published Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Cook: What is Tim Reid's crime?

"Enough is enough," Mayor Ron Littlefield said not long ago. "This is an insult to churches. He is the moneychanger in the temple.

"I've had it with Tim Reid."

Since the Christmas Day shootings outside his Market Street church, Reid's ministry has collapsed like it was plagued with leprosy. City inspectors, court-ordered injunctions, eviction letters have hit the church -- all designed to shut down Mosaic and its youth group Club Fathom.

"They've pulled the wrath of God down on us," Reid told me.

The mayor's angry, and I'm proud of that. We all ought to be.

But the problem is that Tim Reid and Mosaic are not the problem.

And I'm not so sure this hasn't become more about religion than gangs, since I can't find an answer to one important question: What exactly is Reid's crime?

Is it downtown violence? Between 2006 and 2009, police say they responded to 344 service calls at or near Mosaic.

"The majority of them are from all the other bars around us. Anything that happens around that 400 block [of Market Street] gets blamed on us," said Reid.

Do you know another place with lots of crime?

So much so that, in 2010 alone, police answered 3,624 calls, issued nearly 200 citations (37 for felonies) and made 264 arrests, all in response to a total of 112 assaults, 86 fights, 110 thefts?

Any guesses?

Hamilton County schools.

Reid also has been criticized for allowing secular music groups singing explicit lyrics to play concerts. Why, then, is no one criticizing local radio stations? Or other downtown concert halls? It's not like they're listening to Lawrence Welk.

There was the invitation for Club Fathom's Christmas Eve party that featured a swimsuit image of what has to be the jolliest Santa I've ever seen. I believe her belly-like-a-bowlful-of-jelly shifted northward.

But no one is criticizing the hyper-sexualized culture we live in.

Step outside Mosaic's doors. Walk about two blocks away to the Majestic theaters. You think the films they show would make St. Paul smile?

And there's Mosaic's BYOB ad.

"Bring your own Bible," Reid explained.

"Unforgivable," said the mayor. "It is an unbelievable statement for a pastor to make."

I understand why that troubles people. But we must remember that Reid is working with kids who might join the Bloods, not the Boy Scouts. Meek and mild nativity scenes are not going to get them into church doors.

And do we really want to start judging churches on how offensive their statements are? If so, I'd like to begin with some testimonies from the gay and lesbian community in Chattanooga.

Reid's financial statements have been criticized. What would happen if we opened the books on every Chattanooga church and let come to light the way they spend their money?

On Christmas Eve, Club Fathom held a party. You throw a party for teenagers on Christmas Eve? Reid and the church mice ought to be the only ones there.

Instead, hundreds show up. It's like we've got a city of orphans.

"We believe that the gang problem can ultimately only be solved by a lifestyle transformation and that Jesus Christ is the only person who can bring about this transformation," Reid said in a news release.

I believe he believes this. I've known Reid for more than half my life; we talk every few years. He's willing to risk his life -- he's heard his own house is going to get shot up -- to care for kids who probably need only one hand to count the positive things in their life.

Shutting down Mosaic will solve nothing.

The problem is somewhere else. The problem is thinking that Mosaic is the problem.

David Cook can be reached at davidcook@blumail.org.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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Lr103 said...

@Reid's financial statements have been criticized. What would happen if we opened the books on every Chattanooga church and let come to light the way they spend their money?

I don't think the ones going after Rev. Tim Reid considered the above possibility. That is, they may have just opened up a floodgate into other churches questionable financial activities.

Old Chinese Proverb: When you dig one hole dig two?

January 12, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
sage1 said...

An article in the Channel 9 website says that the police investigation has shown that several blood gang members were part of the group performing at Club Mosaic (no, it ain't a church) that night.

No way would a true "church" open it's stage to a band populated with gang members. Do you REALLY think the music they were performing was leading the masses present to Christ? I sure don't.

January 13, 2012 at 7:18 a.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

@sage1, it really won't matter if Mr. Reid was going by the rules and terms of a church, will it? And I too can see the acts of a few in their attempt to bring down Tim Reid possibly opening up problems for other churches in the area. That's how the government works. when you call in for one individual to be investigated, they're not just going to waste their time on that one individual. They're going to see just how many others they can lasso in to make it worth their time.

adding to digging holes. Don't just stop at digging one or two holes, dig lots and lots of them, and include one for yourself.

January 13, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.

I'll be honest, I cannot imagine any church conducting a background check on a band. Seems a bit ungodly.

Music wise, some churches don't believe in music at al. Others have strict standards. But i.'very heard some awesome religious music in rap, rock, country and jazz versions that would probably cause a choirmaster to go into hysterics, but seem quite as pleasing to God as anything else I know.

January 13, 2012 at 4:57 p.m.
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