by Robert Earl Houston
Tonight, I lost an hour of my life and I want it back.
I watched with curiosity which concluded with pain and godly sorrow, the initial episode of “The Sisterhood” on TLC. The Sisterhood follows the lives of first ladies (black church definition: the wife of the Pastor) of Atlanta, Georgia.
One is the first lady of Oasis Family Life Church, another is the first lady at the Wonders Church, another is the former first lady of The Good Life Ministry, another is first lady of Emanuel Tabernacle Church and another is a former first lady, whose church dismissed her and her husband (oddly, they never mention the name of the church).
I think it needs to be said that this has to be a fictionalized version. I’ve been in ministry for 35 years and there are only a few women that I can think of that even come near the kind of sniping, attitude, gossip, open sex talk, and disrespect for the role of “First Lady” that I saw in episode one tonight. The ladies, in the words of someone on Facebook tonight, need to be ladies first and then first ladies.
It’s the Christian version of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” but on Real Housewives they demonstrate more Christianity and manners that they do on this show.
Most first ladies will tell you that it’s not easy being married to a pastor – especially if he’s a busy pastor or has a demanding congregation. Most of their lives has to be spent in a fishbowl that they didn’t order. Most of them are respected by their churches and communities. Some honestly have been through hell and need encouragement from their husband’s congregation. I didn’t see women that were married to pastors tonight. I saw women looking for that next “gig” or that “next level” that didn’t take into consideration their husbands or their churches. Very odd to me was only a minute or two of any actual worship experiences or the ladies at church.
TLC is going to hurt pastors’ wives by this display. I personally felt like I was a voyeur watching a train wreck. I could have stopped it with my remote control but I wanted to see if there were going to be any survivors. Sadly, none. The previews alone make me feel like I need to take a shower. I feel dirty and violated – this is not a show that presents in proper fashion what modern pastors wives are all about. The discussions (several) of sex were frankly inappropriate.
I want to apologize to all non-Christians who may have watched this episode tonight and tell you that the local pastor’s wife in your community is not anything like what you saw tonight. Most of them are active raising children and grandchildren, making sure their husband is fed and taken care of, she’s part-time accountant, part-time psychologist, part-time analyst, she may sing in the choir or usher at the door, she may be the musician on the instrument or a prayer warrior within the church. She may be the woman with the beautiful hat need the front or the discreetly dressed woman sitting in the back, not wanting to bring any attention to herself. She may be that Sunday School teacher or un-paid, part-time church secretary. She may be the pastor’s loud supporter (“Preach Houston!” – FBC knows what I mean) or she may be on the platform sitting next to her husband and praying for his success in delivering the word. That’s some of what a Pastor’s Wife looks like.
This is the “Honey Boo-Boo” of the black Church world. And after watching this, Honey Boo-Boo is better entertainment.