You may not have noticed this, but the genre of television called "Reality TV" is moving into spirituality as a major topic. The Learning Channel is launching two new shows of this type. The Messengers premieres on Sunday (July 23) at 10 p.m. It is a talent contest show for preachers. Next fall The Monastery will use the formula from the various survival shows as five men and five women try the cloistered life for 40 days. The Arts & Entertainment Channel (A&E) has already released God or the Girl which is a documentary series about four young men deciding whether to become Roman Catholic priests and end the relationships with their girlfriends.
What does this mean? The entertainment industry has discovered that spirituality is a subject that many people have an interest in. They have really run out of rope with some of the "Reality TV" stuff they've done for the past couple of years, so they are looking for something new. Religion is no longer an untouchable for Hollywood. How will the theologians and religious leaders who have been concerned about entertainment values in the church respond to church material in entertainment? Are there opportunities related to these new shows for outreach? For example, should pastors preach sermons or send out material via Email or Podcasts related to themes in these shows?