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COMMENTARY: Revelations or Ridiculousness? Black Pastors Star in Reality TV Show

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Would you really want your pastor – and your congregation – to star in a reality television show?

I’m not knocking the six black pastors who have signed on for a new reality show on Oxygen called “Pastors of L.A.” — a detailed look at the lives of men of God in Los Angeles.

But I do question why the pastors chose to participate in the show. Are they truly hoping to use the program to minister to those who need spiritual guidance? Or are they simply using the high-profile media platform to rake in more cash and bask in the spotlight of a national television audience?

“Pastors of L.A.’ will give viewers a candid and revealing look at six boldly different and world renowned mega-pastors in Southern California, who are willing to share diverse aspects of their lives, from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the very large and sometimes provocative lives they lead away from the pulpit,” says a press release from Oxygen.

Like many viewers, I’ll watch the show with an open mind and see what revelations are presented and hope – and pray – that the show isn’t a mess. Some say the concept of a show about black pastors is “madness.”

There’s no doubt that Oxygen has assembled six charismatic characters to star in the show, some of whom have checkered pasts  and questionable backgrounds, others who are living large in ocean front mansions and enjoy rock-star status in their churches and communities.

So what can folks hope to get from the show? An entertaining hour of life behind the pulpit? Or will viewers actually learn more about how God works in our lives?

Meanwhile, the show already has its detractors.

“I really take issue with this…first it’s ‘Mary Mary,’ then it’s the ‘Sisterhood,’ then it’s ‘Preachers’ Daughters’ now it’s pastors on a reality show,” one woman wrote on Essence.com. “This madness needs to end.”

“Pastors of LA” stars Bishop Noel Jones, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson and Pastor Jay Haizlip as they manage money and drama from the pulpit.

“This show documents a journey of transparency from one man to the next as they endeavor to lead others to their own truth and self-discovery,” said executive producer Holly Carter who holds a doctorate of divinity. She is also the daughter of a pastor and an industry veteran in faith and inspirational development and programming.

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