Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My TBN Obsession

I have a dirty confession to make. I’ve hid this for so long and yet I feel the need to come clean. Forgive me if this offense anyone, but I can’t withhold it any more.

I watch TBN.

That’s right. Trinity Broadcast Network, you know the one with Benny Hinn and TD Jakes and the poofy haired lady. I don't watch it all the time of course, but there are days when I start watching something and find myself enthralled in the program. I’ve mentioned this secret before when I wrote about Kirk Cameron’s late night show. Well yesterday during commercials of King of the Hill, I wanted to fulfill my curious nature by seeing what was happening on TBN. So I tuned in to see a white preacher lady sitting around 5 African American males. For the next 10 minutes I was drawn into their discussion and before I knew it, the credits were rolling on King of the Hill. So why was my attention attracted to TBN’s program that day? Let me explain.

The white preacher lady was named Paula. She was dressed very nicely and listening attentively to this scholarly black gentleman as he was describing how faith works and we can’t detect God with our senses. Or something like that. What kept me listening was Kirk Franklin. If you don’t know who Kirk is, he is a gospel musician. I don’t really like contemporary Christian music and to be honest, I didn’t like Kirk’s mainstream hit, “GP Are You With Me?” But he was a familiar face on the screen so I wanted to see what he had to say. Kirk was speaking about mega-churches and how he doesn’t see mega-Christians come from those institutions. His quote that perked my interest was: “We got mega-churches, but where are the mega-Christians? Where is Jesus in the work place; Jesus in the marriage; Jesus at school; Jesus in the ghetto?” Now I’m not, and I don’t think Kirk was trying to say, “No more mega-churches” although I’m uncomfortable with them. I understood his point about how mega-churches can warehouse praiseful people yet distribute people who don’t know what Jesus looks like outside of those walls.

After Kirk was finished, several other brothers decided to weigh in their opinions or discuss something totally different. I’m not really sure what the other people were saying because they were using large words that I couldn’t follow. I think basically they were speaking about the majesty of God or having a revelation from the word (word being the Bible not Christ, I think). Anyway, Kirk chimed in again and said, “The problem is brother, those folks in the hood, Tyrone and LaQuisha, and most in our churches don’t understand the language you’re using.” It seemed as though this guy was pulling words out that made him sound enlightened, but all it did was turn me off…and confuse the mess out of me. Not only that, you could tell these finely dressed preacher folks were smooth talkers and had rhyming catch phrases that made people in the audience scream and holler. Yet Kirk was not a talented speaker. His voice cracked, he stuttered at times, and his thoughts were not all presentable in a slick point-by-point presentation. He spoke about discipleship and authenticity, even saying that from age 9 to 27 he was addicted to pornography. You could hear a pin drop when he said the “p” word. He was real to me. He wasn’t trying to impress me or persuade me, he was just trying to say how there are too many Sunday Christians in the world.

Maybe those TV-Evangelists can teach me something about the glory of God or the majesty surrounding the Almighty YHWH. Even so, I can’t help but wonder if talking in “sophisticated rhymes” is helping people live lives oriented towards the Kingdom. I’m sure that they are doing good work; at least that is what I want to believe, instead of hearing that they are just money hungry preachers preaching a gospel of “health and wealth.” I hope that more people hear what Kirk is trying to say. I hope.