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Another "Christian" Reality Show?
"Heavenly Father, thank you for never giving up on your people. Thank you for your unconditional love, unmerited favor and saving grace. We pray, that in spite of what is going to be said and in spite of ill-gotten intentions when it comes to Preachers of LA, that souls are saved and lives are changed. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen."
Let Me First Say...
I know there are many different viewpoints and opinions when it comes to how Christians should conduct their lives, in or out of the scope of a camera lens. This article in NO WAY will speak on how someone should or should not live their lives. This article will not be a forum for debating scripture. This article is not here to criticize these proclaimed men of God. This article will ask more questions then give answers. This article is a forum that allows me to speak MY mind on the subject of Preachers of LA. I pray as I write this that God continue to draw near to ALL that draw near to him.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev 12:11).
Back in the "good ol' days" of the black church, there was a part of the serivce where members of the church were allowed to come before the congregation and give their testimony. Steve Harvey gave a perfect example of this part of church service when he joked about Sister Odell in the hit comedy "The Kings of Comedy." The dictionary defines testimony as "evidence in support of a fact or statement; proof." Basically, a testimony in the life of a Christian tells and shows proof of how good and faithful God is and has been. Testimonys help build the faith of believers by showing evidence supporting that God "will do it." Preachers of LA (and other shows like Mary Mary and The Sheards) is today's way of testifying, especially to the world. Now, how, why and when to testify is clearly a big debate in the body of Christ but that discussion is for another conversation.
Presenting to all, Introducing to some...
Preachers of LA follow the lives and ministries of six prominent pastors in the LA area. There is Pastor Jay Haizlip, Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, Pastor Wayne Chaney, and Pastor and successful gospel artist Deitrick Haddon. Just like any reality show, there is always an introduction of its “characters.”
Ron Gibson, Bishop of Life Church of God in Christ in Riverside, California, is not your typical Bishop. He starts the show off saying “you see my glory but you don’t know my story.” He testifies on the show that he was raised in South Central, California and joined a gang by the age of 16. Shortly after his gang initiation, he became addicted to PCP and battled the addiction for 7 years. After almost losing his life to a drug overdose, Gibson proclaims that he was saved and converted to Christianity that very night. His marriage is also a testimony of its own. His high school sweetheart left him for many years until he got his life back in order and as of today they have been married 31 years.
Deitrick’s testimony is a bit more controversial than Bishop Gibsons. Deitrick tells viewers that God has and is bringing him out of one of the biggest issues plaguing the Christian church- sex and divorce. Deitrick preached his first sermon at 11 years old. He shares that he was called to God at a very young age and knew he was extremely talented. He also shares that he married early and infidelity broke up his first marriage. In the process of trying to move on from a broken home, he tells us he “fell from grace” but also says he fell in love. He is now engaged to the mother of his small daughter, whom he met while still married.
PREACHERS OF LA Trailer
Good or Bad
Without a doubt you can see the passion that these men have for what they do. Bishop Gibson has not forgotten his testimony so he continues to go to where most wouldn’t dare go to share the goodness of Jesus. When having a discussion with Bishop McClendon, Deitrick displays his frustrations with “business as usual” when it comes to the leadership in the church. All these men have powerful testimonies and have come mighty long ways from where they used to be, but the question remains, “Will this make ‘us’ (Christians) look even worse?”
As a believer, I can say there are some things that happened that caused me to raise an eyebrow but I am not oblivious that with media comes an agenda. I am not dumb to the effects of editing and I listen to how words are put together. For example, Deitrick Haddon described himself as a “gospel entertainer.” My twitter blew up with the question “what exactly is a gospel entertainer?” I simply replied with “good question.” Knowing the definition of the words “gospel” and “entertainers,” it comes across as someone who makes “the gospel” entertaining; a bit more appealing. Maybe his statement would’ve been better received by twitter if he would’ve described himself as a Christian entertainer.
We are all quick to say and hashtag the phrase “don’t judge me” but are we truly free from judging others? As you watch this show, put yourself in these mens shoes'. It may be hard to do if you are not saved and do not live by the same principles, but try anyway. As I sit and watch this show, I hope to understand these men, to pray for these men and to support the gospel of Jesus by undergirding these men in prayer. Who knows, this could be a good thing! Let’s not be so quick to be pessimistic; it only has been one episode. If you missed it, #YouKnowIGotYou! Go to www.oxygen.com and watch the first full episode!