âPreachers of L.A.â Misses the Point

‘Preachers of L.A.’ Misses the Point

[OPINION] Brooke Obie says the popular reality show won't deliver anyone any time soon

Brooke Obie

by Brooke Obie, October 30, 2013

âPreachers of L.A.â Misses the Point

was impactful and necessary and more people should have seen that and learned from it. We shouldn't have had to wade through the shallowness that is the rest of the episode to see it.

The next time we see the Haizlips in episode three, they are ministering to a clearly emaciated woman named DJ who is out walking her dog in the park. Pastor Haizlip introduces himself to her and asks if there is anything he can pray about with her and she just unloads her burden onto them, telling them of her suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and serious depression. I cried watching it and hearing Pastor Haizlip say, “I am here as a direct result of God saying, ‘DJ, I love you.’ And I want to pray for you.”  That is what pastors—Black and White and every other race—all across this country are doing for the hurt, the broken and the poor. Christians are hungry for that kind of reality show and would support it. But just like when cast member Deitrick Haddon tells Bishop Gibson to wrap up leading Rick Dogg and another former gang member through "the sinner's prayer," Oxygen seems to believe it's only useful to show these powerful scenes once per episode.

Instead, Oxygen zeroes in on Haddon and his then-fiancée (now-wife) Dominique’s insistence that the Bible says nothing against people living together who aren’t married (it does), or divorced Bishop Noel Jones’s musings on whether God really intended for men to be monogamous, while he strings along a woman "friend" for 16 years, or Bishop Clarence McClendon's insistence that traveling with an entourage is necessary in order for him to be an effective preacher.

Is Oxygen leaving the actual ministering the Black pastors are doing on the cutting room floor, in exchange for shots of the bling rings in order to further perpetuate stereotypes of Black extravagance? Or are these distractions all that these particular cast members have to offer? Time will tell. Meanwhile, the show is enjoying record-breaking ratings for the network, so don't expect the formula of foolishness to change.

In fact, don't expect any changes at all from this show. While the profile of these preachers and their wives will no doubt grow, with or without Preachers of L.A​, people who think poorly of pastors, Christians or the Church will continue to do so. People who love their pastors will continue to do so. Christians who look for excuses not to join a church will continue to do so. Absolutely nothing at all will be changed by this show's existence. And, as a Christian, that’s how you know you’re doing it wrong.

Brooke Obie writes the column "The Spiritual Life" on EBONY.com. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeObie

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