We’re reading a new book in our Monday night group: “Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television,” by Nadia Bolz-Weber. In this book she is chronicling her experiences of watching 24 hours of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) with friends and family. She breaks it down by the program, starting at 5am. So far we’ve only read the intro and the first two programs.
I’ve never watched TBN, only heard about televangelists and shied away from the perceptions I’ve had of them. The first show she watched was a short drama of a modern-day Jesus visiting a diner and a modern-day Mary and Martha serving him. The second show was Paula White. I find that Nadia is intelligent but quite critical of these shows. I don’t disagree with what she’s pointing out, but do think there’s some bias in what she’s saying. That being said, I have heard stories about people losing money to these “campaigns” the televangelists put on, how they work people’s emotions and then ask for their money. I think the especially shameful part is that they make it sound like you need to give money to please God or to really do His work. That’s not to say that God does not use our money to His glory, but I think that trying to frame it so that people feel like they will be out of His favor if they don’t give money is deplorable. I see that as highly manipulative and an abuse of their position.
This should be an interesting book.