TLC network's newest reality television show, "The Sisterhood," has outraged many Christians. The program details the lives of five Atlanta-based pastors' wives, known as "first ladies" in some evangelical churches. People magazine says the women "argue, get tattoos, work out to look hot and talk openly about sex, drugs and their not-so-godly pasts."
The debut aired Jan. 1 and has drawn sharp criticism. A notable gospel artist, Pastor Marvin Sapp, posted a social cam response to the show, saying it is detrimental to the faith and quoting Proverbs 11:22, "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion."
America's fascination with reality TV is puzzling. It seems the more outlandish the characters, the higher the ratings. Some believe such programming is therapeutic watching others behaving badly can be amusing and may help viewers justify their own bad behavior.
While there are some seemingly harmless and inspiring programs such as "The Voice" the majority seem to border on the ridiculous: "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," "Jersey Shore" and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."
"The Sisterhood" is no exception, and objections to it are many.
The show portrays preachers' wives in a negative light. It is laced with unnecessary disagreements between the women (seemingly a staple of reality TV). In the first episode, an argument ensues because one of the wives is accused of referencing Scriptures excessively in her conversation. The vicious attacks say little about the women's sisterhood and much less about their faith. And most pastors' wives are not lashing out haphazardly at everyone as implied by the title of the first show, "Thou Shalt Not Cross a First Lady."
The program also exposes too much of the private lives of publicly confessing Christians. While Christians should not pretend to be perfect and there can be benefits to depicting pastors and their families as regular people with regular problems, it is unwise to air all our dirty laundry. The Scriptures caution believers not to take advantage of the liberty we have in Christ for the sake of those who are weaker in the faith or those we proselytize.
As a pastor with a family and who was reared in a preacher's home, I'd say "Sisterhood" hardly reflects reality. The average pastor is just that, average. We don't have weekly dinner parties, and our wives don't get together and argue.
By their admission, most of the women of "The Sisterhood" are struggling financially and seem to be staging dramatic moments to make money and garner ratings. It's unnerving to think what the rest of the season will reveal.
Christianity is under constant scrutiny by a skeptical world. The last thing we need is manufactured negativity from some of our own.
Contact Corey J. Hodges, pastor of New Pilgrim Baptist Church, at firstname.lastname@example.org.