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Greenleaf is Realer Than You Think

I was raised in church. My mother has been a devout christian for over 30 years. She's a minister. She thought I was going to be one as well. For a very long time, I thought it was my calling. I just knew I was going to end up in someone's pulpit preaching the Word of God. Of course, that didn't happen. I chose to speak truth in a different way. At times, I feel guilt. I often wonder if I made a mistake leaving church when I got older. I wondered if I had passed up my calling. Then I think about all of the unworthy people who decided they were leaders. I think about the people who have made a mockery of the church, completely disregarding the importance of their job. I've seen egos collide and powers struggles ensue. I've witnessed leaders fall short. I've seen jealousy, greed, lust, and hatred run rampant in a place that is supposed to rebuke all of those things and more. I believe I've made the right decision. I'd much rather be a real sinner than a fake saint. I can't go through the motions like most. And I can't turn a blind eye to the all of the inconsistencies that plague today's church, the black church in particular. The OWN network has a show that shines a light on the modern day black mega church. The series is called Greenleaf. Created by Craig Wright and executive produced by the incomparable Oprah Winfrey, The drama chronicles the saga of the leaders of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, a mega church in Memphis, Tennessee. The lead character, Grace "GiGi" Greenleaf, was the child prodigy of the church. She was the heir apparent to her father, Bishop James Greenleaf, but horrifying family secrets drove the young pastor away. She returns 20 years later for the funeral of her sister, and makes a vow to uncover the lies of her family. She reclaims her rightful position in the church, and this jump starts a series of events that are hard for anyone to believe, unless you've seen some of it with your very own eyes. I don't know if was intentional, but Greenleaf is an awesome depiction of these mega churches. They're ran like a business. There's people at the church working around the clock, holding meetings, closing deals, working feverishly, not to save souls, but to generate income. There's also a constant power struggle among leaders. People are constantly jockeying for position. It's just like any other job on earth, and that's exactly what it shouldn't be. The goal is to bring people to Christ. The goal is to save souls. Well, that's what it's supposed to be. Now the goal is to increase tithing by 20%. The goal is to add an extra wing to the church, or build a youth center for no reason at all. The goal is to entertain instead of teach. The goal, for some, is to get rich. And boy are these mega church pastors loaded! Not only are they rich beyond belief, they have no problem flaunting it. They're almost as bad as rappers and NBA players these days. Meanwhile, half of their "flock" can barely keep their lights on, and they have to park their car away from their home because the repo man is on their ass. And that's just the start. In Greenleaf, the writers touch on various issues surrounding churches. Infidelity, homosexuality, lies, cover ups, molestation, it's all covered in this show, and for good reason. You ever wonder why there's been no protest by churches to take this how off of the air? Because you can't fight the truth. Now, there are some far fetched scenarios in Greenleaf(it is television for God's sake), but overall, the depiction is spot on. It resonates with me because I've seen some of it. You want to hear some of the most wicked slander and gossip? Go to church. You want to see shade at maximum levels? Go to church. You want to see hustling in its purest form? Go to church. I know some people will be upset after reading this, and that's fine. The truth hurts. Greenleaf is exposing churches for what they truly are these days, and I'm all for it.

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