I’m Conflicted About Preachers of LA. And I Have Questions.

By Thursday, October 10, 2013 8 Permalink 0

 

Preachers of L.A.

With reality shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta (and other major cities), Basketball Wives, Love and Hip Hop, Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, {Insert} Wars, and Catfish, I shouldn’t be surprised that one came along about preachers. I really shouldn’t. But, with the first commercial for Preachers of LA show, I was. That shock then turned to conflict. A reality show…about preachers…men of God…in LA…most likely balling outrageously and ostentatiously…on Oxygen…with Jesus watching us watch. There was no way anything good could come of that. There was no way I’d be watching the show. Nope. Not me.

But yeah…

I found myself on the couch watching the second half of the premiere — conflict in tow. Let me be clear with you on a few things though.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to church, and it’s been a while since I’ve even had an in-depth conversation about God. Whenever I do get back in the habit, I’m not sure what type of church it’ll be because I have issues with so many of them. I shouldn’t care about this show. It’s not relevant to my life right now. But for some reason, here I am writing a post about it. You’ll see this come up later, but it’s worth something that the show even has me thinking about church. Anyway…

By the time I tuned in, there was a lot of singing and dancing going on. Then there were two gang members (one of which was right out of the Gin and Juice video) on stage being saved. Then there was a bishop sitting in his chair at home while talking to his wife about something another preacher did that ground his gears. Then there’s a group of preachers discussing church issues during the “man cave” session in some house. That turns into a good discussion on if a preacher needs an entourage and other excesses, which led to a preacher feeling disrespected when his knowledge of the Bible was questioned. Of course there’d be conflict. This wouldn’t have aired without it!

The last thing we got was a preview of what’s to come…and it wasn’t all bad. Yes, you could see there are plenty of emotional scenes in store. But you also saw the preachers helping people afflicted with issues and giving them hope. My conflict and the show’s conflict is real.

I have a lot of questions. How did they find these preachers? What was said to these pastors to get them to agree other than “we’ll pay you”? Is the money they’re receiving from the show going into their pockets or into the church? Are they really gonna be manipulated into whatever drives ratings, or will they really be showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly of what happens behind the church scenes? Is it possible that these “man cave” discussions — while heated at times — will drive online and offline discussion about what’s happening in the church? Will the show lead people back to the church or push them further from it? Will we see people’s lives improved by these preachers one minute, only to be followed with the rachetry that we’ve come to expect from reality tv? Should we be getting our reality tv entertainment from the church? And the most important question of all…

Will those of us who believe in God receive afterlife demerits for watching Preachers of LA? And if we do, will those demerits be assigned on a per tweet, per minute, or per hour watched basis? This is the sh*t we really need to know. Ain’t nobody tryin’ to eat the apple that sends them to hell.

And it’s these questions that have me both conflicted and hooked into watching the next episode. I can’t call it right now. I’ll have to do a follow up in a week or two (or at the end of the season so help me God).

How about you? Did you watch the show? If so, will you watch again? If not, why not? Do you think Preachers of LA should be on tv? Do you think it will offer any redeeming value other than laughs and tweets? Are you as conflicted as I am about this? Share your thoughts freely in the comments.

Rich

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  • Rich, I wondered about this show, but didn’t tune in. I love the “afterlife demerits” part. I think I lose IQ points every time I watch reality show.

    I wondered because we all boycotted a certain network because it was showing Shawty Lo’s perspective on life and I’m pretty sure the bad and the ugly on display should at least be questioned. If the money is going to their churches I can see that, but sadly I can see it if it is going to their pockets, too.

    Thanks for the write up.

  • Kahlil

    You put a lot of great questions together here. I thought of a couple of them,but I was conflicted a bunch while watching myself. I think I need another episode to fully grasp the whole vibe. I think the man cave sessions are a pivotal and important part of the show. This show can help the church greatly if forgiveness and understanding eventually are a focal. Until then I’ll enjoy the discourse this show will spark.

  • Summer

    Hello all,

    LMBO @ that demerits comment! Hilarious!! Ok, as a pastors kid (grew up in the church), who has also been a member of a “mega-church,” I was kind of skeptical about watching (for many, many reasons). To be honest, I just caught it on OnDemand this morning. As soon as I finished watching, I called my mom, gave her a run down & asked for her thoughts. And we both agreed on this point: there should NOT be a reality show about preachers. Period. What are they trying to gain? Is it really to help others? Like I said, I am a PK and I know that people who did not grow up in the church often don’t know that there is more to what meets the eye. People often don’t know the full back story about how the families have sacrificed, the effects on the children and spouses, what goes on behind the scenes of the ministry, how there really are women who throw themselves at the pastor because they want to be first lady, or how a ministry runs (it really is a business in the sense that the building, utilities, staff, etc. are not free; not to mention books, tapes, television ministry).
    I also know what some might not want to admit, pastors and their families deal with real life issues just like everyone else. Trust there is no pass, no exemption from the drama, so you can bet we will likely see that on the show, but hopefully we will see them deal with it differently than what we see on other reality shows. I think Preachers of L.A. shows men, who may have struggled in the past, who have turned their lives around,and who now in ministry, may still struggle with some of those past issues. From what I saw, some of these men are more focused on what they have and not on the true calling of their ministry. I am more interested in the ministry, how lives are being changed, what is being done to help others. I had an issue with some of what I saw, because while I do not necessarily have a problem with pastors doing well, having more streams of income, etc. is it a good idea to make that the focal point of your ministry? Is the money being used to help others as well or just to fund a lavish lifestyle?…I have just as much many questions as you do Rich. Too many to address at this time. I will be watching and hoping & praying that something positive comes out of this show.

    • Rich

      Great comment and perspective! I’m definitely gonna circle back for a follow up post after the next episode. The questions are really endless right now. I do like that it’s sparking dialogue. But the jury is still out on where that dialogue will go.

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  • I had my doubts, but this show was kind of refreshing to me, and felt much different than The Sisterhood (the one that aired earlier this year about preachers’ wives). All of the men featured turn the stereotype of the typical preacher on its head, and that’s a good thing. There are different ways to spread the gospel and bring people to the Lord. Yes, it’s a tv show so there was some drama and it ended with a bit of a blowup. But there was a very thoughtful discussion about the word of God that preceded it.

    I understand how it rubs many folks the wrong way to see preachers living a glamorous lifestyle, but on the whole they don’t seem to be any more materialistic than a regular person. Who do you know that isn’t at all concerned with building wealth? The love of money is something that we all struggle with. I definitely had a side-eye for Deitrick, who managed to get another woman pregnant before his divorce was final, but there’s probably more than a few of his parishioners who have been in the same or similar situation. The fact that he chooses to live apart from his fiance until they get married, despite their obvious slip-up in celibacy, shows self-awareness and repentance. Bishop Ron’s intervention in the gang conflict is commendable as well. And Bishop Noel’s admittance that he struggles with overwhelming female attention and may not remarry was interesting too. If you struggle with sexual monogamy marriage is not a cure, but all too many people think it is.

    A lot of the problems in the church come from people putting church leaders on a pedestal and expecting them to live a perfectly righteous life at all times. Nobody can live up to that- even Jesus didn’t want to get crucified if there was another way to save our souls! Servants of God are no less human than the rest of us, and I think it’s helpful that people recognize hat they sin, too. My generation (I’m 25, by the way) is less engaged with church in large part because we’re tired of the hypocrisy. Advice on living a righteous life from someone who has sinned and redeemed himself, is much more credible to me than the same from someone who acts like they have never struggled. Moreover, if we accept that they’re sinners, maybe we won’t be so quick to ignore those who say they have been preyed upon, and we can more easily eject folks like Eddie Long who are taking advantage of their power.

    Sorry for writing a book in the comments. Great post, I’ll be watching for the follow-up!

    • Rich

      “Advice on living a righteous life from someone who has sinned and redeemed himself, is much more credible to me than the same from someone who acts like they have never struggled.”

      I like this point. I feel this way about a lot of stuff. I’m apt to trust someone that admits their vulnerabilities, faults, and failures more than someone focused on maintaining an excessively clean image.

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  • I know I am in the minority but I like the show. I’m a PK (pastor’s kid) and what had always annoyed me is the mindset that pastors, their wives and children have some extra layer of “holiness” that requires them to be perfect. Pastors are humans. They sin, they fall. Just as humans, there are some you’ll identify with and others you can do without seeing/speaking to. The show presents the human side, not the unattainable pedestal of perfection that others want from their ministers. Frankly, I believe “the saints” set the standard hoping pastors fall so they can talk and say “See, that’s why I can’t do this Christian thing”, but that’s Pandora’s box and I’ll leave that alone. *off my soapbox*

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