I just don't get it. When I blogged "5 Reasons Preachers of LA Shame the Church" never did I think that people would respond by being mad with me. But, I'm not surprised. That's why there's that old expression, "Don't shoot the messenger," because it's easier to do just that. People want to attack me about my views of the show because that's much easier to do than address the actuality black folk on reality TV. Where we once had to follow a script, now we can just cavalierly parade our imprudence, because hey, we on TV! The history of African Americans on television has shown us that buffoonery and braggadocio will always outsell our rich culture. As long as we are flashy and sounding like a fool talking about "fo' shizzle my nizzle" like Ron Gibson, singing and dancing like Deitrick Haddon, smooth and sultry like Noel Jones, and celebrating sexuality like the Chaney's, then we can get a show, and the masses are happy, and then they get real outspoken and join a cause to get mad at the people with critical thinking skills who question such nonsense. Then people like me get the blame and have to take the heat. But it's okay. I'm like Nikki Giovanni and I can stand it. (Turn to your neighbor and let him know Nikki Giovanni is a poet who wrote "My House" where she celebrates being able to stand the heat in the kitchen. I didn't want to just leave you out there like that.)
Now, back to my point: The thing that my critics fail to realize is that I admired these men. I went to see Detrick when he came to perform here in Chicago at Apostolic Church of God's Christmas concert a couple of years ago. I have sown seeds based on the powerful Word Bishop McClendon delivered on TBN's Praise the Lord, and I love (loved?) Bishop Noel Jones. More than that, I love God and believe His word that we should "touch not [His] anointed ones and do [His] prophets no harm" as Ps 105 and 15 instructs us. But you see, that's just it. We get one Scripture and think God expects us to stop right there and be the blind leading the blind and accept anything. No, the blind walk by faith! And how do we get faith? By hearing the word of God.
The Lord is our shepherd and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and righteousness, which means, when something ain't right, we will sense it, feel it, and know it, and by the authority given us in Christ, we can talk about it. You see, I'm not afraid to say that I know that the true measure of a blessed man of God isn't determined by the number of congregants or cars one has. It's his fruit. It's by our actions and by our deeds.
That's why, when pastors, preachers, bishops, and especially Black folk are given an opportunity to showcase all that God has done for them, we should celebrate such advances for our people and expect to see godliness. To expect less is tragic, and as I originally asserted, a shame.
But the real shame is not this show. The real tragic truth of the matter is that people are writing in talking about how they think it's okay for a man to "slap his wife's ass on TV" and "this is a great show about these men" and on and on because people are watching this. As I am. But the kicker is: our people aren't watching positive shows about our history. How do I know this is true? Because ain't nobody mad at me about what I've said about Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s series "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" because the masses aren't watching that. And this truly grieves me. I can't speak for what it does to the Holy Spirit, which is who we should truly not grieve; but this, for me, grieves me personally and profoundly.
I am a mother of six daughters living in the same America as everybody else. I don't know how to compete with mainstream media that shows them booty shaking and weave swinging and fake eyelashes batting and fake nails tapping is how to REALLY get ahead in this world and be seen. Here I am trekking my daughters back and forth to church every week, trying to model godly behavior, and attempting to create an environment that honors God for them when everything in this world is contrary to this. EVERYTHING. From diet and nutrition to music and television, I'm the weird one. To them, I'm the geek. (Do kids still say geek?) No, never mind. I know. I'm the lame. That's what they say. I'm the lame.
There's a spiritual connection in that as well, but I won't have you turn to your neighbor and say anything. I'll leave that to the preachers to teach.
I'm just sad. Really and truly I am. I'm sad that we still don't get it. I'm sad that my mother carried me in her womb during the Martin Luther King, Jr. riots and this all consuming fire and passion for my people gets doused by idiocy daily.
And yet, it's okay.
You see. I have been watching "The African Americans" thanks to my mother that God has blessed me to still have on this earth teaching me and guiding me as a mother should. And I know many of our children don't have parents to guide them, so I will stand in the gap. When the Lord blesses me with wealth as He has done for these preachers, of which I have no doubt that He will because my Word has taught me that God is no respecter of persons. If He blessed one, He will bless another, and furthermore, my God blesses obedience and rewards those who seek Him diligently, so you can mark my word: my time is coming! And when it does, you will see me be today's new hero. All we need is one. One who will be different. One who won't give in to the beck and call of the world to conform. One to be authentic. That's why we love Oprah because that's what she was, and still is.
So to say that the preachers of LA are men is right. And just for clarity's sake, if you want to say that Oprah is living in sin according to the standard of the bible, you are right again. They are. Come on people: let's get this! You can say whatever you want to say about her decision to live with Stedman out of wedlock as some bible thumpers do and miss the whole point, because it's not what you do or have, it's WHAT YOU DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE because all sin and fall short of glory. This is not about who's sinning and who's not. We are all sinning every second of every hour of every day that we are here on this earth. Just like we are all breathing. What are you doing with your breath of life?
The issue with the Preachers of LA is that they are men who have received a platform via reality TV to showcase their ministries with an opportunity to seek and save the lost in a greater way. They have an opportunity to show that the stereotypes people make about black preachers is wrong and that there are real live men of God on this planet teaching and modeling godliness. I think it's great that God has blessed them with wealth. Again, it's not what they have. It's what they are doing with what they have. I don't have a desire to have so many shoes that I will need a walk-in closet to store them all. My desire is to see other people who can't afford a single pair of shoes have what they need. And I already know that God has such an awesome sense of humor, that when you have a heart like that, He will do both, so I don't care what they have. I have an issue with what they are doing. To me, they make others stumble. Don't believe me? Read what the people are saying!
Can you honestly say this show uplifts African Americans and makes them want to get involved in ministry and develop a relationship with God? And since it's obvious I think the answer is a big fat resounding "NO," what are earth are you mad at me for? I don't have a TV show, five cars, albums, awards, books, entourage, honorariums, mansion, or a house up in the LA hills. I'm just a mom trying to live my life in a way to please God, teach my daughters that they are in fact queens with a rich legacy of genius, boldness, and power, and ensure that we all to make it to heaven. The preachers should be proud of me and my pursuit.
When my time comes, I'll be the first to share how Jesus could have easily met me at a well and told me all about the men and things I have done in my life, because my life ain't been no crystal stair at all. But He changed me. And now, I want to help others. I want us to know our history. I want us to know that with God, all things are possible. I will be the hero.
And if you really just have to be mad about something, since black folk can't seem to relinquish their propensity for anger, be mad that we don't have more heroes. And then use that emotion and energy to become one. You be the hero for your family, on your job, in your community, and in your church. Maybe then we'll have more positive television shows that show blacks motivating and inspiring others.
Until then, I will continue to traverse this lonely road and put feet to my faith and action in my belief. My mother also taught me it's never crowded along the extra mile so at least I know I must be headed in the right direction.
About me: Wife. Mom. Writer. Fitness Instructor. Speaker. Trainer. Presenter. Praise Dancer. Those are the many hats I wear. Someday I will include New York Times bestselling published author to that list. But for now, I'll just keep on sharing my heart and soul "In FITNESS and In Health" to hopefully inspire and motivate others that they can be rid of high blood pressure and healed of incurable diseases as is my testimony. Every 9o days I set a new health and fitness goal for myself and challenge myself to achieve them. I love helping others transform their temples and would love to work with you. Feel free to visit my website at http://elanaanthony.bodybyvi.com. And don't forget to LIKE my "In FITNESS and In Health" Fan Page on Facebook. Plus, you can sign up to receive my latest blogs by email every time I publish one. It's free and there's no spam. Don't affirm sickness. Live "In FITNESS and In Health." E