Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reviews of Christian TV Shows

As a rule I do not watch a lot of tv.  Generally at night Jon and I will watch prerecorded news shows ( DVRs are the best invention!)  We also watch Duck Dynasty:)  The kids watch a lot more tv than we do, I'd much rather read a book!

But last night I watched two episodes of "the Duggars" and then a new TLC show called "Preaching Alabama"  The Duggars just kill me.  I do not know why I watch them because I feel they are in an evangelical "cult".  Yes I believe they are Christians but I think they have things a bit warped.  They follow a sect of evangelical Christianity that promotes a form of legalism  that affects families.  What I mean if their leaders (several who have fallen into sexual sin themselves) try to dictate how a family should live regarding their dress, non birth control, homeschooling, courting, even the length of a person's hair.   I grew up in LEGALISM and I hate the smell of it.  That being said, I do think the Duggar family try their best to live for God.  There is a sweetness about them, especially the kids, Michelle, well I just want to shake her sometimes and Jim Bob is a bit over the top.  I do not care for their PDAs (public displays of affection) or anyone's, my kids would die if my husband and I acted like that in public!

That being said "Preaching Alabama" is the opposite evangelical extreme......  it's a family -an older retired preacher daddy and mama.  Then two daughters who are married to ministers.  The 6 of them are starting a church in Alabama   Let's just say there is none of the Duggar  legalism there, tattoos and piercing abound. 

But there is something that drives me BATTY....I do not care if someone has tats or wears a long dress BUT when the focus is on the outward, whatever the outward looks like, then that is wrong.  What I'm saying is there can be legalism to dress a certain way to be considered "cool" also.  I see that with ministers now.  We have some friends, older than us who dress cooler than my teenaged son!  I just laugh at 50's something year olds who wear "holey" jeans and a cool shirt to preach in so they are "relevant"   Got a secret for you....You're NOT cool, you just look funny.  And yes I laugh at you! 

When I see anyone going out of their way to dress a certain way, I have to wonder what is going on?  I think the way the Duggars dress bring WAY more attention to their bodies than if they just had on a decent shirt and a pair of jeans.  To me that is modesty-not bringing undue attention to yourself.   if you are going to go horseback riding WHY do you feel the need to wear a skirt over a pair of pants?  That makes people look at a person more than if they just had on jeans and a shirt.  (that was part of last night's episode) 

Ok the same goes for the "I'm free from legalism" extreme......  when you have tattoos, body piercings and silly awls in your ears, all you are doing is bringing attention to your outward body.    Then I've seen those folks, become legalistic AGAINST people who did not dress cool or have tats and piercings LOL!!!

Our church runs the gamete from people who dress very conservatively to bikers:)   It's not about the outward.  The bikers are just that bikers, they dress in what is comfortable for them.  The conservatives wear what they are comfortable in and no one has a point to prove!

Anyhow I was so troubled by the new show.  Here this family is starting a church.  I KNOW that someone edited their hours of film, we've been on TV enough to know not everything said and done gets on the final cut.  BUT I was troubled by many statements made.

In the evangelical church world (Pentecostal and non Pentecostal) there is a "new" way to start a church.  First let me say there are sooooooooooooooo many older churches that could be renovated like our church.  I know in our denomination, we close as many churches as we open yearly.  So a lot of the older churches already OWN buildings debt free but rather than work on the buildings and regrow the church in number, most just throw their hands up and want to go start something new.  Statistically people will come to a new church. 

So the new idea is to rent/buy a "non church" looking building, give it a silly non biblical  name ie Movement Church, Ignite, Fuel Church, Journey, Lift, Flood gates, Epic church. Life, Bridge,  Lifebridge, etc and etc......  (although I kinda like the name Journey church)   Then instead of calling themselves CHRISTIAN they are now called "Christ followers"  (Christian is too old fashioned)

Then inside has to be all cool.....when we were redoing our church, I was advised we should paint a wall BLACK ....I just laughed and said we are a country church and our folks would think we'd lost our minds trying to be "cool"   There is nothing wrong with a specific color, it is just yet again the focus becomes on the outward things, rather than focusing on God.

Anyhow this show is telling the story of the new classic non denominational church plant....but it is telling it badly.

One thing that is "cool" in the evangelical is doing things for the community.  Y'all know I'm ALL about giving and doing for others BUT the difference is I don't believe you should do for others as a TOOL to grow your church!

Doing things as a tool to grow a church makes me very uncomfortable.  For example this church first gave out little baggies of laundry detergent with some pamphlet about their church to people in Laundromats.  That didn't go over good.  Then they tried a "Free" carwash so they could "serve" their community.  No they did the carwash so people would feel obligated to come to their church.  That's a marketing strategy, "do something to make someone feel indebted to you then they will do what you want them to do"  The bible teaches us to do things for "those who can not repay us" 

But what bothered me most is the lament the pastor's wife (co pastor- I won't even go there)  would keep saying....  she was so upset that not enough people would come and GIVE so they could keep going.    They had committed to buying so much equipment and things for their church that they felt they needed the income from the new members to make it.   I can truly say I've never thought like that!

The way we look at things is IF God wants the church to go on....He will be the provider.  It might come from church members or from a surprise source but GOD is in control. 

Let me tell you as a pastor's wife I do understand wanting to grow a church.  I'd love to see our church bursting at the seams every Sunday NOT to pay the bills but that people were coming to Christ, living for God, finding victory in their life, being a part of a fellowship.......

We have chosen to live modestly.  When we redid our church, we did it nice, but we also did not buy the most expensive carpet, sound system, media system...etc....  we stayed in the middle.  We were determined not to go into debt and not to use money too freely on THINGS!   For example we used to go to a church that has a large beautiful chandelier in it's large lobby.  When I learned the chandelier had cost over $40,000 I felt SICK!  To me that is a waste of God's money.  I've seen too many needs and hungry children to spend $40.000 on a light fixture......

One area that we've never struggled in since we have pastored is trusting God for the finances.  My husband does occasionally preach about tithing and giving.  It's in the bible and it's a GREAT way to live BUT he shares that it is a JOY to give to God and others.  And I do absolutely believe in living with an "open hand approach", keep our hands open and NOT clutching onto things, being free to be able to give.  God does bless folks in many ways when they give to others and to the work of God but maybe not in just financial ways.   There is just something freeing about giving to others! 
Recently I've also watched "Preachers of LA"  People had asked me if I'd seen it for a year or more so I finally remembered to DVR it....  Talk about foolishness.....  That show more focuses on the individual pastors and their families' private lives.....LORD HAVE MERCY as my grandmother would say!  I watched 3 or 4 episodes and all I can say is thank God I do not personally know any preachers who live like those ones..... 

One show I watched last year was "Snake Salvation"   The pastors on there were straight up crazy, handling snakes but what I did like about them was the fact they actually seemed to care about the people in their community with true compassion.  Of course they thought the answer for the folks was to "get saved and handle snakes" but there was a focus on people and not things.  Of course the show was stopped when one of the pastors got "out of the faith" and got bit by a rattle snake and died....

So what do all these shows have in common???  They show extreme people who are a bit off.  Last night's tv viewing will cause me to go back to my news shows for sure!   I was very disappointed in the new show "Preaching Alabama"      I have mutual friends with them so that is a bit awkward but I have to be honest, I do not like how that show portrays Pastors!    I really dislike the "new" way of church planting and feel that while numbers may come in (or may not, more than 80% of those type of churches fail within 5 years) DISCIPLIES are not made!  People don't learn to walk with God through life.  Often these churches do surveys to see what the community thinks it wants.  That sounds good right?   I think it is wrong,  the church is coming with the answer for the need whether a person lives in the hood or the richest mansion in the city.

Ok my ranting is over, maybe.....these are things I think about and think deeply about since I am a pastor's wife NOT a I said that is another rant all together!


  1. Your ranting hit home with me. Our 50-something pastor (now 60-something) switched to holey jeans and remodeled the beautiful sanctuary to look like a warehouse, but is still miffed that the outside is a beautiful building with a steeple. I am not sure why he hasn't gone to a strip mall for his dream church. Anyway, we moved on, but he's still going strong, pretending to be young and cool and having some success ;-)

  2. So much truth! There's a certain denomination with pretty sound doctrine, but every time I visit a church no matter what City or State it's in, I'm always amused to find the pastor wearing a Hawaiin shirt and khakis. And they sort of look down at pastors who wear suits!

    We hired a pastor a few years back and got a fire baptism about "church growth" methodology! It was an awful time that only lasted four months - pastor already had plans to borrow almost a million dollars to renovate the church and have a coffee house to all the crazy methods you mentioned. He was let go but not without causing a lot of pain, division and a church split. The people who were not going along with the program were vilified. 8 years later, we are vindicated but saddened as all those who left for the new program in town all stopped going to church, the pastor ended up divorced and has had several run ins with the law for public drunkeness and fighting with the cops! He had so much promise but was drunk with the idea of a mega church.