Reality TV is no Match for a Real God: TLC’s “The Sisterhood” Follows Pastors’ Wives in Atlanta

BY: - 3 Dec '12 | Entertainment

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Word on the street and on the Internet is there’s a new reality show slated to debut January 1 at 9PM ET/PT on TLC called “The Sisterhood,” featuring pastors’ wives in Atlanta, Georgia. Sound familiar? The Real Housewives…Basketball Wives…you get the picture. With this new show, however, TLC attempts to clean up the reality wives’ genre with church hats, gospel music, and Bibles. “The Sisterhood,” according to TLC is an “honest, behind-the-scenes look into the struggles, triumphs and unique experiences that shape these bold women as they ditch their Sunday hats and morph into the dynamic and influential figures they have become and aim to be.” Sounds promising, doesn’t it?

Not too fast. . . reality television just wouldn’t be reality if it didn’t have any drama. As the official press release states, “Tensions will run high as their faith and relationships are challenged through a dramatic season of disagreements, betrayal, criticism and exposing inner demons. Will they work together to support each other or will differences lead to tarnished friendships that are beyond salvaging a true sisterhood?” Watch the trailer below to view it for yourself.

Make no mistake about it; TLC is not in the soul-winning business. Let me repeat: TLC is not in the soul-winning business. They aren’t even in the marriage-saving business. So, lower your expectations that a reality show featuring pastors’ wives is about saving souls or encouraging folks to stay married. It’s not even about the struggles within a “real sisterhood.” For many black women, sisterhood is not something you play with or throw together for a video shoot. Sisterhood is serious, and sisterhood is sacred. It has nothing to do with a title or a position, and everything to do with trust and loyalty. So, from the beginning, we must remind ourselves that this is NOT real life.

It’s television.

It’s business.

Therefore, it’s about ratings . . . and money.

That’s all.

Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with making money, and I am not knocking entertainment. But, in my opinion, there is a line. Just as I wouldn’t want to make money by glorifying violence, drugs, and sex, I also wouldn’t want to make money selling my Lord and Savior to an industry that’s more concerned with ratings than with my relationship with God. But, that’s me.

So, as a pastor’s wife myself but also as a black woman who longs for more realistically positive images of us on television, I have my reservations and questions about “The Sisterhood.” Will it be similar to Mary Mary’s reality show in its ability to be entertaining, raw, and real, while simultaneously representing Christ, marriage and family? Will it highlight the mission work, the prayer meetings, and the changed lives that are the fruit of real pastors’ wives and the ministries in which they serve? Will it highlight the day-to-day reality of being a pastor’s wife and the impact that has on marriage and family? Will the pastors’ wives actually be wives? Now, that would be a step in the right direction.

Regardless of how pastors’ wives, their marriages, the church, and Christ are portrayed, one thing I know for sure is that the God I serve is bigger than a reality television show. If “The Sisterhood” is a disgrace, that’s all the more reason for everyday pastors’ wives, along with every other Believer, to represent Christ in the real world how we should be representing him in the first place. Reality tv shows come and go. And this too shall pass, but, the God I serve and the marriages and ministries rooted in him will not. In the end, whether you watch “The Sisterhood” or not, agree with it or not, reality television is no match for a real God.

BMWK family, do you plan to watch “The Sisterhood?” What are your pre-show impressions?

Be sure to check back on January 2 for a review and to share your thoughts.

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 76 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.


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26 WordPress comments on “Reality TV is no Match for a Real God: TLC’s “The Sisterhood” Follows Pastors’ Wives in Atlanta

  1. Sheree

    I will definitely check it out. Trailer looks good (by reality TV standards: sex drugs and past-life testimonies) but I’m with you Dr. Michelle, I couldn’t have done it. Real housewives…real basketball wives and real pastors wouldnt allow their First Ladies to EVER sell out the kingdom for the almighty dollar. SMH

    1. Dr Michelle

      It definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth Sheree. Funny thing is two of the wives’ husbands aren’t even pastors anymore. Makes me wonder if they are doing it because they lost their churches. I didn’t want to go that for just yet. Still need to wait and see the show.

  2. Anonymous

    Reality tv is reality tv, but when you throw God into the mess, I become offended and will not be watching. True pastors wives will want to give a positive message to the world, not this foolery. It is a sad thing to become a lover of yourself and money and not God. My sentiments are the same about Mary Mary’s show (from the clips I have seen).

    1. Christine

      I agree. I don’t plan on watching for several of the reasons mentioned on this post. I too feel like I would be offended by watching the show because I know it doesn’t portray the “real” pastors’ wives. The trailer solidifies my reasoning for not wanting to watch/support this show.

    2. stephanieb

      I completely agree with you Anonymous. I haven’t watched Mary Mary’s show and will DEFINITELY NOT be watching this show either. People, even so-called, good ole’ church folks will sell their souls for a dollar, its quite sad and pathetic, SMH!! And to keep up with the housewives shows in the ratings, they are going to have to get catty and ghetto like them, otherwise, their show obviously won’t survive, so TLC is full of it!!

  3. sito strebor

    Ridiculous. I mean I get it, reality everything and it’s apparently a money maker. I just think some things just have to be off limits. We all know that they purposely have to build drama into these shows for ratings/revenue and anyone that’s been around the church knows that they all have their issues but they have a purpose and I just can’t say in good conscience that this it.

  4. Pingback: New Christian Reality Show “The Sisterhood” Coming To TLC [VIDEO] | Praise Houston

  5. Lisa

    Not all reality tv is trashy – although a lot of it is. I’ll give it a chance. If it turns into a lot of mess and unnecessary drama, then I’ll turn it off.

  6. Pingback: New Christian Reality Show “The Sisterhood” Coming To TLC [TRAILER] | Majic 102.1

  7. Heather H

    Looking forward to tuning in. Praying it isn’t negative. I hope these ladies show that reality TV can be entertaining without fighting:) And understand that people are people first. Just because you are saved doesn’t mean you are perfect. We all need Jesus! 🙂

    1. iSha

      I am so tired of hearing “people are human” or “nobody’s perfect” instead of continuing the use of these overused cliche’s perhaps we should hold one another accountable for their actions. Yes, we are all human (that goes without saying), but those of us that have surrendered our lives to the Most High God need to hold one another accountable. This is crazy. Why do these women feel the need to open themselves up to the public eye for reasons other than reaching the lost and glorifying God? Getting tattoo’s is not equivalent to reaching lost souls. Women of God need to conduct themselves as such at all times. This is definitely not the way. It’s misleading. Young people are already being lead astray, now they see their 1st ladies (often times these are women young girls/ladies look up and aspire to be like) on television and become convinced that their way is the way to go. Whatever happened to preaching the word of God and living accordingly? Avoid the very appearance of evil. As Christians, we will constantly be ridiculed and mocked simply for believing in God; however, we aren’t supposed to purposely give others a reason to mock us.

        1. Anonymous

          @iSha: PREACH to ’em!!! You’re speaking like a TRUE servant!

          @HeatherH: via the Word: Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9: (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10: and find out what pleases the Lord. 11: Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12: It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

          ^^^ T’is all.

      1. stephanieb

        Amen !Sha, Amen!!!! I get tired of hearing the “people will be people” argument too! Soon we will be using that argument to justify almost everything, from incest, rape, etc., just claiming that “people are people” doesn’t make something that’s wrong any more right!!

  8. strawberry23

    “Higher Standard”? Maybe the church community has gone to far with “First Lady”. Pastor’s wives were not always called First Lady. The mother of Jesus was the First Lady. Is it that some are in love with the idea of being a pastor wife and being called first lady? They are dressed no differently than the cast from Housewives of Atlanta. Higher Standard?

    1. Anonymous

      I think some folk fall too in love with the title. If I were ever to marry a pastor, I would quickly stop the congregation from referring to me as the first lady. I’d be as humble and lowkey as possible. Just call me by my name. #JustMe

      1. iSha

        It’s so evident that some women that are married to pastors love being referred to as 1st ladies… It’s almost sickening! No shade with this next comment… I’ve seem some very reckless behavior from 1st ladies… gossiping (once I had to literally get up and walk away because the pastor’s wife along with the minister’s wife and their HUSBANDS were talking about another young lady who left the church – I can imagine what they said about me when I left). They had nothing nice to say. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Just because they are married to pastors doesn’t mean they’ll take home the “saint of the year award.” Heck, some of these pastors are just as reckless. I digress. I don’t want y’all to think I’m throwing shade at the church folk. lol The women on this show better tread lightly or else they’ll tell the truth about church. Ha!!!

  9. Tooblique

    I’m so glad to see this. No, I’m absolutely NO fan of “reality” shows. But I am also not a fan of the “holier than thou” attitude that so many “Christians” have. Pastors wife or no, these women are still who they are. I fail to understand where the expectation of perfection comes from? They make mistakes, they ask for forgiveness, they learn from the mistake, then they don’t make the mistake again. Doesn’t get much more Christian than that. Just because we aspire to be Christ-like does not mean that we ARE Christ. We can NEVER be perfect, no matter how hard we try. This pedestal we put our leaders up on is ridiculous. I know plenty of preachers/pastors/whatever with tattoo’s. Doesn’t make their message any less relevant. We really need to get a grip! The funny thing is, these reality shows truly do seem to be mocking reality, and far too many of you miss the point!

  10. Anonymous

    That’s the problem with Christianity and Christians… More concerned about how you are perceived… And less about how you are received. This show is going to reach people that have said for years I refuse to go to church because no one us real. These woman are not selling their souls… They are baring it for the sake of ministry.. As Christians we have got to be progressive. God doesn’t change but the world and those in it do…so to be effective you have to alter you presentation not your message.I will be watching tonight and there’s no need to waste a post on asking me to sign a petition because I’m not…let’s mature people of God… God bless!!

  11. Real Pastor's Wife

    I’m a Pastor’s Wife I have not watched the show however the comments are aweful the trailers is a mess the enemies underlying tacted is to disgrace the church. If any of the “pastor’s wives” had prayerfully allow God to make this dicison for them we would not be having these conversations. No amount of money will make me disgrace the One that saved me and changed my life, blessed my children and the works of their hands. listen I would totally imbarrassed to know my God, my husband and my church family was watching me in this light. real Pastor’s Wives yes, we have real lives but not like this.
    ~Real Pastor’s Wife

  12. Lorri

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. Unfortunately, the body of Christ now looks like the world more often than not. But I also know that behind the hats, or the dressed down look whichever your church supports, there is a real person who may struggle with issues who is also the Pastor’s wife. I don’t like the imagery of the women because they were selected (auditioned) and chosen because of personality or what excitement they bring. In short, it’s a scripted reality show created to generate ratings NOT celebrate the love of God. So we have to be real with what we see. It’s an opportunity taken by the TV execs to showcase women who want to share their story on the screen. Be clear about what it is.

    1. Gracie

      GOD bless you Lorri!

      No, you’re not the devil’s advocate. (smile)

      You are a set of trained eyes and feelings that have watched a “made for TV series” of “church stuff” over time. As an evangelist, I totally and whole heartedly agree with your comments. There are so many who deal with the person behind the hats, dressed down looks, but yet they are struggling to uphold an image, wearing masks and many of them are just down right mean.

      There is an expection that you still respect them, while they show little or no respect for you or to others, even in the midst of their own struggles. You’re just supposed to understand that they are human, though they’re always on display to be otherwise, a higher standard, and now they’re on cable. Wow we’ve come a long way baby!

      There is a an expectation that “real christians” act better and portray the Body of Christ always in a positive light, but there really “ain’t” that many Christians that I know of who don’t consider themselves real christians, regardless of how they appear or how others feel about them, or vice versa, and they’re antics “ain’t” always “becoming” of a Christian. Most of them you might have to fight if you tell them they’re not Christians if you “be coming” wrong!

      There are folks who have never had to deal with certain experiences in a local congregation and for many who have, this show is normal.

      Like it or not, the reality of this show is that the show is about the reality of entertainment and ratings. The reality of this show is that they could cancel it and everything we’ve watched so far will just go on, everybody back to their “own” realities and be viewed by others, but not on reality TV.

      The reality of this show is that the show is reality!!!

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5 Tips About Healthy Relationships That I Learned from the Mary Mary Show

BY: - 20 Dec '12 | Black Celebrity Marriages

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I just finished previewing the latest episode of gospel-duo Mary Mary’s hit reality show, which airs on WE TV Thursday nights at 9EST. All that I can say is wow! Season two is underway and everyone is talking about it. This latest episode really is must-see TV.  Lamar and I enjoyed watching it and were able to take away a few lessons from various situations that played out in the episode. Even though they’re gospel superstars, Erica and Tina are faced with real life decisions that every wife, mother and career woman has to make at some point. Below are five tips that I learned about fostering healthy relationships from watching the episode that airs tonight.

1)  Nurture your marriage: I won’t go too far into details because I don’t want to spoil the episode for you, but Erica reminded me that you need to nurture your marriage. This needs to take place even if you’re an international star that is always on the road. You can’t forget about the special moments in life or take them for granted.

2)  Have someone in your corner who can be honest: Tina was doing way too much in tonight’s episode. In your life, it’s great when you can have someone like a spouse, sibling or friend that you know has your best interest in mind. That person can be honest with you and tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.

3)  You can’t please everyone: At times, you can try to do so much for so many people that you wear yourself out. When this happens, it takes away from your relationships with the people that are the closest to you. Once you realize you can’t please everyone, it allows you to pick your battles and hopefully be content with that.

4)  Business is Business: At times, you have to draw the line between business and personal matters. Once the line is drawn, you need to make sure that it doesn’t get crossed. Healthy relationships in your business dealings are just as essential as they are in your personal life.

5)   Family is not one size fits all: The sisters may have different approaches and ideas surrounding how their families and business should grow, but neither is wrong, just different. They both seem to be doing an amazing job as singers, wives and mothers. As long as the lines of communication stay open, they’ll be able to find common ground on how to move forward in unison.

Check out tonight’s episode of Mary Mary on WE TV at 9|8c.

It’s situations like these that the three-time Grammy® award-winning gospel duo Erica and Tina Campbell face in Season 2 of WE tv’s hit series Mary Mary as they balance being recording artists, mothers, and wives. MARY MARY premieres Thursday, December 6 at 10|9c and moves to its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 9|8c, beginning December 13. Watch a sneak peek here!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of WE tv. The opinions and text are all mine.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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