|The cast of TLC’s reality show, “The Sisterhood”|
Anyway, my buddy Ryan from high school let everyone know that his producer wife had a new reality show coming out and encouraged us to check it out. The show, “The Sisterhood” is about the First Ladies, or Pastor’s wives, at a few churches in Atlanta. In this first episode, the viewers are introduced the cast of five women who are serving in the church with their husbands (in most instances). One thing that these women have in common is that they all love the Lord. Actually, they have two things in common…they are all outspoken, too! In the first episode, we saw one Pastor gift his wife with handcuffs for their anniversary, another minister show his teenage daughters how to put a condom on using a banana, and one First Lady get checked for trying to pontificate in the middle of a discussion. Of course, once she got checked…it was on. Teasers for upcoming episodes show a rocky marriage, a past shady life, and financial difficulties being shared. Basically, some of the stuff that happens every day in all types of families, these just happen to be church folk.
As I watched the show with my social media peeps (because that’s what we do), it was interesting to see how divided people were about it. Some folks, like myself, thought it was entertaining, and were planning to watch it again. Other folks weren’t so pleased with it. Many of the women that I know online who are married to ministers, shared that they were unhappy with how pastor’s wives were depicted, and were concerned that it would make it seem like some of the less than holy behavior displayed on the show was typical of people in church, and turn people away from the church. I understand where they’re coming from. Look, I’m a single mother, and I’m Black. I get it.
Here’s my thing. If a reality show on TLC makes someone turn away from the church, we (Christians) have a lot of work to do. Here’s my other thing. We, as Christians, have a lot of work to do. I was turned off by church for a time, too. I didn’t really talk about it much, wasn’t ever “anti-church”, I was just unhappy with a lot of the behaviors that I was seeing and experiencing and I stopped going. I know, I know, the chick that gets pregnant out of wedlock has the nerve to be unhappy with the church. Crazy, right? But I was. There was just a rampant arrogance that seemed to be present, and it didn’t go along with the Word that I was studying, so I left.
I grew up in the church. I sang in the choir, led youth worship as a teenager, and was considered one of the youth leaders. My grandmother was ULTIMATE church folk! Listen, Sister Jeter was the church soloist and was sharp every single Sunday, hat and all! If someone like me, who had been immersed in the Word since birth, who was being brought up in, was disenchanted, what’s keeping someone who doesn’t know Jesus from turning away from the church?
We (myself included) have to be careful of creating a church culture that feels inclusive. He is not my God. He is our God. Sometimes, for some folks, church can feel like a special club filled with perfect people with its own secret language and rules. Shoot, 95% of this blog post probably makes no sense to non-Believers, or people who didn’t grow up in the Baptist church culture like me. What “The Sisterhood” does, in my opinion, is give people who feel that way a look inside of the homes of those Believers so that they can see that they are just like them. The show is not about “The Church”. The show is not about God. The show is about those individual families. Just like those girls on Teen Mom don’t represent me (not that I was a teen mom, but you get my point), the women on that show don’t represent anyone but themselves.
Look, I know First Ladies. My aunt’s husband is a Pastor. My First Lady aunt is gentle and funny and sassy, and she KNOWS the Word…she’s multifaceted. We have three married Pastors at our church, and while I’ve never heard anyone refer to their wives as “First Lady”, that’s what they are. One of them works in the nursery during Sunday School. Another serves on the music ministry, singing and playing the keyboard. The last wife runs the kid’s bible study group each week, and is responsible for Ayva knowing (almost completely) all of the books of the Old Testament. They are amazing. And, regardless of the (edited) antics that was shown on “The Sisterhood”, those First Ladies seemed to love Christ and their husbands, and were doing some pretty amazing stuff as well.
I don’t know if it’s the church girl in me, or the reality television addict, but I appreciate getting a glimpse into the imperfect world of those families. If nothing else, I’ll see some things in them that I need to work on, and I might even learn something. The show is not for everyone, but I’ll be tuning in again.