Recap: Preachers of LA, ‘Acceptance’

The controversial clergymen are back.

After a record-breaking series debut on Oxygen, the show that generated deafening buzz among Christians and non-Christians alike, returned on Wednesday with a second episode that further explored prosperity gospel, “shacking up,” the stigma of an unmarried preacher and reaction to a transgender parishioner.

It was less gasp-worthy than the premiere, which regaled viewers with cars, mansions and other finery amassed by the stars.  But to be honest, it did fall into some familiar reality show territory: misunderstandings, hurt feelings, relationship drama and meddling.

Here are the five highlights of Preachers of LA,  including one lowlight.

1.  Love Shack

Prodigal gospel artist and preacher Deitrick Haddon continues to struggle with the relationship that essentially eclipsed his rise at the pulpit and beyond.  His beautiful fiancée Dominque and daughter (whom he fathered while in the midst of a divorce from his first wife) live with his future mother-in-law to shut down some of the scandal.  Haddon is clearly bothered by this, making note that his baby has to be re-introduced to him each time he comes over.

His seething about this subject comes to the forefront during a dinner with Bishop Ron and First Lady Lavette Gibson who aim to impart the wisdom of their 30-year marriage.  When Bishop Gibson asks him if he is “shacking,” Haddon explodes, as he did in the mancave last week while debating whether pastors can charge to visit other churches.  He demands to know where in the Bible it says you aren’t allowed to live with your girlfriend or fiancée.  Real talk, Gibson never quite answered the question before the respective First Ladies step in and add calming balm to an otherwise awkward dinner debate.

2.  Just a Friend

In other dubious relationship news, Bishop Noel Jones continues to enjoy his bachelorhood, despite the doubts of his family and followers.  After a seemingly sour 20-year marriage and subsequent divorce, Jones is not ready to settle down with his obvious paramour Loretta with whom he also co-owns  restaurant.  Their cringe-inducing discussions about where their “friendship” is going seem to be a major (and uncomfortable) storyline as she seems a bit more motivated to make it official than he is.  By the way: Jones also has been romantically connected to LisaRaye, which he discusses in a past interview HERE, and calls her another “friend.”  Yeah, I don’t know what he means by that either.

3.  Welcome Mat

Jay Haizlip, the skater preacher, is coming off the most likeable in the series so far in addition to Haddon, though we know how reality TV lifts them up to lay them down.  This week, he and his super supportive wife consider that a regular parishioner is transgender and has gone from April to “David.”  The couple shows amazing sensitivity and acceptance, and citing the openness of Jesus as the inspiration to ensure the welcome for David  is warm.  “It won’t be easy for me,” Haizlip says.  “But it’s not about what’s easy for me, it’s about what’s right in the eyes of God.”

4.  Mama Drama

I think I know who the breakout character might be, and it’s not one of Bishop Clarence McClendon’s precocious kids.  Haddon’s future mother-in-law, who warns him about not breaking her daughter’s heart or flipping on her once they get married, made for one of the funnier, and more memorable, moments of the show.  The fact that she checks him, and his smooth-talking, so effortlessly makes me want more, please.

5.  Caving In

And now for the lowlight.  I don’t know what Bishop McClendon was hoping for when he joined this cast, but he is definitely emerging as the villain..and that is saying something.  A conversation with Bishop Jones revealed still-simmering indignation about the events of last week’s premiere. That’s when McClendon and Haddon clashed about the former’s insistence he should be compensated for traveling to other churches with his entourage.  It didn’t help that, at the time of their discussion, he had just exited a car looking like Diddy pre-Jet dance. Here’s his somewhat unbelievable explanation for his entrance HERE. But anyway, what struck me was the pettiness.  If McClendon is a man of God, can’t he move beyond a disagreement with a younger man who serves as he does?  His dismissive, even haughty, attitude contrasted sharply with Haddon’s own attitude about the exchange.  Actually, Haddon told his fiancée he doesn’t hold grudges and would be willing to move past the drama if they met up again.

So, you tell us.  Are you still watching Preachers of LA?  Do you think, seeing the newest episode, it is better or worse?  And, by the way, where did Pastor Wayne Chaney and his family go this time around?  Did they get lost on the freeway somewhere?