Reality shows are all the rage in Hollywood these days. They run the gamut of subjects from The Bachelor to Ice Road Truckers. We’ve watched the “stranded” try to survive on Survivor and housewives trying to do the same thing in an urban setting in The Real Housewives of…well, just name a city. We witnessed Jon & Kate Plus 8 recalculated to Kate plus 8 minus Jon. They seem to be the modern day equivalent of soap operas.
Last season was the debut of Preachers of L. A. and this “reality show” about pastors is to begin its second season soon. I have not watched it, but based on the previews it is focused on the flashy lifestyles of the cast more than their ministry. If Madonna is the “Material Girl,” then the Preachers of L. A. are the material guys. The attention given their clothes, cars, and houses seems to be taken from a script of The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and not the lifestyles of the righteous and faithful.
If the programs are like the previews then the series follows the typical Hollywood pattern of lampooning those who stand in the pulpit and caricaturing Christianity. The sad reality here is those who think such a program is a real reflection of the Gospel ministry or what it means to be a Christian. Of course, that is not the purpose of the program. The purpose of the program is to make money, and it must have made some or there would not be a second season.
The entertainment industry makes a lot of money promoting a packaged product they call reality that is more fantasy than fact. And the reason the viewing public embraces such fantasies so readily is because of a desire to escape from the harsh realities of life. It appears Colonel Nathan Jessup’s indictment is true; we “can’t handle the truth.”
This rejection of truth for that which distracts and entertains is a sign of the times. Paul writes that “those who perish” do so “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” and “did not believe in the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness,” 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 12.
Our culture gives little thought to eternal consequences in its blind pursuit of pleasure. Even when we witness the death of loved ones and friends we pause merely to shed a tear or two and return to our distractions and the finality of life is forgotten, until we die.
I am convinced no one is deceived who does not want to be. What many find to be entertaining and claiming to be reality actually distracts us from the truth and ultimately deceives us.
“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27. That may not be very entertaining, but that’s reality.