Reality shows are undoubtedly taking over television, and we’re giving in. The newest reality TV show debuting on the Oxygen network is called, “Preachers of L.A.” The show features a look into the lavish lives of six preachers – Pastor Jay Haizlip, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, Minister Deitrick Haddon, Pastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Noel Jones.
According to Oxygen Media:
These men of God will share diverse aspects of their dynamic lives, from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the very large and captivating lives they lead away from the pulpit. While “Preachers of L.A.” documents these pastors’ lifestyles, the series also focuses on the daily struggles and triumphs they face as men, husbands, fathers, brothers and friends.
But, you kind of have to ask yourself if this type of exposure is good or bad for the church. Does this do a good job of humanizing Christians and preachers or does this perpetuate the stereotypes associated with the church?
Controversy has indeed erupted since before the premier of the television show. It’s not often that you encounter church leaders being the main focus of reality TV. Most notably, reality television often focuses on black wealth and makes a charade of the dramatic experiences of their day-to-day life. The whole idea of displaying rich African Americans as foolish, wild, and extravagant doesn’t quite go hand-in-hand with the church, so what’s the angle?
There are always two sides to a story. One side looks to take preachers off of pedestals that society creates, and the preacher’s job is to show that they too have struggles, downfalls, and problems in their life just like everyone else. While the other side believes that the show will glorify the opulence of the ministry or damage the “good Christian church” image, which leads Christians to assume that it will turn away non-believers from Christ and welcome religious hypocrisy.
Although I don’t think it makes you any less of a preacher or Christian to drive a Ferrari and live in a mansion. God did give up his life so that we can live more abundantly. Isn’t that part of the reason we’re always praying and reading our Word, to be blessed by Him? We sometimes can be our own hypocrites. There should be more of a focus on what these preachers are doing rather than a focus on what they’re buying. They’re purpose on the show is to expose their lives to the public, so that they can prove to people that they’re not perfect and you don’t have to be perfect to come to God. In society’s mind, preachers set the standard for what to do, but “Preachers of L.A.” changes that by also showing what not to do.
On the other hand, people view this as the loss of integrity of preachers in the church. There is already a heavy criticism on the glitz and glamorous lifestyle of church leaders that makes people question whether church has become a business or a place to cultivate a relationship with God. Plus reality television simply promotes the immorality that shouldn’t have any association with the church. And the congregation turns to preachers to be leaders and doers of the Word, rather than perpetuators of the corrupt behavior. For this reason, society has shied away from committing their lives to Christ, because they view the church as shady and phony. Who’s to blame them when we’re quick to parade our mistakes and wrong decisions on television for everyone to see?
The biggest issue may be that reality television makes the church vulnerable to criticism and shares the truth about iniquities occurring in the church. The question is, do you change the channel or keep watching?
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