Lost in La-La Land

by | Oct 31, 2006 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

Much of Christian TV needs extreme makeover.
You might be shocked to know that I don’t watch much Christian television. With my hectic schedule I don’t have time for talk shows. I do enjoy broadcast news, PBS documentaries and an occasional movie on AMC. When I am in total couch-potato mode I’ve been known to watch reruns of Boy Meets World and America’s Funniest Videos with my kids.


But my children aren’t too fond of religious broadcasting, and I don’t blame them. I would rather sit in traffic and listen to my favorite worship music than watch a group of slick-haired evangelists gab about the importance of tithing.


I know there are great Bible teachers on the air today, and TV pioneers Marcus and Joni Lamb of Daystar Television Network are making remarkable strides to improve the image of Christians in the media (see our story on page 36). But let’s be honest: Christian broadcasting today is a vast wasteland of missed opportunities.
I’d like to offer a few suggestions on how Christian TV executives could stop turning off viewers.


1. Get real. People are looking for authenticity, not hokum. When unbelievers see Christians on TV they need to know we have real human problems as well as practical answers. They don’t need to see hypocritical masks, hear pat answers or be forced to decipher sappy, religious lingo.


We must be as professional as possible to reach the masses. National television is no place to be cheesy, flamboyant or weird.


2. Reset the clock. This is 2006. Much of Christian TV needs an extreme makeover. The gospel is timeless, but that doesn’t mean we will attract big audiences without new packaging.


My generation is not going to watch a Christian version of Hee Haw or The Lawrence Welk Show. I know of one prominent pastor who refers to typical Christian television as a “granny hootenanny” because the sets, music and preaching don’t appeal to anyone under 75. Christian networks need to hire some people under 30 and let them invent a new broadcasting formula.


3. Give us some substance. I realize that some people watch Christian TV instead of going to church. (That is actually a very scary thought.) But since many of us already attend a worship service at least once a week, Christian programs should not be like church services beamed from La-La Land. We need more than an inspirational song, canned applause, a sermon and a lengthy offering appeal. Help us apply the Word of God to everyday life!


4. Tone down the begging. Some Christian programs remind me of those mindless infomercials that air at 3 a.m. to entertain insomniacs. Except in this case, instead of movie stars from the 1970s selling face creams, diet shakes or vegetable storage systems, Christian leaders gather on the same set night after night to preach their favorite prosperity messages.


They jostle to the music, slap one another’s backs and remind the audience that God will free them from debt if they charge a $1,000 love gift on their credit cards. Meanwhile, for effect, studio technicians play the sound of ringing telephones in the background. (Do phones still sound like that?)


Someone please make them stop! This is bad advertising for the gospel. These people make it sound as if God is constantly running short on cash. Here’s an idea: Why couldn’t Christian stations have commercials? I’d rather hear from the local car dealer every 15 minutes than endure an hour of telethon torture.


5. Have some integrity. What really grieves me is that a network will put any old preacher on the air if he can wow a crowd. Never mind that his theology is toxic. Never mind that he left his wife and married another lady a week later. He can sure get the people to shout—and to open their wallets!


I won’t be a guest on many Christian talk shows as a result of this article. But I hope someone out there in TV land is listening—and is willing to make today’s programming relevant to mainstream viewers who certainly are not going to find Jesus while watching HBO. I believe that if we get back in touch with reality, people will tune in by the millions.


J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma and author of 10 Lies the Church Tells Women (Charisma House). His ministry, The Mordecai Project, focuses on empowering women in ministry and confronting abuse.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about standing strong in the storms of life. Whether you're dealing with a...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its...
Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Attention. Several hundred leaders are registered for our special brunch on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. Seats are filling up and we must give our host a final number of meals to prepare. Please do not wait. Make your reservation now for this free brunch. I have a very...

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

The key to being positioned to receive the Issachar anointing has to do with timing and seasons. Those who carry the Issachar anointing understand the times and seasons we are in. They have discernment and knowledge, enabling them to lead well. They seek the wisdom of...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

We tend to think of gratitude as an obligation as opposed to a weapon of warfare. A nicety, not a ferocious force for transformation. We are wrong. From our earliest days we are trained that polite people say “thank you.” Certainly, this is true and proper. Those of...

Pin It on Pinterest