Lights, camera, action. Welcome to today’s church, a religious reflection of pop culture.
Exploring the white coat effect
Lights, camera, action.
Welcome to today’s church, a religious reflection of pop culture. I was sent a link to the up and coming so called reality TV show called Preachers of LA featuring mega church pastors in Los Angeles. Of course we can expect to see prosperity preachers living lavish, euphoric congregants caught up in the “anointing”, scandalous allegations and affairs. These things are kind of normal now. And despite explicit lawlessness, pop preachers still draw large crowds of zealous followers who are always ready to preach the ‘gospel of humanity’ e.g. “So what if its Bishops 3rd affair, he’s only human”. Rant finished.
I don’t really want to so much focus on those who sit on pedestals, whether by their own making or by that of their followers. Instead I want to challenge the mindset that ascribes immediate credibility and authenticity to anything that stands on a stage / pedestal. It’s a bit like the Milgram experiment: A man in a white coat tells participants to electrocute their colleagues if they answer a questionnaire wrongly. Despite cries for mercy, participants continue to increase the voltage at the instruction of the man in the white coat. Many reach deadly voltage heights, and even face a moral conflict doubting if they should go on. They look to the white coat who assures and instructs them and they in turn continue. In the same way many automatically put there trust and expectation in anyone put on the stage. Anything on the stage receives the unquestioning reverence of the white coat.
I have witnessed first-hand some of the workings of the gospel music industry. Again and again I saw the white coat effect. A young unknown kid who likes to rap, releases his gospel EP and overnight his fans are looking to him for ‘the word of the Lord’. I myself have been guilty of expecting too much from the stage, as though the stage was proof of authenticity. All one needs to do is look the part, throw out a few buzz words and perform a few clichés to receive the white coat status.
Back to my original rant. So as I was saying, I was sent the link to the Preachers of LA trailer and just before being disappointed in the proposed celebrity pastors I caught myself. I realised I would be measuring them against their man made pedestals, as though I believed in the hype / stage. To be disillusioned you first need to be illusioned. For too long citizens of the Kingdom have been easily illusioned and relied on fickle outward measurements. Looking for reassurance and truth from the wrong source. Wearing a white coat in itself doesn't define or determine a doctor. So what do I think of the Preachers of LA show? Answer: I don’t believe in the hype enough to mourn and it seems too far from sober reality for me to care. I decided a while back to look away from the stage.