ABC News ran a story yesterday announcing the arrival of Christian reality TV. Two shows debuted in October on cable: "THE UPRISING" and "Revolve: Rockin' the Road." (Since I'm more interested in "THE UPRISING," I'll leave others to discuss "Revolve.")
Here's how "THE UPRISING" is described at their Website:
Unprecedented, uncompromising, and unashamed best describes “THE UPRISING,” Steelroots’ newest reality television show. The series follows born again pro skateboarders Jay Haizlip, Christian Hosoi, and Brian Sumner as they comb skate parks, backyard pools, and other hangouts in an effort to spread the Gospel. Committed to affecting the world around them, the trio shares their faith and hope with friends, drug addicts, even police. Misconceptions of Christianity will be shattered as their unconventional approach to modern day evangelism reaches across cultural boundaries. With guest appearances by some of today’s top pros, “The UPRISING” delivers the future of skateboarding right to your doorstep. Experience a journey of boldness and faith as lives are restored, people accept Christ, and fellowship abounds. You will agree that the time is NOW! This is “THE UPRISING.”
And here's an interesting promotional video of the show:
The arrival of Christian reality TV raises a host of questions, like: "Is this helpful to the advance of the Gospel?" "Will these shows actually change lives?" "What aspects of the Christian faith are transferrable to the medium of television?" "What might be lost in the translation?" "Are Christians once agian just taking cues from the world and "baptizing" something for commercial use?" "How could Christians once agian lead in the arts?"
My initial thought is that these shows will only fuel the cult of personality that already exists in the church. I hope I'm wrong. And yet, I want to believe that the men featured in "The UPRISING" are sincere--and desiring far more than their own noteriety. I admit, the video above grips me with hope that Haizlip, Sumner and Hosoi (I used to skate on a Hosoi "Hammerhead" back in the day) will be able to reach their community with the Gospel. I'm praying that they do.
What do you think? Is Christian reality TV a good thing?
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About Mike Pohlman
Mike serves as the senior pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, Washington. Mike is a former church planter in the Pacific Northwest, and served for three years as the executive producer of The Albert Mohler Program, a nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to Christianity and culture. Mike has a PhD in American church history from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike is husband to Julia and father to four wonderful children: Samuel (12), Anna (10), John (9) and Michael (4). When not pastoring, Mike loves sports, music, and hanging out with his family.
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