by Robert Earl Houston
Oh no . . . not again.
Those who are determined to make money, glean television ratings, and give a “glimpse” to the world of the Church are at it again. This time, it’s several pastors, based in Los Angeles, who are the stars and the victims.
Reality TV is not new. It could be suggested that the genre has completely taken over television, which once was a haven for excellent scripted comedy and drama – only to see a screen full of competitions, behind-the-scenes views and a view behind the curtain of celebrities and ordinary peoples’ lives.
Reality TV has given us Donald Trump, Fantasia, the Bounty Hunter, Honey Boo Boo, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and the list goes on and on. Most of them are not mentioned here because they have become non-memorable. Can you name five of the performers from “I Love NewYork?” It’s almost hard to remember the lead performer’s name in “Flava of Love” because these shows are brain cell killers.
As of late, the cameras are now coming into the Church. It saddened me to see “Preacher’s Daughters” and “The Sisterhood” which chronicled dysfunctional, argumentative and non-atypical Christians at our worst. The bickering, back-biting and terrible fellowship that existed particularly in the Sisterhood caused an uprising in the black church community that hasn’t been seen in a long time, forcing the producers from TLC (which is a debate for another day, how could The Learning Channel put this crap on the air?) to yank the series after one brutal season.
And now, several pastors from Los Angeles have consented to be a part of the next evolution of this genre. I want to make a disclaimer initially and say that I know or have met or have worshipped with most of those who are going to be on this show. I respect each and every one of their ministries. Having said that – this is a mistake.
First off, there is no way that producers are going to show the “real preachers” of Los Angeles when most of them don’t drive Bentleys, live in exotic locations, or travel around the world. Most preachers in LA don’t have mega churches and staff exceeding 100 people working at the church. Most preachers are struggling financially or in Los Angeles’ case, are just now coming off of the worst economic times since the Great Depression.
Many L.A. pastors have had to supplement their finances with secular employment. Most pastors still have to visit the sick. Most pastors still have to hold together a congregation that is facing harsh economic times. Most pastors are not household names – they basically do the work of ministry without fanfare, spotlight and consider serving the Lord as a privilege and not as a money making venture. In the words of the late Dr. E.K. Bailey, “if you serve the Lord to get paid, it won’t pay; But if you serve the Lord, it will pay” – and he was not speaking of money, trappings, and in the words of Dr. A. Louis Patterson, “cashmere coats, credit cards, and caribbean cruises.”
The real preachers aren’t spending their time in makeup and worried about lighting. The real preachers are in prayer, preparing to feed the flock on Sunday. The real preachers are referees and then peacemakers. The real preachers are non-unionized counselors and then vision casters. The real preachers help put lives back together again without the benefit of camera one and camera two. The real preachers have to hold the hands of the bereaved, counsel with the brokenhearted, visit jail cells, and get the unglamorized duty of being in the room with an emotionally torn family as their loved one takes either one of or the final breaths that they will take on this side of the Jordan.
I have no intention on spending any time watching this series. I was through with the Sisterhood after episode one. I was turned off by the Sheards after a few moments. I just don’t believe that anyone’s walk with the Lord is going to be strengthened by watching us act foolishly on television.
The story is told of a mother of a church who lived right next door to her pastor and first lady, who had marital problems. It was known throughout the church that they had problems, but mother came to church every Sunday and sat on the front pew while the wife sang and the husband preached every Sunday. One of the young people walked up to her one Sunday and said, “Mother, did you hear all of the yelling and screaming at the parsonage?” She looked at her and smiled. Another adult came up and said, “Mother, I heard she cussed him out, what did you hear?” She looked at him and smiled. Perplexed, they went to Mother’s daughter and said, “we tried to get information from your momma about what’s going on with the pastor and his wife.” The daughter said, “you don’t understand. She’s been deaf for years. She doesn’t come to church for what the pastor and wife got going on in their house, she comes to church for what the Lord has done for her.”
I’m turning a deaf ear on this . . . and focusing on what the Lord has done for me . . .
Your comments are welcomed!