reality TV

Caroline Barnett 2-16-2016

Screenshot via YouTube/Rich in Faith teaser

Within the last sixty years, numerous pastors have used new forms of media — beginning with television — to reach thousands of people eager for their message. Pat Robertson founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, which continues to appeal to millions of people around the world. Joel Osteen’s ministry is broadcasted into every U.S. television market. And Billy Graham, arguably one of the most famous evangelical pastors, started radio and television programs, as well as numerous books, a magazine, and a syndicated newspaper column. Before hipster Christianity was on Instagram, these televangelists utilized methods of evangelizing considered new and strange.

Monty Brinton / CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc / RNS

Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly previously competed on the reality TV show “Survivor.” Photo courtesy of Monty Brinton / CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. / RNS

Canfield and Kelly have decided to keep singing each Sunday at Hillsong, despite the restrictions. They recognize that the decision they’ve made is not one that every person in their position should make. But they believe it is the right one for them.

“If every gay person leaves their church because they have been treated poorly, nothing will change,” Canfield said.

“They still want us, and we feel called to stay. And we’re telling all our gay friends at Hillsong to do the same.”

Lily Burana 7-27-2015
ABC / Image Group LA / Flickr

Photo via ABC / Image Group LA / Flickr

Caitlyn Jenner, Olympic athlete turned world-class glamour girl, took the planet by storm in June when she sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer and announced her ongoing transition from male to female.

Now she’s back with an eight-episode miniseries, I Am Cait, that debuted July 26 on E!. The show, which airs in 154 countries and in 24 languages, serves as both classic reality TV lookie-loo entertainment and a spiritual exercise. Even the most Kardashian-resistant viewer can get something out of it.

Philosopher Martin Buber said, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware,” and it’s clear from the very first moments of I Am Cait, when we see Jenner lying awake strafed by insomnia at 4:32 a.m., that she’s not sure where this whole thing is headed.

“What a responsibility I have,” she says to her camera bare-faced and bleary eyed.

“I just hope I get it right. I hope I get it right.”

Photo courtesy of ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc / RNS

The Wylie family from Rio Vista, Texas. Photo courtesy of ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc / RNS

If a briefcase of money fell in your lap, would you keep it, share it, or give it all away?

The new reality show The Briefcase is asking that question. But viewers and ethicists are asking more:

How could CBS put this on the air? Are there better ways to address the financial challenges of the middle class?

The hourlong show, which airs its fourth episode June 17, introduces two families each episode with the struggles of bills and not enough money coming in to achieve all their goals — whether dealing with a lost job, medical bills, or the potential costs of in vitro fertilization.

Katherine Burgess 11-06-2013

Rev Kev, Doc., and Gladamere of the new show. Photo via RNS/Credit: T Group Productions, courtesy National Geographic Channel

They’ve rescued bars and restaurants and shabby houses, but this month reality television stars are set to rescue something new.

Church Rescue will debut Monday on the National Geographic Channel, featuring the most unlikely of reality TV stars: church consultants.

The series will feature three “Church Hoppers”: the Rev. Kevin “Rev Kev” Annas, a business analyst; the Rev. Anthony “Gladamere” Lockhart, a marketing specialist; and the Rev. Jerry “Doc” Bentley, a spiritual counselor.

“The Church Hoppers exist to build balance in church through systems, business, and marketing,” said Lockhart, who like his fellow rescuers comes out of the Southern Baptist Convention.

James Johnson 6-24-2013
Rev. James Johnson, the Whiskey Priest, in Peru

Rev. James Johnson, the Whiskey Priest, in Peru

Go Here to read the second in this series, Competing for the Greater Good

Peru is a land of extremes, especially for a motorcycle pilgrimage. Our journey from Lima to the orphanage in Moquegua took us through some of the most severe riding conditions imaginable. Storms of Peru, the second segment in the Neale Bayly Rides series, provided a glimpse into the challenges we faced, as Peru would not give up her beauty easily.

Our ride began in the congested, chaotic streets of Lima — a thriving metropolis of 16 million people — where an aggressive riding posture is your only chance for survival. It’s not that the Peruvians are bad drivers; it’s just that traffic laws don’t seem to be a concern for any of them. Riding through the boiling cauldron of cars felt like a massive vehicular free-for-all. Lima provided a baptism by fire for our adventure and, exciting though it was, we were glad to leave the haphazard traffic behind us.  

We rode south toward the beautiful but haunting desert of Ica. The life-smothering heat and blowing sands sweep across the land and stop abruptly at the Pacific Ocean. Riding through the rugged terrain of crushed rock, sugar sand, and loose gravel was even more challenging than it appeared on television. I was glad the production team didn’t show everything. I bit the dust more times than I care to admit.

The country is amazingly beautiful, as are the people. There's a crazy juxtaposition of things you have to see to believe — poverty mixed with joy, beauty and brokenness in the very same face, a fierce gratitude in the meanest of circumstances.

Corrie Mitchell 6-24-2013
Photo by Alex Martinez/Bravo / courtesy NBC

Long Island: Princesses, Season 1 cast, Photo by Alex Martinez/Bravo / courtesy NBC

Meet Amanda, Casey, Ashlee, Chanel, Joey, and Erica. They spend their time and their parents’ money shopping for designer labels, searching for rich husbands, and lounging by the pool with a glass of wine in hand.

They’re self-admitted “Jewish American Princesses,” and Bravo’s built a whole reality series, "Princesses: Long Island" around their exploits. The show follows six unmarried 20-something Jewish women living with their parents on New York’s Long Island. The first two episodes were titled “You Had Me at Shalom” and “Shabbocalypse Now.”

“Everybody has a stereotype of a Long Island Jewish girl,” cast member Ashlee White said on the show’s June 2 premiere. “People get so offended! I’m like, ‘Bring it.’ I’m Jewish, I’m American, and I’m a princess.”

And that’s where some Jews — and even some Long Islanders — have a problem.

Who knew the Amish would become such a center of pop-cultural attention?

Jack Palmer 12-20-2011

New Law Aims To Shine Light on Conflict Metals; Immigration Effort Mistakenly Holds U.S. Citizens; North Korea’s Persecution of Christians Expected to Continue After Kim Jon Il’s Death; Muslims push Lowe’s boycott over reality series; Two Muslim religious leaders sue airlines for discrimination; Christianity goes global as world’s largest religion; (Opinion) Obama’s simplistic view of income inequality.

Diana Butler Bass 8-10-2010
As a working mother who lives in the Washington-metro area, I admit that I was dreading Bravo's new program The Real Housewives of D.C.
Julie Clawson 10-05-2009

So I'm a fan of So You Think You Can Dance. I enjoy watching dance and I used to dance, so I like the show even though it is a mostly scripted reality TV program.

Connie Anderson 4-06-2009
In a stunning turnabout, some of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's firmest allies distanced themselves from his hard-line tactics when the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to postpone accepting $1.6 m

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