Next Friday at 6 p.m. on “The Lyndia Grant Show,” my co-host Pat Cannady and I will be talking with “Greenleaf’s” Nana Malaya Rucker-Oparabea, as we discuss the many twists and turns of the new and exciting OWN Network soap opera.
I’m told by Nana that she has invited her handsome son, Lamman Rucker, to join us by phone from Los Angeles. Tune in at Spirit 1340 on Radio One.
Much like real life, “Greenleaf” reveals infidelity, substance abuse, sex out of wedlock, greed, resentment and vengeance. Even though this highly dramatic show reveals intimate details of the lives of an African-American church clan that presides over a high-powered megachurch in Memphis, it surely brings quite a dose of reality onto the world stage.
It also contains some thoughtful meditations on how toxic secrets can be, especially those involving how a sexual predator can ripple through families and communities, causing waves of destruction all along the way. “Greenleaf” has caused me to ponder about today’s church!
One website, Bible.org, put it this way: “God’s holiness is a dominant theme in the Bible. It means that He is totally apart from and opposed to all sin. In the Old Testament, God told His people Israel (Leviticus 19:2), ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.’ The New Testament repeats that command (1 Peteter 1:15-16). Peter refers to the church as a holy priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:5, 9).”
This sermon further says, “When God’s people sin, He will disassociate Himself from them and take them through severe discipline if they do not repent and deal with the sin in their midst.”
This is seen quite often in the Old Testament. For example in the New Testament, the messages to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 show how the Lord repeatedly warns that if they do not deal with their sins, He will set Himself against the church and even remove that church’s lampstand. God would rather have no testimony in a city than to have His name mingled with sin.
But back to the “Greenleaf” storyline, and a review by Reuters:
Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer of “Greenleaf,” and she also has a modest but effective recurring guest role as Mavis, a relative of the Greenleaf family who runs a nightclub on Beale Street.
Winfrey appears in the first three episodes, and no doubt her A-list profile will help create some buzz for the show. But more crucial to the potential long-term effectiveness of “Greenleaf” is the fine work of star Merle Dandridge, who plays prodigal daughter Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf.
Gigi returns to Memphis from Arizona after a death in the family, and is determined to stay as briefly as possible, given her troubled relationships with her powerful father, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and her iron-willed mother, Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield). However, there wouldn’t be a show if Gigi didn’t decide to stay, and the pilot could have done more to make her decision seem inevitable.
Still, Dandridge sells her character’s motivations with so much conviction that soap-hungry viewers should be willing to overlook the suddenness of Gigi’s change of heart, as well as the bumpier aspects of the show’s first few installments.
One minute you see Gigi helping the community, next you see her in bed with her ex-lover, who, by the way is engaged, and supposedly soon to be married in a few days. Then later, you see Gigi preaching a powerful sermon from the church pulpit!
Much is expected of members of the Greenleaf clan, but the bishop and his regal wife are compensated very well for their hard work. (They have a private jet at their disposal, though Lady Mae frets that it’s out of date and needs to be upgraded.)
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB (1340 AM), Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.