The Real Preachers of L.A.

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!

17 responses

  1. Rev. Raymond L clayton Sr. | Reply

    I thank God for the out put and your honest view. I am so grathful that there are people who care about the work of the Lord and not about what Hollywood is saying.

  2. Thank you pastor for saying what needed to be said here….I really take issue with this kinda foolishness…first it was Mary Mary, then it was the Sisterhood, then it was the Preachers Daughters now its Pastors in LA on a reality show. What pastor that’s doing real kingdom work have time for a camera to follow them around all day and night? Something is very wrong with this picture.

  3. James C Perkins | Reply

    Dr. Houston: another home run!!! God bless you!!!

  4. Victor L. Mayo Sr | Reply

    Preach Rev……. I agree sir, the church already has a black eye by many of the clergy imperfection! Its time to take a stand and live a lifestyle of integrity and holiness!!!

  5. Great article my brother…These guys are jokers…You know it and I know it…WE MUST STAY THE COURSE…PJLC

  6. Hi Dr. Houston. I too know three of the four ministers pictured on this page. Further, if you believe that God is “Sovereign” then he can handle any controversy that may come from this. The bible declares in Romans 8:28 that “All” things work together for good for them that love God and who are the called according to his purpose. As you know that verse does not say that all things are good, but that all things (good or bad) will work according to his purpose. We may never know the true motivation behind their decision to participate, but I’m certain that they each love God and therefore he will accomplish that which he purpose in this earth realm in their lives and the lives that will be reached through this medium. Just A Thot! Thanks for sharing. Peace & Blessings to you and yours always!

    1. I am not singling these brother out per se – because they have neither the platform nor the ability to program television. I’m really concerned about those who have the power of the pen in this instance and would subject their personal lives to the open camera lens and mic. I never forget an old adage (I’m a photographer) that says “the camera makes you look 10 pounds heavier.” And I suspect that those things which may be innocent in the view of a lens may take on a life of it’s own because of editing, etc.

      1. Pastor Houston….I hear your heart but I take a different route. I am not worried about those who have the power of the pen as much as I am appalled at the preachers involved. The word of God is clear ‘bad company corrupts good morals’. You cannot say I have good intentions and then partner with those who have a different agenda. We know based on history that this route has the grave potential to travel a path that is questionable. So the question is why keep palying with fire. I would be extremely surprised and the first to admit if I am wrong but when does televsision and society ever sponsor anything positive and worthwhile. Just my thoughts!

  7. This is just another tactic by the enemy to make the church appear foolish and irrelevant. What distresses me so is the fact that those who should know better are selling out The Lord for thirty pieces of silver!

  8. Pastor Garland Files | Reply

    Wow!! Great post Dr. Houston..I agree with you!! Just another plot to make Christians look bad, but I have to slightly disagree about the shows showing “atypical” behavior of Christians…but nevertheless I agree with your post!! Bblessed!!

  9. I think its foolish for preachers to flaunt their wealth. Most parishoners are not wealthy, live in estates or drive fancy cars. And what these reality shows will do is cause more people to become discouraged and provide less monetary support to the churches because they’ll feel like the preachers are using the money they give to the church to enhance their own lifestyles!

    1. Well said.

  10. Amen, amen and amen. No one could have said this better than you and I I totally agree and am tired

  11. Of this mess!!!

  12. Notofthisworld | Reply

    Pastor Houston,
    Thanks for so eloquently stating what so many of us feel. Along with the other points you so aptly make I think Matthew 7:6 is very appropriate here. We should not “cast our pearls before swine…” Thanks for taking a stand and making a difference.

  13. The proposed featured participants in this “reality show” are all entertainers & preachers. We should not be surprised at their Hollywood focused intentions. I think, considering today’s media influenced social environment, it makes sense to include the pastors of televised mega-churches in the widely accepted genre of reality tv.

  14. gloria williams | Reply

    BRAVO!!! I don’t watch most reality shows, granted the ones I do watch, world’s dumbest, lizard lick towing, most shocking, are not the best things to watch, but I avoid reality shows about people’s lives simply because I do not care. This one about preachers, yeah, I’m definitely am NOT going to even consider watching because of the bad taste it puts in my mouth about those who wish to deceive God’s people, and it makes it harder for me to defend God when crap like this goes out. Thank you for your insight on this matter, and I will be posting this on my facebook page for others to share.

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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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