Before her megachurch drama hit the small screen in a new series showcasing sex, drugs and deceit, Oprah Winfrey had a frank conversation with Bishop T.D. Jakes about its impact on the Church.
In Winfrey's upcoming TV series "Greenleaf," writer Craig Wright's script centers around the dysfunction within the church and family of Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David). And before the first episode aired, the media mogul wanted to make it clear that her network's new series would not disrespect Jakes or the Church.
"I spoke to T.D. Jakes and said, 'I just want you to know I'm doing a show about a megachurch and the only resemblance to you, is that our main character is called Bishop and you're a bishop.' And he says, 'I'm happy to hear that because I've heard something's about it …,'" Winfrey said during a question and answer session with media, according to Eurweb. "I said, 'I just want you to know, from my lips to your ears, I have nothing but deep respect and regard for the church. I, Oprah Winfrey, am going to do nothing, ever, that disrespects the church."
But Winfrey added that the show would point out flaws in people who attended church.
"I am, who I am, sitting here today, because of the black church, but there are some people in the church with some flaws … we might be talking about that," she recalled of the conversation with Jakes. "It has nothing to do with you.' And he said, 'alright, can you send me a ticket?'"
When The Christian Post attended a screening of the show's first episode, Winfrey, spoke about why she believed creating a new series around the church was important.
"I think it's a platform that nobody has actually explored. I grew up in the black church, I wouldn't be who I am without it," said Winfrey, who also stars in the show as Mavis McCready. "My speaking to the writers room on the very first day and my conversations with Craig were all about, 'look, this is not just a church. It's the nurse, doctor, lawyer, psychologist, our therapy, nurturer, support, it's our rock."
The family drama is centered around a Memphis, Tennessee, megachurch called Calvary Fellowship World Ministries where Bishop James Greenleaf, played by Keith David ("Enlisted" and "Community"), is the head of both his congregation and family. However, when he steps off of that pulpit the dynamics involving his family are more sinister than godly.
Despite the soap opera-like drama and explicit content that could cause some upset within the church community, Winfrey is not the least bit worried about receiving a negative response.
"I'm not worried about it because of our intention. Our intention is to use this as a platform for telling great stories," Winfrey said during the press screening of "Greenleaf" attended by CP in April. "Our intention is to be mindful and respectful of the church as an institution. Only good can come from that."