Friday, October 22, 2010

Tyler Perry & The Place Of Parted Company

Hear The Accompanying Audio Podcast

This week playwright and comedian Tyler Perry was on the Oprah Winfrey Show detailing, for the first time, his history of physical abuse, sexual abuse and the adult life struggles that ensued as a result. Tyler described times when beatings were so severe that he once blacked out for 3 days, and sexual abuse from both men (3 before age 10, including one minister who performed oral sex on him) and at least one woman that also wanted to fulfill her lust with a child. Here's a video excerpt of one of the events of physical abuse that changed Tyler forever:

Tyler Perry's description of his early years:

"[It was] a living hell,"...(When shown this picture) "That's hard for me to look at,"..."I feel like I died as a child."..."I could go to this park [in my mind] that my mother and my aunt had taken me to. ... I'm there in this park running and playing, and it was such a good day," he says. "So, every time somebody was doing something to me that was horrible, that was awful, I could go to this park in my mind until it was over."

Tyler Perry on coming to know God: 
"I thought, 'What is the point of living?'" he says. "My mother was truly my saving grace, because she would take me to church with her. I would see my mother smiling in the choir, and I wanted to know this God that made her so happy. If I had not had that faith in my life, I don't know where I would be right now."
Let Me Be Clear:

At first, I was under the impression that this interview would be like the Kirk Franklin interview simply outlining the numerous sins and hypocrisy of yet another popular gospel personality. After viewing the show and listening intently to what was said, I can only say that I have a new, deeper and more profound respect for Tyler Perry and what he has endured. I part ways with the punditry that continues to criticize and mischaracterize this man's experiences and desires. Although there is legitimate, ongoing conversation that must be encouraged, I hear LOUD and CLEAR, by his own testimony that Tyler is not nor has ever been a homosexual.

Aunt Jerry aka Mudea
To their shame, popular pundits have used Tyler's experience to argue against other individuals unrelated to any significant issue at hand. Some have taken the position that no matter what "Tyler ain't saved" because he continues to satire his aunt Jerry (Mudea) on stage and in movies. For them, the reality of this man's experience takes a back seat to what he does on stage and in Hollywood.

Another area of confusion is over understanding and distinguishing the difference between a  physical response (an erection) to unwanted sexual abuse and undesired sexual and physical aggression. For those critics, only conformity to a set of standards, rules and codes, usually outlined by and for them, are  the only thing important. In fact, one popular minister posted the following regarding Tyler's revelations during the interview:
"If Tyler Perry confessed to being confused sexually and his best friend is TD Jakes? Why is he still confused? Isn’t Jakes a man of God? Isn’t he able to cast out demons and heal the sick? Isn’t he the master of men’s emotions and an awesome deliverer of the word with power? Why can’t TD Jakes, best friend of a sexually confused, cross dressing man, help him? This situation speaks volumes for TD Jakes sexuality."
Now, there are quite a few problems with this statement including the fact that Tyler didn't mention T.D. Jakes at all, but somehow, TD  became the target of this minister's retort...Besides the fact that it is totally callous and indifferent statement toward individuals who have suffered from sexual and physical abuse ~ from a MINISTER~ this sort of reasoning implies that all saved people really aren't saved if they have unsaved family members or friends. In other words, your realness is proven by your ability to save those around you??? I suppose, according to this pundit, the salvation and "power" of any believer should be in doubt if the inability to convert family members and friends doesn't immediately arise as a result of a relationship.

In short, this and statements like this are ridiculous sentiments to say the least. One reason could be because everyone that I know of has at least one unsaved family member. Some godly and powerful individuals have husbands, wives and even children that are not saved. There are many logical flaws with this sort of reasoning, if it can be called reasoning at all. 

Sexual Confusion???

Let's look at the aspersion of sexual confusion for a minute. Did Tyler say anything that would ascribe him as being "sexually confused"?

NO. The fact is that I heard a Tyler Perry that was anything but sexually confused. I heard a Tyler Perry that confessed that he studied his sexuality for quite some time distinguishing the difference between his desire and what his body wanted to "deceive" him into believing. This sort of reasoning may be unfamiliar to many, but from a psychological and biblical standpoint, these types of statements and reasonings are anything but confused. The bible plainly outlines the war between the flesh, the spirit, and  the mind, indicating that we can know the "mind of the Spirit" and distinguish its call from the call of the flesh. In fact here is the exchange between Oprah and Tyler regarding this "confusion" 
Oprah: Did [the molestations] leave you confused sexually?
Tyler: Yes, absolutely. How could it not? I knew I liked the little girls in the neighborhood, but this man was doing something to me and my body kept betraying me. It took me all of my 20s to figure out what this was that this man had given me to carry inside of my heterosexuality that did not belong to me. This is why so many men will not talk about this—the shame of having to admit that. And there is no textbook definition for what molestation does to someone. Each individual is different.
Oprah: Everyone is different.
Tyler: This is my story, so another man who has been molested may have a different story. But for me to be in this position and have what he had done to me...he gave me something to carry that I didn't want, that I didn't desire. And thank God, somewhere along the way, I found what you feed will grow in your life, and what you don't will starve.
He summarized the actions of all of his molesters like this:
"All of these people had given me something to carry,"..."I think that everyone who's been abused, there is a string to the puppet master, and they're holding you hostage to your behaviors and what you do. At some point, you have to be responsible for them. What I started to do is untie the strings and chase them down to where they came from. And I was able to free myself and understand that even though these things happened to me, it was not me."
What Tyler was given was the burden of sin. This was the load that he carried. It is obvious that whatever was previously confusing is no longer confusing and what burdens that he was carrying, he learned to lay down. All of which are biblical principles:

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ 28- Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29-Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30- For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light."

Now, the critic would ask, Is Tyler saved? I believe we can agree that if som there is some work to do, as he adds more of the world to himself, but we must look to the argument at hand and ask, are we really to believe that the nature of our sins follow some uniform standard, code or set of rules? Are we to believe that there are "gatekeepers" who somehow certify our sin and repentance in a context that suits them?

Here we have yet ANOTHER classic example of the church, listening to and witnessing a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse and clergy sexual abuse, explain their story only to be received by a church who yet blames the VICTIM for what he has experienced and how he has responded. This is the sad reality that we face.

Discovering Healing From Sexual Abuse 

What is obviously clear is that too many willing to commit themselves to a position of criticism, have not taken the time to understand the nature of sexual abuse and or what it takes to be healed from it. In the book, "Faithful & True, Sexual Integrity In A Fallen World"  Mark Laaser, PH.D. [Zondervan 1992] stated the following:
"Describing abuse is for the purpose of understanding, not for the purpose of blaming. Blame implies judgement. Understanding implies healing. Recovering sex addicts seek to understand their abuse so they might heal from it." ~ pg. 98
Dr. Laaser states further:
"Understanding abuse allows people to recognize what happened to them and how they cope with it through their addictions. it allows them to understand how painful the abuse was, how frightened they were, how alone they felt, and how angry they are. By acknowledging these feelings and finding healthy ways to express them and cope with them, they can be healed." ~ pg. 98
We certainly don't imply that Tyler was a sex addict, however the psychology is the same and this is exactly what Tyler described on the show. Those who have suffered pain from sexual abuse should seek to understand the abuse, and their response to the abuse. This honesty is healing and exposing the enemy is what is freedom.


At this place where pious, godless and ivory tower Christianity meets the real need, I PART COMPANY with those who would rather castigate and throw aspersion than help bring healing to individuals, examining the real issues.

As stated, the church should send a message to Tyler that cursing, which is becoming more and more prevalent in his material, is an unacceptable standard for Christians whether in Hollywood or elsewhere. The church should undertake the conversation of whether entertainment allows cross-dressing. Better yet the church does better to define what cross-dressing is and whether actors playing a character are guilty of it. It well may be that it is. Nevertheless, those undertakings are serious and valid undertakings, and conversations that can and should be had without promoting lies. Further, we should ask, how does the bible shape our world as it pertains even to our most mundane activities? Is the bible to be used as a Christian version of Sharia' or is there a unique relationship that Christ has with his people, the church?  

I'm sorry to disappoint, but the church and leaders should be rebuked to join the punditry of criticising the experience of those who have suffered sexual abuse while simultaneously claiming that they have hope for the hopeless and offer help to the hurting. This is both contradictory and the epitome of hypocrisy. With friends like that, the world certainly needs no enemies.

Thank God that we have a friend in Jesus!




  1. Yea, this is a tough one for some who have been duped into excessive critical assessments...Here we have a man that has suffered from some abuse psycially and emotionally that many couldn't even dare to manage in life and all the critics want to look at is his current excesses.

    Where is the compassion? Where is the biblically based assessment and acknowledgement of what he suffered and how he has healed and spiritual reconciliation of how he can be better?

    I'm preparing a podcast series on this very issue.

  2. Thank You Pastor Burnett for posting this. The issue of sexual abuse is one not dealt with enough in our churches today....either because of the church's point the finger outlook towards the victims, or its failure to show true compassion to those who are hurting.

    We need more like this, if we are to truly reach a dying world.

    Be blessed!

  3. Excellent...What resonnated with me, was that "somone gave him something to carry that wasn't his"...I have been judgmental in the past...and feel bad about it now...It was the most revealing interview I have seen on this issue...This abuse has to stop...Can't wait for the show with 200 men who discuss what it was like to be abused...Most of this crap happened in the church...dirty nasty old men....these young men are speaking the women now...

  4. Oregonsistah,

    I said the same thing my sistah over that description. If there has been a more accurate rendering of the burden of sin outside of the bible, I haven't heard it.

    That statement resonated with me as well. There was something given that he refused to take ownership of or allow to shape his life. That's a struggle and where the battle takes place.

    I believe it's that "place" that "decision" is where many have been overwhelmed or do what we used to call "fake da funk". They allow their physical response to overwhelm their mind and then they begin to submit to the flesh and the next thing you know you have a whole secondary personality or life established simply because they have been deceived by the flesh.

    Didn't Paul say that the carnal mind was "enmity" against God?

    Romans 8:7~"Because the carnal mind [is] ENMITY against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

    I believe this is a vital key; a person can yield to this carnal mind, a mind that reconciles and allows sin and become something that God did not intend or make them to be.

    What I heard in Tyler's statements was a person who God allowed to distinguish that difference and one who said, "That's not me and I won't allow it to be no matter how much the flesh tries to convince me that it is."

    The sad part is that some people only saw signs of the struggle, but to this day, are not interested in the process of deliverance and how this man overcame. For them it's about scoring with sensationalism and using this to grandstand on other issues that have nothing to do with this particular struggle.

    As you can tell sistah, I'm a little charged up thinking, praying about and processing this one because I believe there are millions at the same point struggling between what they flesh is telling them and what Christ has said, but that do not know how to battle.

    If it took this man over 20 years or so to search, seek, and make these distinctions we should be aware that this sort of battle, (when something you didn't want has been given to you) is not just whisked away or won with the waiving of a hand. It takes some honesty before Jesus and some soul searching and mostly some submission to the Lord.

    Are there other issues? Yes. But those issues do not need to be confused with this one.

    Anyway, thanks and we'll speak soon. God bless!

  5. Thanks Minister Davison,

    The church needs the courage to deal with issues like this, but when you see a church cheer a pastor that has multiple abuse and misconduct charges filed against him, you've got to know that we have a problem.

    I believe New Birth was simply a look into what the modern church has fallen to and it is pervasive.

    Look at it. the world doesn't even cheer a person upon whom criminal activity has been alleged until he/she has been cleared of all charges. Somehow the church holds out that a twisted view of "loyalty" and "love" has justified their actions and views and nothing is further from the truth.

    I've got a series coming up bru...I'll discuss it at greater length then. You should have heard the message today though-LOL!!!

  6. Good post. I agree, T. Perry needs less criticism from the church and more compassion. However, I'm not so sure ALL of the criticism he has received has come from Pharissean type Christians, trying to put themselves on a pedestal over another (although I'm sure there are some in the group). It seems that much of his criticism comes from the fact that his work has been packaged, whether by him or by "church" folks, as Christian/Gospel work. So when we see the cross-dressing, the cussing, etc., it brings more scrutiny and, as a result, more vicious criticisms as well.

    But I still agree, more compassion is needed in this case.

  7. Hello Pastor Burnett,

    Enjoyed the article however; this brings a question to mind. Is homosexuality and pedophilia interrelated? I feel deeply sorry for Tyler Perry, do I think he struggles with homosexuality, yes. I can't blame him for that because like he said, his body was deceiving him. This is the same story I hear from others who now live this lifestyle.

    Tyler Perry is very talented. My only problem I had with him was how he used the church to gain success and has now become worldly and it's decieving many people who really need to live holy before God.

    However; back to my question. I was discussing this with a friend and she said yes they are interrelated simply because of the experiences she'd heard from others. But I wonder what do you think about it?

    I wish that Tyler and Kirk Franklin had discussed deliverance from these types of things. Nobody talks about how Jesus can deliver and heal us from these past wounds. I don't think Tyler has been delivered and I do think the interview was setting the world up for his "coming out."

  8. Ashley,

    I agree that there are many issues at hand. The problem as I see it is that some lump all the problems together as if they are one.

    Tyler's secularism is apropos to Hollywood and the current standards of the industry. What the church can help him and others do is reconcile how they perform and display their talent within a biblical worldview. I think that's a good conversation but one to have without ad-hominem attacks as we see is common.

    It's at that point that we loose what a "church" really is and revert to "street-smarts" and innuendo, and conspiracy. God didn't call any of us to live and or view things like that...IF Tyler is wrong, it will certainly be revealed and the Saints won't loose a thing.

    Now, what Tyler did was make stage plays and films that had themes that many church folk could relate to. Maybe I missed it but he didn't promise anyone that he would be saved because they bought his material??? That may be a harsh reality, but I haven't seen or heard a disclaimer yet.

    He knew what people wanted to see and hear and what they were familiar with. He played to his audience and his audience bought into the "entertainment of gospel" and gospocentric themes. If anyone needs to check themselves it's the church. Why is the church so "needy" for this sort of entertainment?

    now, as I see it, all of those issues have nothing to do with him being abused? But now the theme has reverted to, "Tyler is laying the groundwork to endorse homosexuality"...

    I've heard that sentiment a lot sens I wrote the article and I can only say that 1- I hope not, 2- I don't believe he is from what he said and 3- He used the largest stage possible to advocate that homosexuality was not either his thing or anything that he or anyone should desire. he even went as far to affirm that homosexuality within a persons heterosexuality is a deceit of the flesh...i don't know how much more and what he could have said to actually condemn homosexuality on the biggest stage in America.

    Think about it...If he wanted to leave a door open for him to walk through, he killed himself in the process. He said that those "feelings", those physical responses that happen to a man's body when his genitals are manipulated, was a LIE and a DECEIT and at the same time affirmed his love for women. What more could he say???

    I mean talk to Tyler about his role playing, and about what he produces, but leave the man's sexuality where he affirms that it is. He affirms that he is straight, with no inclinations of homosexuality and the first thing that certain prominent figures in the church do is say, "well, you're pastor friend is gay?"...That's incoherent reasoning and totally illogical!

    Neither Jakes nor his son have anything to do with Tyler and if that's how we're going to reconcile whether someone is delivered, I guarantee that I'll show up at your next family reunion and by the end of the day after talking to all the unsaved family that you love (not talking about you in particular Ashley) I'm willing to say that ALL of us will be unsaved by those standards. Someones salvation or lack thereof has nothing to do with the soundness of mine...What about the Prophet Samuel? He had evil and ungodly sons did he not??? What he not saved as a result???

    The church needs to focus on what's at hand and show the difference between it and the world.

  9. Bless you Pastor Burnett and the work God has placed in your hands with this blog. While I have yet to see Tyler Perry's interview, unfortunately his story of abuse at the hands of adults who took advantage of his child body and mind is not a new issue. Too long has the Body of Christ been silent about these types of sin. Deliverance can not take place if their is no deliverer. Many churches throughout the world have men and women of God that have the gifts and the power from God to cast out demons and lay hands on the sick to recover (including my church), but if you are not on TV, a mega churh, or a gospel artist or a denomination big wig, people are not coming. If they do, they are like Nicodemas, coming by night. What I believe is needed is intercessory prayer, counseling from qualified therapists and a decrease in being entertained. Let us return back to our first Love and Seek God while He may be found.

  10. I'm sorry Ashley, I'm not addressing your points but I've been discussing this and it was on my heart...

    Let's contrast this to Bynum, Weeks, White etc...

    Some say, "we'll, you treating Tyler with compassion is a double standard"

    OK, look at the difference. All of the "stars" I mentioned exalted themselves as the spiritual leaders of the body of Christ. They perpetrated an open fraud on God's people. They SAID they were following Christ and tried to convert everyone to them and used the word of God deceitfully.

    Juanita got beat down and I and "almost" everyone spoke about the egregiousness of spousal abuse and said no matter what, Weeks should not have hit my material you'll see it.

    At the same time they continued their excess and 'till this day deceitful lie upon the body of Christ. They claim salvation and do everything but be saved claiming to be prophetic voices to the church and world.

    The difference is night and day. The pimps stealing money and claiming Christ are in a different league. They are the one's perpetrating the crime. They are not victims of anything other than their flesh.

    Tyler is a victim and whatever issues revolve around him stem from that. I say deal with the issues fairly as the church should do, in HOPE and BELIEF, without being puffed up. I think we just may get through IF we do that.

  11. Anonymous,

    you said:"Let us return back to our first Love and Seek God while He may be found."

    LOVE THAT! That's the message!

  12. Thanks Pastor Burnett,

    I totally understand what you're saying. Tyler Perry has admitted that you should not hold him up to the standards of Christianity what he does is pure entertainment and giving the people what he wants. The church needs to be held accountable as well. Why do we desire this type of entertainment? A cross dressing man who quotes scripture is blasphemous. But if nobody says anything, and its what the people want, then why not do it.

    However, I guess I'm trying to look deeper into the issue. Is homosexuality caused by pedophilia? If this is the case than how should saints come about helping folks to be delivered from this.

    Also, I would think that full deliverance means one is free from all sin. Tyler Perry isn't saved, so is he truly delivered from his abuse? Most people in hollywood are extremely insecure and are attention seekers. Does Tyler fit into that category as well?

    I'm sorry too many questions :)

  13. Ashley,

    You said:"Is homosexuality caused by pedophilia? If this is the case than how should saints come about helping folks to be delivered from this."

    The thought that homosexuals were molested as children arises from internet and urban legend myth.

    There are many sexual deviance caused by pedophilia and although homosexuality may be one, it is certainly not the only one. Sexual repression and frigidity are also caused by pedophilia. These can be also damaging to a person within marriage.

    I encourage people not to paint so broadly because I believe that type of sentiment misses the mark. There are homosexual males and females who were never molested and nurtured in good homes. Simultaneously there are heterosexual individuals who can't keep themselves sexually pure and they were molested.

    These things arise because humanity is fallen and needs God. Not to be overly-simplistic, but the cause is not greater than the condition, because any condition can be overcome no matter the cause.

    I don't think we should vicariously connect the parents or relatives with homosexual children. That's bad psychology, theology and at when examined is not supportable by any evidence.

    You said:"Also, I would think that full deliverance means one is free from all sin. Tyler Perry isn't saved, so is he truly delivered from his abuse?"

    Well if you believe in "sinless perfectionism" that's another post. I can only say there is noone and I mean noone sinlessly perfect on this side of heaven. Saints are not sinners, in that we don't practice sin, but to say that a Saint doesn't sin is simply another topic.

    People self-heal all the time. There are many individuals who better their personal positions without GOd and or the bible. The self-help industry is the largest in the country. This is why Paula, Juanita II and others want some of those dollars. People improve themselves all the time in various areas of their life with marked results.

    The problem is this does not effect their spiritual condition. Only their discipline of the flesh. One can train the flesh to do many things and be successful. That has nothing to do with a change of heart. Jesus recognizes this with people who praise him with their lips but their heart is far from him. Then even others such as the Pharisees who appear to be delivered outwardly, but were full of sin and defilement.

    He displayed that he wasn't free from the pain of what he experienced, although he has reconciled it mentally. He has placed the mental pieces together, but there is still spiritual pain. This sort of pain also exists for Saints overcoming experiences of their past.

    I don't know Tyler's confession of faith. So for me, at least, I find it difficult to assess his sincerity of spiritual conviction and actions.

    Look at Mel Gibson though. Mel has never been saved as far as I knew. He hailed that he was Catholic, but has never been known to live saved. He made a movie about Jesus, marketed the movie to the church, got witnessing material together, had prayer and alter calls at many theatres, made millions of dollars...He later gets drunk, cusses out his wife with some of the worst profanity I ever heard and runs around stoned all the time...

    What is the "church" saying about Mel? "Pray for him, he's struggling..." PLEASE!

    Tyler reveals the double standard that exist amongst some church critics when it comes to certain things. Run a search on most critics site on Mel Gibson and see what you find. Agenda is everything...

  14. Pastor Harvey I first want to let you know that I enjoy your website. This is my first time commenting. I am also a survivor of molestation in my youth and I agree with much of what you’ve said. My comments and concerns however are about Tyler Perry. I certainly have no heaven or hell to place Tyler Perry. My issue however is that he is a person of major INFLUENCE and there are many who ascribe to his brand of what Christianity is, and imitate it. I’m not in a position to say what Mr. Perry’s one on one relationship with Christ is. But I am in a position to comment on his PUBLIC WORKS and what he and others have called a ministry. Yes, Tyler Perry has said on more than one occasion that he views his gift of movie making as MINISTRY. Now early on Tyler Perry was known as a Christian playwright beginning with the Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The early buzz was about these edgy entertaining plays that had a Godly message and people in droves lined up at theatres to see his plays. This was the Tyler Perry brand for many years. In my opinion, as his popularity grew with the public, and with Hollywood the more perverted the messages in his work became. In my own journey with Perry’s work, the danger of his INFLUENCE became evident in a scene of the movie DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL’S. It was when actor Idris Elba helped actress Gabrielle Union home from the club because she was drunk. Elba goes into her bathroom looking for medicine to assist with her with a hangover only to find her DILDO in the medicine cabinet. In just this one scene Tyler Perry sexually violated many with this irresponsible imagery and perversion. All of his movies take dark perverted turns like these and yet we in the church still want to put him forth as a Christian director that makes wholesome movies. What makes Tyler Perry different from Martin Scorsess, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks, etc, etc, etc, is none of these directors claim to be BORN AGAIN. Though I don’t believe that this is his intention but Tyler Perry has become a TROJAN HORSE that’s been set loose in church to captivate weak and unstable minds to foster LUKE WARMNESS on a mass level. Pastor what you may be forgetting is that what you or me may be able to look at and walk away from unscathed, may be the very flame that torches and ruins another. Thank you for allowing me to share.

    Pastor Kevin Shell.

  15. What I am dealing with in this post is Tyler's history of abuse as explained by him.

    To consider the "dark"
    parts of his playwrite and the effectiveness of his "ministry" is not the point of the post. Now, one may be the result of the other. Those offensive parts of his playwrite may be because of the abuse that he experienced.

    So your points are well taken, but are beyond the scope of what I'm addressing here. I think we fail in trying to mix them all together. Now, Tyler should be held accountable and his past is no excuse for sexually questionable or even sexually perverted scenes in his movies, but that's another conversation and one that Tyler should address if the church is his market.

    Glad you commented, no need to eliminate commentary, it's all valuable.

  16. Bear along with me, what I thought was a deleted comment was caught in blogger's new spam blocker.

    Anyine commenting and not seeing your comment right away, send me a quick email so I can check the spam blocker and remove the comment. That is something new to me.

    I checked today and found about 6 to 7 comments just sitting. noone is being blocked other than by blogger and I'll fix them as I find it. So thanks for your patience.

  17. Now they are all up in arms because Tyler laid hands on T.D. Jakes at Megafest 2013. OK, well a lot of people don't like Tyler and a lot don't like Jakes. OK, well, do you have to like all that people do before they can be blessed by God? And I guess whose court of approval must individuals pass by? Jesus came to save and heal all them that were sick, not them that were whole. I'll do an article and link it for review.


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