Christian Reality TV, Lord Help Us All

I’m still alive. I am. I promise.

Honestly. I’ve taken two Ambien tonight (they’re my prescription before you ask) and I’m not tired.

So, I thought I’d blog while my lovely wife Cynthia is fast asleep. She’s been dealing with some health issues lately, so please pray for her.

I heard a radio personality go on recently about reality TV. I’m not a fan personally. I can’t stand the stuff. I think I watched the first season of Survivor then swore off of it. However, the radio guy made a good point – people watch it because it is filled with conflict. People are drawn to personalities and especially conflict. Right?

We saw Donald Trump and his show about big business – and it was filled with conflict. We watch people go across the country and it’s filled with conflict. We watch people live in houses together – why? Because of the conflict.

One thing, however, that we’ve never watched – and you know where I’m going – is a reality show based on a church.

What would happen if some large network was actually able to get into a church – into the inner workings of a church and show what really happened? Don’t get me started.

Let me be honest though. There are some big churches that wouldn’t show you what really happens. They’d put on “church face” and put on the idea that everything is just cozy and wonderful. But it’s a dang lie. You know what? Jesus’ own disciples had serious problems. Didn’t they? Weren’t the gospels and Acts a pretty good reality show? I mean Ananias and his wife were a disaster in the early church. What church members get killed for lying about giving? Weren’t there issues there just about every chapter?

But if we sent a camera crew to a whitewashed Southern Baptist church, they wouldn’t want you to see their warts, would they? Because it would be bad for the press. It would hurt membership to know that the leadership was in such disarray. To hear some of the things the pastor and staff said about the members – and in turn, some of the things the membership said about the leadership.

We want “church faces” on every week. It’s good to be smug. Good to be in our places when the cameras are rolling so that we all seem so non-vulnerable for the world.

But Lord, who’s like that? Scripture doesn’t present anyone that way. It presents person after person as a fallen human being. As someone broken in need of a redeemer. Not as someone who shows up in church in a suit or Easter bonnet. When someone shows up in church with their hair out of place, in jeans, and they smell bad, we get a little nervous.

What if the reality show went to a rural church – like the one I pastored? And they saw the nitty gritty of how people were? What if they saw how nasty people could be? What if they saw how jaded the pastor had become after a decade of work? What if they saw people complaining over carpet color? What if they saw people complacent after sitting in a pew despite the fact that the Word of God was being preached?

I’ll tell you what, the higher ups at the SBC wouldn’t like a show like that. They’d fight it.

But it’s reality.

And a lot of people sitting at home would say, “That’s why I don’t go to church. Bunch of hypocrites.”

And if I was still the pastor there, I’d think, “I don’t blame them. But I love those people. How can I reach them?” And my heart would break. Because inside the church I had people who thought their hearts were right but they were full of pride. Outside the church, I had people who knew they needed help but didn’t want to come near it because of the prideful people within. And within the church, there was me. A sinful man who wasn’t right to lead any of them.

And now, I find myself rejected by a church I just recently joined. The pastor had welcomed Cynthia and me in. I told him to tell the deacons about my past, but he said there wouldn’t be any need. But after a few months, a member found out and started making noise about it. The pastor realized that he should have said something and asked us in a round about way to make ourselves scarce, despite the fact that we’re trying to live right now.

I have friends now who I never would have had before. They tell me that they would never step foot inside a church because it’s (you know what I’m about to say) full of hypocrites. People who act better than them, but aren’t. They’re the same people they went to high school with, who they see acting just like them six days a week but on Sunday they get their Christian best on.

Almost a decade ago I would have defended the church goers to these people. But now? I’m starting to see their point. Maybe we do need a church reality TV series.
Lord help us all.

Huh. Didn’t Know This.

What they don’t teach you in seminary.

Guess they were too focused on the Reformation to tell you this or this.

Yeah, don’t bother telling me how Wikipedia is such an informed resource. This Baptist is just a little surprised. No, it doesn’t change my theology much (at all). Just perks up my ears a bit. The Reformers were presented to us as heroes against Catholicism.

If you tried to tell your church this stuff, they’d run you out on a rail.

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