Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Sisterhood: Sisters or Enemies?

Okay, so let me just say this: I have a love/hate relationship with reality television.

I have wept over performances on The Voice and So You Think You Can Dance. The beauty I've seen in the fresh talent on shows like that has left me amazed and, at times, in tears.

But as the Mama of four kiddos with so much to do and so little time, I just can't commit to reality tv. I just don't have the time to tune every week to see if the girl with the fiery voice or the guy who floats through the air like an Alvin Ailey dancer makes it through to the next level.

I just don't have that kind of time...

And then there's the reality television that eventually reveals the depths of every character's worst flaws -- a la Jersey Shore. You know, the kind that makes you say, "Wow, at least I'm not that much of a loser..."

I personally despise that kind of reality tv.

So, it was with much fear and trepidation that I watched the first episode of TLC's The Sisterhood.

The Sisterhood follows five Atlanta-based pastor's wives or "First Ladies," as they are affectionately known in the traditional African American church. I happened upon this show at a holiday family gathering, and I have to admit curiosity got the best of me. Being a pastor's wife myself, I couldn't wait to see TLC's depiction of these women.

The first episode started out rather benign. We entered into the homes and churches of the first ladies. My first thought: they were intelligent and strong. They weren't the kind of women who hid behind their husband's shadows. They were much like the pastor's wives I know.

And then it happened: we were introduced to the villain, the arch-enemy, the trouble-maker. She is a lovely lady with a powerful testimony, but her jealousy and bitterness exude her every word. Unfortunately, we all know this woman. We've met her in the workplace, the church and even our families. She is real.

However, her introduction in The Sisterhood left me feeling like this show was less about sisterhood, and more about rivalry.

Since that first episode, I've only watched a couple more. From what I have seen, I've pulled a few lessons from The Sisterhood that I'd love to share.

Love your Sisters
This lesson is for us all, Ladies. It's a common temptation to see other women as the enemy. She's either prettier than you, smarter than you or richer than you. Or she's the woman that everyone looks up to and wants to be around.

First of all, "she" is human just like you. She is flawed. She is imperfect. She has insecurities and failures. JUST LIKE YOU. And while you're wasting time and energy envying her, she just might be envying you.

So get over it. There will always be a woman that's better, brighter, beautiful-er. (Like that new word?) And realize that at our core, apart from God's amazing love and presence in our lives, we're all a wreck.

Let's stop fighting our sisters. We need each other.

Be relevant Christians
In a recent episode, one of the pastor's wives and her pastor-husband planned a "Bar Mitvah"for their son. (Side note: this particular pastor has a Jewish heritage, but became a Christian in adulthood.) After spending time with their event planner, the pastor asked them to bow their heads to pray.

My heart went out to the event planner, who was completely out of sorts through the entire prayer. She was obviously not a Christian, and seemed quite offended at this couple's insensitivity toward her.

As Christians, we have to remember that every one in our world is not a Christian. Some ascribe to other religious beliefs. Some ascribe to none at all. We must be aware of this and be sensitive to others, loving them as God loves them.

We should never force anyone else into prayer or any other Christian "box."

After all, God didn't force us into relationship with Him.

Don't just do church, be the Church
I'll begin this point by again mentioning that I've only watched a few episodes of The Sisterhood. In those three episodes, I've watched ladies' luncheons, shopping sprees, counseling sessions and lots of event planning.

What have I yet to see? Ladies bible studies, mentorship programs, community outreach and family bible studies. I haven't seen anyone feeding homeless people, mentoring a young single mother or teaching their children scripture.

Not to say these women don't do this kind of ministry. But TLC has of course chosen to focus on black-tie fundraisers, instead of "come-as-you-are" prayer meetings. But that's what the Church is supposed to be about, in every city, in every state, in every country. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, loving and serving others as He did.

But then, that wouldn't make for great reality tv, would it?


So what do you think? Have you watched The Sisterhood yet? What would you include in the program if you were producer?


  1. Love it!! Great blog. I was very reluctant about this show in the beginning, but was very glad they pulled it together... somewhat - by the end. Your lessons above were awesome and on point. I must add that we also must be careful of what we choose to allow non-believers to see, realizing that not everyone can understand or handle our journey. Often we as Christians are so intent on "keeping it real" that we forget that it is not about us. It is about God and that person that does not know God. Not everyone can held our story so sometimes we just need to ... shut-up and pray... and wait. I have made plenty of huge mistakes - but I also realize that its not for everyone to see or know, especially people that are not mature enough to understand it and may get distracted by the mistake, instead of focusing on God. So in the end, I just pray the show did not do more harm, than good to the body of Christ. People look for excuses not to come church or have a relationship with God. I just don't want to be one of them. We must use wisdom...

    1. Great point Levitica! Thanks. Wish I'd have added that major point. There's a delicate balance between "keeping it real" and still glorifying God. And that's kind of the problem with reality tv anyway - folks are airing out their issues and faults in front of strangers, instead their loved ones, spiritual advisors and professional counselors. Let's hope the Lord was still glorified somehow... Blessings to you, Sis'!

  2. I so enjoyed reading this. I watch the show and the women could learn so much from each other, but the two drama queens Tara & Dominique are so consumed with pride and always wanting to be right they're missing out. I'm sure TLC is leaving a lot on the cutting room floor trying to make "good" tv. I'm curious to see the feedback the ladies give after the show airs. It definitely makes me even more thankful for the sister friends God has placed in my life and who really truly listen and are there for me no matter what.

  3. Thank you "Life Interrupted" (Laura) for reading! I wholeheartedly agree with you. They really could be "sisters" if they'd let go of the drama. I'm so glad you're blessed with a true "sisterhood" in your own life!