Open Letter to the Producers of Preachers of L.A.
Dear Producers of Preachers L.A.,
We need to talk. Seriously. First let me say, I AM a fan of the show. I watch avidly and will be conducting a written commentary (NOT a gossip column!) on this season for GospelToday.com for the sake of starting a positive, much-needed dialogue, so stay tuned if you so choose. And while I would not go so far to say that Preachers of L.A. is a “God idea,” it’s certainly a good idea. All this to say, again, I like the show. And I am in your ballpark, really.
Throughout this letter, I will present various points that I feel need to be addressed (as I’m sure many others do as well). Commencing with the Drama King himself, Deitrick Haddon.
Deitrick (& Dominique) Haddon
While I understand why he is on the show from a professional standpoint (Holly Carter, the owner of the company who is producing the show, also manages his music career), from a spiritual standpoint, I don’t get it. As a former Californian who frequented the L.A. church/Gospel music scene on a regular basis, do you really mean to tell me that Deitrick Haddon was the only person y’all could come up with? I understand Mary Mary is already taken, but there are several other minister-psalmists to choose from who represent Christ in a better, more accurate light. Here are a few obvious reasons as to why Deitrick is terrible for the show and the overall Preachers of L.A. brand:
He and his now wife, Dominique, actively fornicated, at least once, while taping Season 1--and had no qualms about it. While forgivable in the eyes of God and *some* people, it is unacceptable for a minister to 1) fornicate and furthermore, 2) justify that fornication in the various ways that Deitrick does, even unto the point of convincing his sweet, yet biblically illiterate wife that “when a man enter into a woman” they’re married. Do you see the problem this presents? In case you don’t, I’ll lay it out: 1) it’s a false witness of Christianity and holiness, 2) it’s misleading to those young(er) in the faith, 3) it’s misleading to those considering the faith, and 4) even some people in the world have better sense than to believe that fornication-friendly mess Deitrick preaches.
Deitrick & Dominique indirectly and directly promoted “shackin’” on the show. In Season 1, there is a scene between the engaged Dominique and her mother, Faye, where she openly says she doesn’t understand why she can’t live with Deitrick--unwed. Either this is an honest ignorance of Scripture (in which case, why is she on the show as a “minister” or “First Lady” if she doesn’t know the Word for herself?) or she knows the Scripture (either in or out of context with no illumination or revelation by the Spirit of God) and willfully chooses to think and do as she pleases, even if it’s contrary to the Word of God (in which case, why is she on the show portraying herself as a Christian if she’s not?). And do I really even need to address Deitrick’s ignorance of the state of the Samaritan woman at the well who was shackin’? This one of the most elementary stories in the New Testament to anyone who’s been in the Church, let alone anyone who’s been “saved” for as long as Deitrick’s been. And don’t even get me started on his declaration (in the Reunion) that Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus shacked for a year before the Christ-Child was born. I can’t even..!
He has no respect for his fellow ministers and especially, his elders. The way he’s openly and unapologetically disrespected Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, and Pastor Jay Haizlip is absolutely unacceptable for one who considers himself a minister of the Gospel. ABSOLUTELY.UNACCEPTABLE. Frankly, in my 28 years of life spent practically living in church since the womb and serving in ministry, I’ve never seen such open, flagrant disrespect towards [another] man of the cloth as I have in Deitrick Haddon. He needs to have a seat. Several, in fact.
His biblical understanding is twisted, skewed. (See aforementioned comments on fornication and shacking.)
He’s a Drama King. This item somewhat piggy-backs on #3. I’m a dramatic person. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially as it pertains to the Scripture and matters of the heart. But there is a line between “having a flair for the dramatic” and being disruptive, disrespectful, and flat out arrogant. And I again I say, Mr. Haddon needs to have several seats.
One of these reasons alone should be enough for godly producers of “Preachers” to cut Deitrick from the show. He gives the show, and Christians/Christianity in general, a terrible name. And the worst of it all is that he’s unrepentant. He doesn’t understand the most basic Christian principles of humility, respect(ing your elders), teachability, purity, acknowledgement of sin, and shunning the appearance of evil.
Abstain from all appearance of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:22 KJV)
Bishop Noel Jones & Loretta
Now, the topic of these two, in my opinion, is borderline. Frankly, the show casts Bishop Jones in a negative light. And it’s not because of editing or the inauthenticity of “reality” TV. It’s because that’s apparently just the way Bishop Jones is. As a man of God I respect him, but I must admit, that level of respect definitely dropped (lower than when I found out he was dating Lisa Raye *face palm*) when I saw the show due to his:
Questioning of God-ordained monogamy in marriage.
Using excuses from his childhood as a ~60 year old man to validate his refusal (phobia*) to commit to Loretta--or any woman.
Stringing Loretta along for 16 YEARS. Let me say that again: 16 Y-E-A-R-S!!!
*If Bishop Jones does have a bona fide commitment phobia, then He, as a minister of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, imbued with Holy Spirit of God, can thus, cast out that spirit of fear by the Finger of God. #NoExcuses
It don’t take no man THAT long to make that decision. Either he wants to marry her or he doesn’t and I assure you he knew the answer to that question a decade or longer ago. If he wants to marry her, then she should do so swiftly to shun the appearance of evil (as he has NOT been doing for the past 16 YEARS) or move on and cut her off (which I would truly hate to see because I LOVE Loretta for Bishop!). Either he wants to get married (to her) or he doesn’t. Pick one, but whatever you do Bishop, as Jesus said, do it quickly!
James taught that teachers (preachers, Fivefold ministers: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) are held to a higher standard than the rest of us.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)
That includes Bishop and Loretta’s relationship. She deserves better. He deserves better (if he’ll allow it for himself). And his congregation and all those who follow his ministry deserve better. A [wo]man of God should be a standard in ALL areas and Bishop isn’t fulfilling that role or “ruling his house well” in this department. (And yes, this includes the fact that he’s got one divorce under his belt, whatever the circumstances were which I admittedly do not know.)
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; ONE WHO RULES HIS OWN HOUSE WELL, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover HE MUST HAVE A GOOD TESTIMONY AMONG THOSE WHO ARE OUTSIDE, LEST HE FALL INTO REPROACH AND THE SNARE OF THE DEVIL. (I Timothy 3:1-7)
For a bishop must be BLAMELESS, as a steward of God, NOT SELF-WILLED, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. (Titus 1:7-9)
I stated elsewhere that Preachers show was neutral; neither good, nor bad. It’s what the cast members make it. Thus, some pastors like Pastor Jay Haizlip, Bishop Ron Gibson (admittedly, a “wild card,” but I love him *smile*), and Pastor Wayne Chaney will thrive ministerially because of the show. Why? Because what’s being exposed on the show of them, their character, and their [heart for] ministry is good and godly. For others like Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Noel Jones, and Bishop Clarence McClendon, the show is equally exposing of them and what’s being shown isn’t the prettiest. Kinda makes you wish you didn’t really know what was going on with the pastors, their true personalities, how they “do ministry,” etc.
Preachers is a way for God to expose the good and the bad in cast-ministers and even ministers at large. And I assure you that what God allows to be exposed will guarantee the spiritual success and failure, respectively, of all the ministries represented. (And my educated guess is that Pastor Jay and his ministry will stand to benefit the most! #TeamHaizlipsForLife!!)
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. (Luke 1:52)
And collectively, those who exalt Christ--above themselves--on the show will undoubtedly see a godly increase in their numbers.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32 KJV)
Michelle Williams (The Reunion Hostess)
This admittedly irked me to no end. And by now, you recognize that I won’t spare in telling you why.
SHE’S NOT SAVED. This is the first, foremost, and most obvious reason why she was a terrible choice in host(esse)s. It doesn’t matter what she may claim or profess; her life and life/career choices tell a VERY different story.
She’s a former, still-intentionally-affiliated member of Destiny’s Child. (See her latest single, “Say Yes.”) Do I even need to expound on how inappropriate this is?
She has no experience/affiliation with ministry. And no, being a sometimey Gospel/Inspirational singer does not count. It was blatantly obvious that...
She doesn’t know to interact with ministers and ministers’ wives. Let’s be honest: Michelle stuck out like a sore thumb. She screamed, I repeat, SCREAMED at Bishop Gibson which is totally out of line regardless of whether or not he said she looked like Elvira, etc. You just don’t do that. (Or shouldn’t.) It’s a lack of respect which is a principle amply shown in Scripture that many young and Americans forget about whenever convenient. But that’s another blogpost for another day… Because Michelle doesn’t have a personal relationship with God, CHOOSES to be affiliated with the world--and not in a ministerial context!--and has no position or affiliation with ministry, she does not possess the innate knowhow to be able to correctly interact with the cast.
PLEASE select a different, more worthy host(ess) at the end of this season! Some better, more realistic options are:
Erica Campbell. She’s an L.A. native, has been in the (music) ministry since the womb, has a sense of humour, experience taping and judging on two Christian reality shows, and is currently forging a ministry with her husband, Warren Campbell. If it’s not a conflict of interest, then why not pick her? It’d certainly help with her solo career/brand as well.
DeVon Franklin. Also stationed in L.A., DeVon knows show business and church business. He’s attractive and debonair (both of which are GREAT for TV), and a minister himself. He gets it.
Donnie McClurkin. Pastor Donnie has hosted/judged on various shows, understands music and pastoral ministry, and is HILARIOUS!
Vicki Winans. This former pastor’s wife, psalmist, and comedian in her own right also has TV-hosting experience and would be a lovely candidate. And who knows, she might actually be funnier than Pastor Donnie! Vicki , like Pastor Donnie, knows the good, the bad, and the ugly of pastoral ministry which is paramount for the host(ess) to be able to understand and relate to.
Now since I don’t know any of these individuals personally, I can’t tell you if they’d actually want to be affiliated with the Preachers show. (Real talk.) But the worst they can say is “no.”
Any of these options--or someone like them--would be excellent candidates. The world knows who they are and they are actually ALL THE WAY in the Church/Body of Christ, unlike Ms. Williams. It is possible to make “smart business” choices that don’t contradict the Word of God at the same time.
Bishop Clarence & Lady Priscilla McClendon
This will probably be the first and last time, or as Dr. Perry Stone would say, the “alpha and omega” of when I actually concur with Deitrick Haddon. Would somebody please explain to me why Bishop McClendon and his lovely wife, Priscilla, are even on the show if they consistently insist on NOT interacting with the others? While Bishop McClendon (and Pastor Wayne. And Pastor Jay.) is admittedly “sanctified eye candy” for the lady viewers, is that REALLY why you want him on the show. Because he’s really not adding much. Or should I say, not adding much besides a sense of loftiness and pride, aloofness, and an overall lack of comradery with the other ministers. There’s not an American today who doesn’t understand how reality TV works and if we’re going to follow the world’s pattern of reality shows, which we are, then Bishop should know that he must actually interact with the other cast members. It just looks bad when he doesn’t.
And to date, there has been NOT.ONE.EPISODE where his wife was even in the same room as the other wives, much less interacting with them. Whose decision is that? Hers or Bishop McClendon’s? Either way, it just doesn’t look good.
OR, since this is reality TV, are we scared of what her interactions with the other wives would be due to the nature and controversy of the circumstances under which Bishop McClendon married her? I’m gonna leave that one right there and move on…
Frankly, I didn’t think the McClendons would renew their contract with the show because they were seen more in the opening song than they are in the actual episodes. Just please tell me whether or not they’ll actually be participating with the other cast members more in this season than before. Otherwise, why pay them to tape? L.A. is full of “pretty boy” preachers, many who’d actually love to interact with the other pastors and wives, who’d be happy to take the McClendons’ spot on the show.
That said, his sons, are, in fact, handsome/adorable. Especially the “baby.” *smile*
The World is Watching
When I first heard of the concept of Preachers of L.A. I was terrified as to what it would entail. But you slick things you, you got me on board. I figure it’s better than watching my Real Housewives of wherever, Basketball “Wives,” and most certainly, The Kardashians (which, praise God, is finally ending! The prayers of the saints are indeed effective!).
But the point, I imagine--or at least one of the points--would be to present a godly example of reality TV, not just one with God’s name stuck on it, but doesn’t *really* present Christian values. So if that, in fact, is one of the goals of the show (and an admirable one at that!) then shouldn’t we make sure that ALL those connected to the show and brand actually reflect the godly values that are so lacking in our society today? Shouldn’t the show set itself up to be a standard of ministry and not a laughing stock of ministry? We can be in Babylon, but we don’t to be of it. Daniel and the other three Hebrew princes demonstrated that very well.
I understand business. I understand brand visibility, connections, celebrity endorsements, ratings tricks, and the whole nine. And these days, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. But as the Church, our standard *must* be higher.
The world is watching.
Saved and unsaved; white hot and lukewarm; black, white, yellow, red, and brown--they’re all watching. What will the aftermath and legacy of Preachers of L.A. be? What fruit will it bear for the Kingdom of God? What fruit is it bearing from the Kingdom of Darkness? These are hard questions we have to ask in order to move forward, whether “forward” means cutting the show or keeping it. We know that according to 1 Corinthians 3, all works not built on the right foundation (Christ) will be burnt up.
But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:10-15)
We all know the old song, “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last.” Will these works last? Can they stand up and proclaim the goodness of God as well as that of ALL those involved?
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:31)
All in all, we can’t promote the world, worldly interests, and worldly thinking if we call ourselves the Church of the True and Living God. It doesn’t have to be smart business OR authentic Christianity. We can do both. But we have to use the Kingdom of Heaven’s system. And that can’t happen when (some of) the cast members and hosts promote drama, confusion, perversion (of Truth), and all around worldliness. I expect better from you.
A Happy, Yet Confused Viewer, xx