The Preachers of L.A.: Message or Personal Agenda?

October 23, 2013
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This Reality TV get-attention quick gimmick is running a strong course. As exhausting as it may be, there’s still a draw egging people to be all in-tune with the lives of celebrities and public figures. The business has proven to be profitable, however, integrity gets a kick in the arse, immediately. Everyone wants a piece of the action and believes that their stories and drama need to be shared with the universe. Yeah, okay.

Where’s the creativity? Anywho, producers are beginning to make a show out of any and everything and now we’ve turned to the religious and spiritual sector. Last year, the TLC network caught flack for their reality show, “The Sisterhood” which focused on the lives of preacher’s wives. It didn’t work so well, and after one season, the show got the axe.

Now, the Oxygen network is remixing the idea with “The Preachers of L.A.” focusing on the lives and careers of six pastors with varying personalities and styles. But one thing for sure, all of them are paid and appears to be flaunting the glamor of their success. After only two episodes, the fuel has been set and Black Pastors are showing no support for the show.

Viewers watch with mouths dropped to the floor in awe of the multiple fancy cars, mansions,flashy jewelry and the like. It is wrong for them to have that? No, not at all. But what is the true message being brought to the forefront here? While most of their congregation is suffering and giving their last to the church in hopes of increase, the bishops, preachers, and pastors are “living the life.” It’s a bit confusing and discouraging.

In addition, it appears that there’s an ulterior motive in the process. The produced content is questionable. Is there a message or are these pastors out of for public attention and fulfilling a self-indulgent agenda?

Here’s what a few Black Pastors had to say:

By Jonathan P. Hicks

There is a growing outcry from Black ministers who are heaping negative reviews on the new reality television show, The Preachers of LA.

The show, which airs on the Oxygen Network, follows the lives of six men of the cloth in the pulpit and at home. It quickly generated strong reaction from preachers throughout the country who contend that the show presents ministers as being driven by fame and fortune.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of the nation’s most prominent African-American pastors, spoke to his Dallas congregation recently and referred to the show as “junk.”

“Now, I know you been watching that junk on TV,” Jakes said. “I want to tell you right now, not one dime of what you’re sowing right now will buy my suit. I want you to know my car is paid for.”

Jakes added: ”I want you to know I got my house on my own. I want you to know I’m not bling-blinging. I am not shake and bake. I had money when I came to Dallas and I plan to have some when I leave.” He further explained to his congregation: “I’m not from L.A. I’m from Dallas.”

Similarly, the Rev. James C. Perkins, the pastor of Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit and vice president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, said that the depiction of the ministers on the show was likely to cause people to believe that clergy are primarily interested in celebrity.

“I don’t think the show represents the best of the Black church tradition,” said Perkins, in an interview with BET.com.

“The downside is that people often paint all pastors with a broad brush and, after watching this show, they may well begin to associate all pastors with those behaviors,” he said. “There are many pastors who are out here serving the people and not just serving themselves.”

Another critic is a minister from Los Angeles, who said that the show does harm to the church.

“I don’t have a problem with them doing a reality show,” said the Rev. Michael J.T. Fisher, the pastor of the Greater Zion Church Family of Compton, California. “I have a problem with the content that’s displayed.”

Rev. Fisher said that the ministers in the show had broken an unwritten rule among preachers by displaying some of their personal issues and frailties in front of a national audience. “There is an unwritten code that we deal with our issues privately so that we can be strong publicly,” he said, in an interview with BET.com.

“They are giving the world ammunition to shoot back at the church and not accept the message that it is trying to convey,” he said. “They’ve sold out. It will call for pastors all over the country to have to defend their integrity because these men have decided to chase their dream of being in the public eye.”


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