November 15, 2013
The great United States of America continues to have an immense influence on Bahamians. This has been the case since the turn of the 20th century, and even more so since World Wars I and II.
Most of what we consume is imported from America. We have even imported America's pop culture. For instance, America's obsession with reality TV shows such as "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" has become our obsession, particularly among our young people. In recent weeks, however, the Kardashians' show has been playing second fiddle to a new reality TV show, "The Preachers of L.A.".
The show, which airs on the Oxygen network, follows the lives of six mega church pastors who are very wealthy and very flashy. These American preachers live in multi-million dollar mansions and drive expensive luxury cars.
While one of the cast members gave a valiant effort in an attempt to answer concerns about his fellow cast members' display of crass materialism and gratuitous emphasis on money and other material possessions and beautiful women and fame, he was still unable to give a sensible explanation as to how the show is promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ.
To say that these mega church pastors are living the American Dream would be a gross understatement. As an evangelical Christian myself, I have no issue with pastors having wealth, just as long as their wealth does not possess them. However, based on my limited observation of "The Preachers of L.A.", something just isn't right about this TV show.
From my vantage point, the show seems indicative of all that has plagued the word of faith movement or the prosperity gospel since its inception in America decades ago. Bahamian viewers of "The Preachers of L.A." are fascinated with the show because they are enamored with the show's prosperity theology.
It has been said by many keen observers that the health and wealth gospel is the most attractive message in the history of the Christian church. In a nutshell, its message is that God wants all of His children to be rich and perfectly healthy; a life free of any of the mundane issues that have been plaguing humanity since Adam and Eve. Hence the reason why American prosperity preachers have standing room only when they visit churches in The Bahamas to minister.
They love to come here because of their grave misconception of most Bahamians being either wealthy or middle-class. Unbeknownst to these preachers is the sobering fact that the average working Bahamian is saddled with a mortgage payment and is earning a weekly wage, which is below the poverty threshold, by American standard.
It goes without saying that an overwhelming number of these prosperity preachers would never take their prosperity gospel to poverty ravaged nations such as Haiti, Niger, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe or Uganda because of its unpalatability to the impoverished citizens of the said nations.
Do you honestly believe that prosperity preachers would dare preach to people living on less than $1 a day that God wants them to sow a financial seed into their ministries in order for them to get a financial breakthrough? They would never travel to Haiti in order to hold a conference because they would never rake in a hefty return. Haitians are too poor for these preachers.
The fact that their message makes absolutely no sense to millions of people who are living in squalor is a tell tale sign that it isn't of God to begin with. And this is the reason why "The Preachers of L.A." would never receive high ratings in places such as Haiti. The Haitian church wouldn't be able to relate to these people and their opulent lifestyle.
In the meantime, however, many Bahamians will continue to view this reality TV show because they want what the cast members have. They want a piece of the American Dream.
-- Kevin Evans
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