Most of us would say we don’t like “reality” television, yet many of us have been sucked into some show that purports to show the real lives of rich people, poor people, large families, little people or drunk college kids. In all these cases, the people featured sign on for the privilege of broadcasting their lives in excruciating detail.
Now, A&E (which used to mean “arts and entertainment” but it lost the “arts” at some point) is planning a show called 8 Minutes. A pastor by the name of Kevin Brown (who is a former police officer) will attempt to evangelize and “save” a prostitute in an 8 minute time frame. Really.
Brown will surprise escorts in hotel rooms and offer to rescue them from a life of trading sex for cash. Brown has eight minutes to make his case to the women in each episode.
Executive producer Tom Forman told EW that the show was inspired by a past article in the Los Angeles Times, about a pastor who worked with his church to create an undercover prostitute intervention operation.
There are plenty of faith-based groups that do excellent work trying to help persons who are trafficked in the sex industries. (Check out The Mary Magdalene Project and Sacred Beginnings as examples.) The premise of 8 Minutes is not that. Note that “prostitutes” are typically women who are being forced to sell themselves for money. They are being used and abused. To use them for television “entertainment” (especially “undercover”) is spurious.
Then there is the whole question of sharing the Gospel in a sound-bite time-frame. How can someone even begin to comprehend the story of salvation in 8 minutes? Forget about the relational aspect of Christianity; this show is just about “shock and awe Good News.”
This is no way to treat Scripture. This is no way to treat human beings. This is not entertainment.