Church Hurts: Chapter 4 – “Choir Director”

Chapter 4 – Choir Director

The door clicks behind them.

The choir director quickly locks the door. “Hey, Mr. Judd. You had me down there playing that piano for forever!” “Sorry. I had to handle something. You know that Terita girl came by here again asking for more money,” Judd said with disgust. “I thought you said you were going to handle that one,” Nick said. “Now, Nick, you know it’s not that easy. She knows too much. She could blow our whole cover. It’s imperative that we keep our business between us, her, and God.”

By business, he was referring to their undercover relationship. It had been going on for the past three years. Judd had accidentally sent a text meant for Nick to Terita. And ever since then, she would stop by his office to ask for favors, only they knew the favors were not optional. If he did not comply with her requests, it could mean the end of all their dreams.

“But Judd, you know that every time she comes by, she asks for more than the last time. We have to put an end to this once and for all,” Nick reminded him. “I know, I know. That’s why I’m working on something. I have a plan. You know she’s accustomed to nice things. And right now, the only option she has is to blackmail us. But if we can find her a new supplier, she’ll have a new host to leach off of. She has her eye on one person who should be able to have her set for life,” Judd replied. “And who is that? One of your bishop buddies?” “No, even better. He’s right under our noses. She’s really interested in the youth pastor. She knows he’s sitting on a gold mine. His grandfather is loaded. And with his health deteriorating like it is, he and his mother will be the sole beneficiaries of his estate,” Judd informed Nick. “Is that so? So how quickly do you think we can enact this plan?” “Sooner than you think,” Judd replied.

Judd was referring to the birthday party Terita was throwing for herself. He suggested to Terita that she invite him to a small get-together with a few of her closest friends. And then she could launch Plan B. They were both confident in her abilities. Terita was quite the seductress when she had her mind on it. She would have tried to seduce Judd, but she found out via the text that she was probably not his type. Although Judd was known back in the days B.C. for “getting around” with the ladies, Terita saw that it was likely only a cover in case any questions arose about his attraction to men. And if Terita’s skills could not trap Dave, there was always Plan C.

“Hey, Judd. There’s something else I wanted to talk to you about,” Nick said with downcast eyes. “Well, two things actually. One reason I asked about how you were going to permanently silence Terita was because I don’t want any leaked information to have a negative impact on my career in the ministry.” “Don’t worry about that, Nick. I said I have this under control,” Judd tried to reassure his lover. “I’m just saying. I start recording in the studio next week to lay down the single for this album me and my group have been working on. The last thing I need is a rumor like this bringing me down,” Nick stressed. “I totally understand. You know I have just as much riding on this as you do. You have your hopes of being a famous gospel artist, and I have hopes of being a jurisdictional bishop. If this stuff gets out, if she forwards that text to anybody, we’re both ruined. And we’ve both worked so hard for this.”

Hanging his head even lower, Nick continues on, “But that’s not the only thing I’m concerned about. You know how pastor has been preaching this series on our bodies being the temple of God and everything…” “Yeah, the series has been great. What’s your point?” Judd asked oblivious to the point Nick was trying to make. “Well, you know, I mean, I, I, I’ve been feeling conviction,” Nick stuttered. “Conviction about what?” Judd asked ignorantly. “Well, you know. I’ve been feeling conviction about this. About us.” “What about this? What about us,” Judd pushed. “Come on, Judd. You know I care about you. A lot. But you don’t ever feel weird about what we do?” “Not at all,” Judd replied to Nick’s surprise. “You mean, you never feel weird about being with a man when our denomination speaks so strongly about same-sex relationships? And especially after this series the pastor’s been speaking on? He made the scriptures so plain to me. I mean, I’ve heard all the verses before, but for some reason, this past month, it’s been really getting to me.” “So what are you trying to say, Nick?” “I’m trying to say that maybe we should see about ending this,” Nick said to Judd’s dismay. “Ending this? We’ve been doing this for three years now. Why stop now? If it was so wrong to do, why hasn’t God struck us down dead yet? How come every time you play the piano or sing, people still get delivered? How come every time I preach or teach, people come to the altar to get saved? If it was so wrong, how come God is still using us so mightily in the ministry?”

“Judd, I wonder about those same things. But you know how pastor always says the gifts of God come without repentance. Maybe God is just using us for our gifts. Or maybe God is just being gracious to us. Maybe He’s just giving us a chance before we get exposed. Just like with that Bishop in Atlanta. I’m sure God gave him many chances to repent, but he just wouldn’t. And the rest is history. I don’t want that to be us. I care about you ” “Nick, don’t worry about that stuff. Haven’t you ever read in the bible that God is love? And sex is God’s gift for mankind to express their love for each other. All we are doing is expressing our love for one another,” Judd said defensively. “But, Judd, you don’t even feel a bit of guilt. I mean you even have our bed in your office in the church! I just don’t know, Judd. I have a lot of thinking to do.” But Nick had already made up his mind. This had to end. Judd had been there for him through so much, so he felt bad about just dropped him as the bad habit that he was. But it was hard for him to continue living in something that he felt bad about. There was a time when it didn’t bother him to mess with men in the church because he had ignored that little voice in his head telling him it was wrong. But lately, God had been dealing with him about it. And so many of his friends had been getting sick and dying. All those things kept pushing him in another direction.

Nick unlocks the door and walks down the corridor to his BMW that Judd had purchased him earlier that year. And it was likely bought with the money of the parishioners who trusted in him to practice what he preached and to put their money to good purposes. But Nick didn’t think of them as gullible sheeple because Judd was just that convincing. He could tell you white was black and have you broadcasting to their world the same. I mean, Judd was right about some things. Wasn’t God love? Was there any doubt of the love Judd and him had for each other? He drove off into the sunset towards his expensive downtown loft also funded by Judd.

It was a long ride up the elevator to his top story apartment which overlooked the river. It was such a beautiful view. However, the way he earned it just felt so wrong. He had to engage in behavior that disgusted him in order to attain it. He had received a prophecy as a young boy that God was going to use him in a mighty way to bless others across the nation, and that he would also bless him with the lifestyle that he desired. God couldn’t have meant for this to be the way that he would acquired these things. Was this God’s will for Him? For him to give his temple to a power-hungry pastor who was living a lie? Sure Judd had been better to him than all the other men Nick had been with, but somehow he still knew it was wrong.

He set down his Louis Vuitton briefcase on his hardwood floors. He locked the door behind him. He walked solemnly to his master bedroom to get undressed. Then he ran his bathwater. He felt his emotions bubbling up within him. He got into the tub and scrubbed at his skin until it hurt. He scrubbed so hard to the point that he stopped just before it got raw. He would scrub until he felt clean. Just the thought of all of those men’s hands touching over his body made him feel filthy. Then the tears came pouring down onto his petite body eventually blending into the bathwater.

He couldn’t find the words to say so he just moaned. There were no new words that he could say. He had already had this conversation with God a hundred times. He would feel disgusted. He would feel dirty. He would repent. He would feel sorry. He would feel sinful. He would feel unforgivable. He felt as if it was no way in the world Jesus would have gotten on that cross for a man like him. He engaged in the same sin night after night in the church. There was no way God could forgive him. There was no way Christ would have died for homosexuals. So he just cried and moaned and scrubbed.

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