“Reality Show is the new field for evangelism.” – Brian S. Lewis
I watched one episode of the show and was really disappointed in the lack of spiritual guidance used to advise the public about important topics such as pornography, and pedophilia.
As an expert in child sexual abuse grooming® (pedophile behavior), and a minister, I want to help you understand how to resolve your personal crisis if this episode shared a problem that you are facing in your life.
During one scene when the ladies were in “the Queen Maker’s” shop, who is Domonique Scott a character on the show, Tara brought up a phone call she received randomly from a friend whose husband is watching pornography.
What was the pastors response you ask? Tara told her friend to withhold sex from her husband in an effort to punish him stating that it would make him realize that he wanted to save his marriage.
Not only was this comment unscriptural because there is nothing in the word of God that tells a wife or husband to withhold sex, especially not in punishment (except for a mutually agreeable time like fasting) but it is a form of domestic violence.
“My suggestion is that in terms of our love-making – in terms of that, that that’s shut down. Make him realize he could lose his family and his marriage.” – Tara Lewis, The Sisterhood.
In addition to Tara’s advice for the friend, she also said in her documentary-style interview that “80% of all pedophiles have watched pornography at some point.”
What I find more alarming than realizing that this is the kind of individual marriage counseling that Tara would give to her church members if she had one, is that her purpose for bringing up this situation was to ask if that was the kind of thing that should be talked about on her talk show “Phenomenal Life Today”.
After seeing that one episode, and listening to the above interview where Brian emphatically denies that they have done anything unrighteous on the show, and openly discredits the other cast members (which may be considered unrighteous to some) I decided to see if what he said was true.
Perhaps It wasn’t them, it was everyone else who were at fault. So, I watched other episodes and became grieved by more by this couple. If you keep reading, I’ll tell you the evangelism opportunity that I believe Tara missed out on, early in the show with another cast member.
“I hope Tara emerges as a hero.”- Brian S. Lewis, Sisterhood
Brian who is Tara’s husband on the Sisterhood is obsessed with us falling in love with them and seeing the “truth” but I have to be honest, it was hard to do so. I wrote so many quotes down from his interview, that I decided not to write the article at all for a few days.
I found his interview to be redundant, manipulative, condescending, long-winded and possessing a superior-complex. While I wanted to believe him, it was difficult to move past some of the confusing rants. Honestly, I believe that less would have been more. After watching the audible interview (that I’ve provided for you to listen to here), I questioned whether this was a marketing ploy to engage interest in potential viewers.
I am also very concerned about their obsession with us understanding that their son is going to be the first black and jewish president of the United States of America in 2036. I almost stopped watching the show because I lost count on how many times they said black and jew(ish) out of their mouths.
He seems like a typical child, but they call him regal. Both parents keep talking about what they want the child to be like, instead of learning about his true gifts, and his passions.
This is not spiritual parenting, which is a topic that I cover in my new book, Sexual Discipleship: The Strategic Plan to Legalize Sex with Children using the Ten Ways to Safeguard your Child from Sexual Abuse with acronym S.A.F.E.G.U.A.R.D.S.® The first “S” in safeguards, stands for spiritual parenting.
I believe that as spiritually intuned parents we can hear a word from God about our children, and we use this information as a guide in parenting them, not to constantly tell them who they are (in the natural). God gave us free will, and this child will need to choose to be the next president if she did in fact hear this from God about her son when he was six weeks old.
The parents job is to plant the seed and till the ground giving him what is necessary to become the president in 2036 but not force, coerce, manipulate, and exert power and control over the child in order to make Jesus’ plans come to pass. This is too forms of domestic violence shown within the same couple, toward their child. Jesus does not exert power and control. There is only one spiritual force concerned with exerting power and control, and it is not God.
Brian and Tara seem possessed with presenting themselves as holy and the other cast member was correct in stating that scriptures are not always needed for evangelism.
Jesus presented himself, and we are to present him through us. This does not mean that we don’t use scriptures at all, it just means that we do not live in a judgmental, unapproachable place that can not be penetrated or relatable to those that we claim we are called to minister to.
Your evangelism is a deep ministry to operate in, understanding that your influence can mean life or death. For any person regardless of their faith or beliefs, we need to understand that the foundation of a person is their understanding of their faith and beliefs. The approach in which Brian and Tara communicate is unlikable and may be ineffective with the audience that they intend to evangelize to.
My intention is not to insult them. In fact, I learned different ways to evangelize because I am not an evangelist and feel uncomfortable walking up to random people on the streets but my friend, like Tara (but not) is an evangelist.
My friend who has a name oddly close to Tara turned a simple conversation of romantic interest into a ministry session in front of the grocery store! She went back to my car to get them tracks which are a ministry tool to talk about salvation.
If someone feels that you are not genuine, that you are judgmental, that you think you’re better, or that you lack compassion, your evangelism makes others lose interest in God. People associate how authentic God is, by how authentic you are.
On the streets of Miami as a prostitute dealing with – you know, drug addiction, I am now realizing that although I escaped physically without any major scars or trauma, that emotionally I really walked away damaged. – Domonique Scott, the Sisterhood
Domonique is a pastor’s wife who appears on the show. She presents herself as incredibly unhappy on the show in her marriage in repeated statements. She also is saddened that they have not overcome financial crisis’, and admits that they were the main contributors in their church, and were also are not good with handling money.
When she made the above statement however I did not know if anyone would realize how honest, empowering and mature of her to acknowledge that she is emotionally unstable because of the abuse that she endured – including during her days of being a prostitute. I agree with her, that she is not ready to take on the role of a pastor until she is healed.
What I found challenging about the Brian and Tara Lewis belief that they are on a different, more mature spiritual level than the other cast members, were their inability to make a connection with Domonique that would encourage her healing.
I thought it profoundly mature for Domonique to admit that she did not know if she was ready to become a pastor of another church until she dealt with the feelings that she had inside as a result of the domestic and sexual violence that she suffered throughout her life. And equally mature for her to be honest to her husband, and he suggest counseling that she (as we saw on the show) accepted.
What I believe was missed as an opportunity to evangelize by Tara was that at the controversial table argument that questioned Tara’s approach to evangelism, Domonique was really calling out the cast to be her friends who would be honest with her, cultivate a friendship with her, and stand by her as she healed.
Domestic Sexual Violence
For many years pastors have promoted domestic and sexual violence to their church members without realizing that they have done so. People are destroyed for a lack of knowledge and this lack I believe holds some responsibility for the divorce rates, and poor relationships in church.
The holy spirit should be the advantage of seeking counseling from a christian counselor but when pastors really do not know how to help a member of their congregation, they need to ask God who should.
When I needed healing in my family, my pastor made it clear that he thought the help we needed was outside of his scope. He is anointed but the type of healing that we needed which came from years of domestic and sexual violence within my immediate family had to come from someone who he trusted would maintain integrity of the message of Jesus. – Ressurrection Graves, child sexual abuse expert and H.E.A.L.E.R.
It has to come from someone who could help us to overcome the pains of the past to move toward healthy relationships. I talk about my personal experience with domestic and sexual violence in my memoir, Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey to Love.
The reason that Tara’s advice was so alarming was because of the following:
- Withholding sex as punishment is a form of Domestic Sexual Violence.
- Withholding sex as punishment is unbiblical.
- Her statements made it seem like the husband could be a pedophile.
Sexual abuse or violence exists in marriage. If you are married and you say that you do not want to have sex, and your spouse forces you – that is called rape, period. On the other hand, if you are married and your spouse says that they are withholding sex from you as a punishment, this too is a form of sexual violence.
This does not mean that a spouse can not take a night off but healthy relationships have communication and work together to make sure the needs of each other are met in their sexual relationship. Also, as an aside, if a spouse is cheating, this is a form or sexual abuse in marriage, and your spouse (who was cheated on) may not feel comfortable having sex with you – but making a personal choice and withholding are different. (See me for questions and answers as necessary)
Domestic abuse is about power and control. Many church leaders, and their members are unaware of what the bible or the world identifies as abuse. Domestic Sexual Violence is often coupled with other forms of abuse like emotional, or psychological and physical abuse.
The reason that withholding sex is a form of abuse is due to the power and control nature and intention behind the act. It is a form or coercion, manipulation, inappropriate restrictions and other adjectives that are used to describe how people abuse, on the power and control wheel.
From a biblical perspective, power and control are exerted through tactics used by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. When you learn this and understand that God is never interested in exerting power and control over you, but presenting free will because he wants to be your choice, you will come to identify love and the enemy more easily.
Tara’s second statement about the pedophiles was pretty accurate however, her positioning of the statement needed further information. Not everyone who watches pornography is a pedophile but 80% of pedophiles do watch – and learn forms of sexual abuse from pornography. She implied that this woman could be at-risk to being married to a pedophile however this is not a sign that everyone can use to determine if one is a pedophile.
In addition, she did not indicate that the woman’s husband was watching child pornography, so I was not sure why she gave such an uneducated assumption.
Each person did this for a purpose and I’m sure for each one of us if we were where we wanted to be in our ministerial station, we would not have chosen to do this show. I’m just gonna be for real like, u – if we all had the churches we wanted – you know, if I were T.D. Jakes, we probably wouldn’t do it because we are at a certain [financial] level.
So everybody on this show is hungry for something, whether it was recognition, whether it was fame, whether it was money, whether it was a second chance – it could be anything. Not all of it is a sin, we all have different motivations. For us, we had a motivation to have a second chance, as well as to advance the kingdom of God. Brian S. Lewis, the Sisterhood
In closing, I thought that the idea of the show was horrible because any person who has clients, members etc whether in the healthcare or religious community has a responsibility to maintain total confidentiality, and I was unsure how this could be achieved with a television show. Since it has aired, I realize that these women (most of them) do not have churches or congregations.
Incidentally, I don’t know how you start a “televangelist” ministry with no church or members but that is not my vision – it is Tara’s. I don’t have to understand it. In response to Brian’s above comment, our motivation as ministers should be to hear and do what God has called us to do. And if God is big enough to give us the vision, make it plain so we can run with it, he can also tell us where to run to, in order to accomplish it.
I was doing research for this article and realized that I have more followers on all of my social networks than these ladies. We see people on television and assume this makes them relevant or famous. It seems that the church has indeed spoken because the show may not have been cancelled before the series started but it is failing to have viewership and will unlikely withstand the unspoken boycott to cancel this show.
“You only edit what is given to you.” – Brian S. Lewis
Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Expert, and H.E.A.L.E.R. ® which stands for Healer • Educator • Activist • Life Skills Expert • Empowerment Speaker • Relationship Mentor; available for media interviews and speaking opportunities surrounding child sexual abuse for pastors only, leadership only, or the entire congregation. Additional speaking topics are suitable for college and universities, and conferences surround child sexual abuse education and training. For more information please call: 202.717.7377 (RESS) or email: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com.