The phenomenon of “Reality” TV has become such an influential part of modern life as shows like Survivor, Real Housewives, Big Brother, The Bachelor, etc., have inundated TV programming. These “real” life experiences portrayed on the screen often cause the viewers to think they are seeing the lives of the participants as they truly are, only later discovering how much what is shown on the program has nothing to do with reality. The programs are actually staged, rehearsed and edited to make the program more interesting or controversial to drive more viewers.
In real life, many people live their lives more like a reality TV program than we are inclined to believe, by projecting a staged performance for the world to see but really, it’s just a performance. It may lead us to admire people because thinking they have it all together, realizing later they have been successful in covering up deep flews and failures. Some live in large luxurious homes and drive expensive cars giving the appearance of success and wealth, but they are drowning in debt, on the verge of bankruptcy. Seemingly strong marriages “suddenly” dissolve in divorce. Appearances can be very deceiving and it’s wise not to “judge a book by its cover”.
Kerry and I were recently privileged to see behind the scenes of the reality TV world when our friend’s son, Christian Huff married the popular princess of the Duck Dynasty family, Sadie Robertson. After appearing on some of the episodes of this wildly popular reality program and coming in second place on Dancing with the Stars, Sadie has found herself with a significant platform from which she shares her Christian faith. Although she is only 22 years old, she has already developed a public speaker career evidenced by opportunities to speak at large Christian conferences and 314 thousand subscribers to her YouTube channel.
Christian and Sadie’s wedding took place the Monday before Thanksgiving at Sadie’s family home in West Monroe, Louisiana. Before a crowd of over 600 witnesses with the well-known pastor of the Passion Worship Movement, Lou Giglio presiding, they made their vows to each other. It was truly a surreal experience starting with the arrival of the members of the most famous bearded family in America. With no fear of man quite evident, Family patriarch Phil walked down the aisle just as he is dressed casually on his TV appearances complete with a bandana holding back his long hair. Willie Robertson wore his trademark American flag bandana but was dressed in a tuxedo as he walked Sadie to the altar created on the family’s tennis court.
The ceremony was classy and wonderfully Christ centered from beginning to end. With great authority and conviction, Phil started the ceremony with a scripture reading and a bold prayer for the marriage of his granddaughter and her groom. Sadie and Christian read their self-written vows to each other expressing their profound thankfulness towards God for His goodness and kindness in their lives. The Gospel was exhibited and tastefully preached simply through this young couple’s testimony. In a crowd so large, surely there were many who have never made a faith commitment and the atmosphere reminded them of a good and loving God who is ready to come into everyone’s life to provide meaning and purpose.
The Duck Dynasty program received much criticism during its long run on television due to its “red neck” display of southern culture and the overt expression of their Christian faith. Every episode ended with the entire family gathering around the dinner table thanking God and blessing their food. In a world where family values seem to be eroding at record pace, this display of a wholesome family spending joyful time together is too counter cultural for some in today’s world. It was truly refreshing to see that the Robertson family, is respected, involved and loved in their local community, being involved in the local hospital, providing employment for locals and running a children’s camp. In this case, reality TV is a true representation of the real lives of this dynastic family from Louisiana.
Phil and Si Robertson were some of the first to leave the lively reception held in a large temporary building behind Willie’s home. Duck season had just begun a few days earlier and they weren’t going to miss the first few days staying up late for a wedding!