Warns: ‘Don’t judge. We all have closets’Â
By Chinta Strausberg
The acclaimed Whitney Houston â€œbrought the world to the church,â€ said Saint Sabinaâ€™s Father Michael L. Pfleger who said last Saturdayâ€™s worldwide coverage of her funeral was the â€œbest of what real church was supposed to be, authentic, real, faith and Christ centered.â€
â€œEverybody said that the one thing you had to say about Whitney was her faith was key from her beginning to her end,â€ Pfleger told his members during the 11:15 a.m. worship service. â€œ I know people wanted to get focused on her drugs, but ainâ€™t nobody here that donâ€™t have a closet. Some of us got walk-in closets. Ainâ€™t nobody here that donâ€™t have a closet.â€
Referring to the 48-year-old singerâ€™s growing up in the public eye and always being under Hollywoodâ€™s microscope, Pfleger added, â€œItâ€™s difficult to grow and mature under public scrutiny.
â€œMost of us have the opportunity to grow and get your scars, get your lumps and learn privatelyâ€¦,â€ said Pfleger. â€œI am just glad that we can center on acknowledging her faults and our faults none that are righteous, no not one. Itâ€™s difficult to grow in the public. â€œ
Referring to Houstonâ€™s homegoing and the star-studded performers that included Dionne Warwick, who was the masters of ceremonies, Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, Donnie McClurkin, Clive Davis who discovered Houston, the â€œBBâ€™s and the CCâ€™s,â€ he said referring to Bebe Winans and Â CeCe Winans, Pfleger said, what he admires most about Houston was that â€œshe was bad and she could sing, too.â€
What Pfleger appreciates most about Houston but making it clear he was not condemning other singers is that â€œtoday we got to have all the smoke and screens. We got to have all the stuff going off and dancers jumping down and falling off and things happening and all that stuff.â€
Referring to the Whitney Houstonâ€™s of the world, Pfleger added, â€œThose kinds of singers all you had to have was a good voice and they blessed you because what those folks did they sang out of their heart.
â€œIt was not to entertain because there are a lot of great singers in entertainment, but I want somebody who can touch me on the inside to create something on the outside of me. Singers in the day, they didnâ€™t have all of that stuff. They had a microphone that worked and sometimes it didnâ€™t but all they could offer was a voice out of a heart and a spirit of which they sang.
â€œI wish weâ€™d get back to that. That is the stuff we want to hear. That is the stuff we need in churches and even in the entertainment secular world. Give me something that comes out of your love, your spirit and your heart. I thank God for Whitney because she was a gift. She had troubles and I got troubles and you got troubles,â€ said Pfleger.
Pfleger said he loved her songs especially the one entitled, â€œI Love The Lord,â€ from â€œThe Preacherâ€™s Wife.â€ When Pfleger hears those words he said, Â â€œIt reminds me in the midst of my own difficulties that there is a place I can goâ€¦that there is a throne I have access to and there is a God who says come to me. My burdens are light and my yoke is easy.â€ He asked Saint Sabinaâ€™s choir member Theresa McCall to sing this song.
He called Houston â€œa giftâ€ and said â€œYes, she had troubleâ€ and looking out over the congregation said â€œand so do others.â€
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. attended the funeral and while he sat in a prominent place, he did not speak.
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.