"The Sisterhood," TLC's groundbreaking new reality television show, shocked many viewers with its premiere episode, but the preachers' wives featured on the show insist they are not attempting to prove that church leaders are perfect.
Ivy Couch, the first lady of Emmanuel Tabernacle church led by her husband Pastor Mark Couch, was prepared for the backlash from some viewers. However, she feels the transparency of the preachers' wives featured on the show can heal people.
"I think other Christians act like they don't have problems anymore once they become Christian. So it's really an opportunity for me to be transparent because I think that's how we help people heal," Couch told The Christian Post. "So I think He's using this reality show, it is going to be groundbreaking and we're going to upset a lot of people. But I do also think that we're going to bring a lot of people to know Him personally."
After "The Sisterhood" premiered Tuesday, countless people took to Twitter and The Christian Post's exclusive story featuring interviews with cast members to sound off on the show.
"I saw (The) Sisterhood yesterday I was embarrassed being a woman of GOD," one person tweeted. "Real holy virtuous women don't act that way. The devil (is) trying to embarrass us."
Another person took to the CP article, "The Sisterhood Exclusive: Preacher's Wives Reveal Why They Took to Reality TV," to call for the cancellation of the television show.
"This is the most carnal, gossiping, lying, slandering, fake Christian show on TV. I hope it gets cancelled real soon," the CP commenter wrote. "None of these women reflect Christ in anyway shape or form. If you're a Christian woman and you want to learn how not to act Godly then look to this show."
A petition on Change.org titled "TLC Network: Cancel 'The Sisterhood'" seemed to showcase the frustration of some viewers who believed the premiere episode was "toxic and degrading."
Christina Murray, the first lady of Oasis Church pastored by her husband Anthony Murray, admits that she and her partner have experienced judgment from church people in the past. For this reason, "The Sisterhood" cast member said she allows herself to be authentic in her church and on the reality television series.
"We hated the religious, dogmatic type of church and people who were very judgemental because that's how they felt they had to be. So when we began this journey we definitely wanted to be real and authentic not only with ourselves but also with our ministry and our congregation," Murray told CP. "I believe in my faith wholeheartedly and I want to be able to live up to what God expects me to live up to. I want to be the person God is calling me to be."
Despite the backlash spawned by the show, some viewers thought people were overreacting to the first episode of the show about preachers' wives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"That Sisterhood show got y'all mad. Only a hit dog hollers," one person tweeted. "Y'all watch RHOA but let church folks be shown as humans and we want to rally?"
Another person tweeted about understanding both perspectives of the matter, writing, "People in general are looking for authenticity in spirituality...so this show concept can be interpreted positively and negatively.#sisterhood."
For Couch, "The Sisterhood" is not about trying to be holier than thou, but to identify with people who are experiencing various struggles in life.
"I feel like I have been brought from too much in my life to even dare act like I'm better than somebody or act like I'm so removed from what they may be going through," Couch told CP. "I love walking with those that God is using that are in transit, that are still broken, still afflicted (and) not acting like they're perfect."