Who would have ever thought? Gospel music and its culture being showcased on television! As of lately, executives are starting to realize that this culture is a business that can make money beyond just the music. And, the most sought after medium at this point is reality television. Just like anything else in the entertainment industry, when one thing proves to be successful, it spawns several carbon copies in an effort to ride that wave of success. Reality television shows has seemingly dominated programming over the last several years. This success has trickled over into showcasing Gospel artists and their culture into this medium.
There have been several shows that follow the lives of Gospel artists, ministers and their families. These programs give in-depth and an inside look at lives that have never been seen before, and that is wonderful. In the case of the progression of Gospel music, this is remarkable. It is always great to have Gospel showcased on a larger platform (and clearly reality television is just that). These are some of the most popular shows that fit this description:
       The Sheards
       Forever Jones
       Preachers’ Wives
       Preachers’ Daughters
       Preachers of LA
Despite how great this new attention is, of course there is always some backlash.  As you know, Christianity (and Gospel music in particular), is rooted in tradition and conformity. Change is a slow process in this genre. With that being said, not everyone is delighted (or ready) to see this genre and lifestyle in a new way, or with “new eyes.” For example, Will Smith’s ex wife Sheree Fletcher is featured on the reality tv show, Hollywood Exes. She received a tremendous amount of flack because she is a preacher’s wife who was shown on television drinking alcoholic beverages and wearing outfits that some considered to be inappropriate for the wife of a minister. This brings up SO many topics that cannot all be addressed in one blog post. By showcasing this culture on a larger platform, it opens the door for criticism and judging.
Religion/Christianity/Gospel is held to a different standard. We are required to be Christ-like. The dichotomy with placing this on television is that it reveals that the leaders being showcased are not always Christ-like. They do not always do the right thing. They make mistakes. They have flaws and have struggles. But guess what, WE ALL HAVE THESE ISSUES! That is what being human is all about. We are not perfect, but of course as Christians, we strive to be.  And ultimately, that is the beauty of what Christianity is. Despite our shortcomings, we have redemption in Christ and in our faith. Hopefully, that is what the viewing audiences will take away from these programs rather than an opportunity to judge.

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