood. Just wait, baby. The chickens are coming home to roost, Pfleger warned.

“We have become such a prideful nation and it’s trickled down into the way we think in America. It’s trickled down in the church,” he said of some members boasting that they are the head of hospitality or the team leader of that. “So What. Don’t allow that prideful stuff to come unto the pews of the church. We are all filthy rags. God wants us to understand something. He wanted Israel to understand it. He wanted America to understand it, and he wants you and I to understand it.

“Don’t think you got where you are by yourself. Had it not been for me…. I am the one who blessed you…. I gave you water when you were thirsty…. I gave you healing. I gave you hope. I have you life. I gave you the breath you are breathing right now.” “Don’t you ever forget who kept you, who provided for you, who gave you breath today. It was God,” he said.

Saying what he has learned in life is that you can “either humble yourselves voluntarily or you can do it involuntarily. God can bring you to your knees…to remind you whose boss, who kept you.”

Speaking on the topic of “The Promise of Covenant,” Pfleger said God requires a reciprocal relationship…and he demands a two-way relationship. “We can’t expect of God and yet decide we are not going to obey him. We are not going to trust him, and we’re not going to love him.

“If you’re not going to trust, obey and love God, don’t expect God to just come and bless you. God is a God of covenant. He says if you do your part, I’ll do my part. You do what I called you to do and I got you. I got your back,” said Pfleger who said many need something to happen in both their personal and corporate lives.

“Life will bring you to some places where you will grab hold the horns of the altar…. Don’t ever become so arrogant that you think you can handle your life. I don’t care how slick you are, how many degrees you got, how charismatic you think you are and how much swagger you think you got because God will bring you to a place where none of that will help you, none of that will hold you.

“You can be the in control person in the world, but God will take you and make you weep, make you cry, get snot all over your face. You won’t care if your weave comes off, your eyelashes fall out. You won’t care about none that. You will cry out, God I need you,” said Pfleger.

Quoting the bible, he said from dust we came and from dust we shall return, Pfleger said the dust of the human body probably comes out to about $3.57. “So before you get all puffy about yourself, the next time you are coming up against some arrogant, egotistical person, just say, ‘What’s up, $3.57’ because that is what you want.

“You can come out of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and still be back living with mama. Be careful how you treat mama…,” warned Pfleger. “Be careful how you treat people because you might need them” one day.

Pfleger said there is one thing that will make you pray “when you recognize your inability and you recognize his divine ability. I can’t do it but he can do it.”

Pfleger said he will never forget his mother. He wanted to go away to college but his father was working three jobs and his mother worked one job. Often, he said, there were no lights in his home “and there was no power failure nowhere but at 8139. I would say but everybody else’s lights are on. That’s alright, baby. We’re going to have a real romantic evening at home and sometimes you light candles because it’s such a different atmosphere.”

Pfleger said his mother said there was no way they could send him to college but told him “I know God has something for you, and I know you’re going to college and when you come out of college you won’t owe one penny.” “I drove a cab, played downtown until 4 a.m., do whatever I had to do because I knew that God had promised….”  Pfleger said he graduated from Loyola not owing “one single penny” and at a time when his parents were struggling to save their home.

“I had a hookup with somebody who can do it…who can make things happen that don’t make sense….”

Asking people to “turn from their wickedness,” Father Pfleger made an altar call for those who wanted a healing. “When you do, he says I’ll hear from heaven and I’ll forgive you and I’ll heal you. If my people, who are called by my name, humble myself, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. Forgive your sins and heal the land, your land, the land from the East to the West, from the North to the South….

“Healing is available to us, to you in your life and me in my life. It’s available. It’s waiting. The vessel of healing is full and running over. God says I just need you to get into position. I just need America to get into position. I just need the world to get into position and I’ll hear your cries like I heard the cries of my children in Israel. I’ll forgive your sins. I’ll wipe it away and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness. And, then I’ll pour my healing upon you.”

Pfleger begged the church if they need healing and a blessing in their personal lives to come to the altar. “We can end the violence. We can end poverty. We can end racism…. This is the time to get it right so we will end it once and for all and pass it on to our children and our children’s children, a generation healed by the Lord,” he said as horns blasted.

“We need to seek the face of God. We need to put a demand on heaven. He said you have not because you have not,” Pfleger said asking the entire church to pray not only for themselves but also for the children.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

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