Tag Archives: Megachurch

Greenleaf: S1 E13 – What Are You Doing Here? Review

Sophia, Grace, and Kevin find themselves contemplating the future in their separate scenes. Sophia takes in the picturesque scene looking at the mansion from afar.  Grace sits on her bed in deep thought.  Kevin considers Charity’s conversation with Carlton and Wanda as she explains her trauma away as he ease drops. Charity and Kevin try to navigate through their marriage in lieu of what Kevin revealed.  Charity has concluded that Kevin cannot explain it away and has to face his true identity.   Disregarding doctor’s orders, Charity performs her solo in church.  Later, she asks Kevin to give her space and time for the sake of the twins.

Bishop Greenleaf visits Robert in jail. Robert is requesting that Bishop Greenleaf acts as a character witness in his upcoming sentencing hearing. Robert warns Bishop Greenleaf that with his incarceration and assets frozen Henry McCready will not keep quiet for long.  Bishop Greenleaf refuses to mock the memory of Faith by making Robert shine and damns him to hell.  When Robert is unable to get Bishop Greenleaf to comply and Danielle Turner still expecting to testify, Robert’s lawyer makes a suggestion to make a deal with the District Attorney.

Grace discusses her options with Michael Carpenter.  She tries to determine if she returns to Phoenix with Sophia would that help or hurt her chances to bring Sophia back to Memphis. She is interrupted by Noah who informs her that Henry McCready is in the church conference room.  Henry McCready tells Grace that she must assume the responsibilities of taking care of him now that Robert is incarcerated. Grace learns that Henry is terminally ill and needs hospice care.  Grace works with Kevin to ensure Henry is placed in a convalescent home and is comfortable.

Grace returns to Mavis’ Beale Street Blues Bar notifying Mavis that the McCready patriarch is dying.  Mavis realizes that is why she has been receiving calls from him. Mavis inquired about how Grace learned Henry’s illness. Grace explained that Henry came by the church.  Mavis asked Grace if this meant that she was remaining in Memphis and Grace responded, “Yes.” Grace endeavors to reassure Mavis that she will be fine.  Sadden by Grace’s decision to stay, Mavis recounts a time when Bishop Greenleaf was simply James Greenleaf.  Mavis expresses her sorrow for leading Grace down this path that leads her back to the pulpit.  Grace tries to get Mavis to visit with Henry McCready, but Mavis declines.

Henry expresses his dying wish to see both of his girls. Grace responds honestly that it probably was not going to happen.  Henry reveals that no one truly cared for him.  What appeared to be Robert’s benevolence towards his father was actually Robert’s buying Henry’s silence. Grace presses her grandfather to divulge what he knows.  Henry gives an account about the fire at the First Baptist Church with the caretaker in the basement was not an accident.  This implies that Bishop Greenleaf was potentially involved in an arson and possibly a murder.  Robert used this information to blackmail Bishop Greenleaf.

Pastor Basie Skanks has plans to build a $40 million Christian Community Center directly across from Calvary Fellowship World Ministries. This is the same property that Bishop Greenleaf had a prior interest in purchasing for a pool and community center. Pastor Skanks uses “God’s will” argument with Jacob to persuade him to run the facility. As Kerissa weighs in on the opportunity, she tries to identify a place for herself in this Christian Community Center.  Kerissa asks Jacob to make and inquiry to see if Pastor Skanks would be interested in having a school a part of the Christian Community Center. Jacob leery of Kerissa’s intentions asks if she was concerned about Alexa. Kerissa response that she thinks it would be fun for them to work together.  Apprehensive about how this may impact his father and Calvary, Jacob has a conversation with his father about it.  A unconcerned Bishop Greenleaf, tells Jacob to following Pastor Skanks plans and be his eyes and ears.

Lady Mae presents her sermon on the “Virtuous Women” at the Annual Women’s Day Conference.  Her sermon was designed to buy the acceptance and support of the women in Calvary to be the interim pastor.  Instead, as she is preaching about the strength of the “Virtuous Women” the crowd begins to cheer Grace and not her. She attempts to look supportive by joining the others in clapping for Grace.  Isabel does attend the conference. After the conference, Isabel is greeted by Noah with flowers in his hands.  She informs him that she has a hotel room and they go to get re-acquainted.

Lady Mae urges Bishop Greenleaf to speak with Grace after how the conference attendees responded to Grace receiving her as the “Virtuous Woman” that will deliver Calvary.  As Grace quibbles about remaining in Memphis or moving back to Phoenix to be close to Sophia, Bishop Greenleaf informs Grace that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  He attempts to reassure Grace telling her not to worry as his treatment plan is effective. He acknowledges the inevitability of having to retire from the pulpit making his plea for Grace to carry the torch.  Grace appeals to her father about having Jacob return.  Bishop Greenleaf refuses stating that Jacob has to find his own way and it is about her. Bishop Greenleaf believes that if Grace returns to her post that the war between her and her mother will end.  Grace decides to stay to honor her father’s request.

Grace ascends the pulpit once again.  The church is relatively full compared to previous services.  Before she begins to preach, Grace is very openly and honestly addresses the sexual molestation scandal to the dismay of her parents.  She initiates a moment of silence for Robert’s victims including Faith and for those who know about abuse but refuse to speak out.  Lady Mae reached across to Bishop Greenleaf for comfort as the congregation reacts to hearing that Faith was a victim. Grace continues by encouraging people to break their silence when others are suffering. Grace emotionally admits that there is nothing that anyone can say to explain, honor, or grieve it adequately but God. After the moment of silence, Grace asked the congregation are they ready for a new thing. They respond by cheering and clapping.

Lady Mae enters the Beale Street Blues Bar to confront Mavis about her role in her ruin. A heated exchange between the sisters ensues.  Lady Mae blames Mavis and Grace for executing their righteous indignation upon the Greenleaf household.  Mavis refusing to be Lady Mae’s scapegoat fires backs at Lady Mae regarding her refusal to accept accountability, her failure to protect Faith, and her unwillingness to see Robert as a sexual predator.  Mavis orders Lady Mae out of the bar instructing her only to come back when she is willing to face the truth.  Lady Mae leaves.

Ray returns for Sophia and the family says their goodbyes.  The other family members had filed back into the mansion except for Grace.  Grace spots an unmarked car and a police car approaching the mansion.  Robert exits out of the unmarked car and begins his ascension to the mansion doors.  Grace looks directly at Robert and asks, “What are you doing here?” Robert glares at her with a smirk on his face and continues to climb the stairs.  Lady Mae meets Robert at the top of the stairs attempting to block entry.  Robert kisses her on the cheek and nudged her to the side as he enters the mansion with the police.

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Greenleaf: S1 E10 – “March to the Sea” Synopsis

A SECOND SHOOTING AT CALVARY
There is another shooting at Calvary. This time, it is inside the church. Bishop shots Creepy McCready. When Grace goes to call the police, Bishop makes several pleas for her to wait before doing so. Bishop believes that the matter could be handled without involving the police and Robert agreed. The bullet went straight through Creepy McCready’s shoulder. Grace stated that she waited for 20 years and called the police. This move causes Grace to lose her father as an ally. Bishop is carried away in handcuffs but later released. Robert was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Lady Mae pays Robert a short visit in the hospital. She attempts to forgive what she deems as unforgivable telling Robert that she hates him for all he has done and the pain he has caused for so many especially for Faith. Robert vows not to drag things out in court and he is meeting with his lawyer to discuss entering a plea with the least amount of time.

CHARITY’S RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION
Noah neglected to notify one couple about the wedding being cancelled. Charity and Kevin attempt to entertain as they wait for the ceremony to begin. When the guest are notified by text message that the wedding has been cancelled, Charity realizes that they were not the only ones in the dark. This leads to Charity confronting the family at the dinner table holding all accountable especially her mother, Lady Mae. Later, when Kevin applauds Charity’s stand against her family, Charity give him an ultimatum including the repercussions for his actions.

ZORA IS PLAIN OLE DISRESPECTFUL
When Jacob tries to reach out to Zora, she rudely dismisses him informing him to knock before entering her bedroom. However, things between Kerissa and Jacob have improved significantly.

SOPHIA IS ANGRY WITH GRACE
Disturbed that her mother did not tell her about the plan to take down Creepy McCready, Sophia calls her father Ray. Ray comes to Memphis seeking to take Sophia back to Memphis. Despite her anger, Sophia is happy at Memphis and is gaining something out of frequent church attendance. However, Ray argues with Grace about placing Sophia at risk and Grace’s poor judgment in moving back to Memphis.

ISABEL CONTEMPLATES SHOULD SHE STAY OR SHOULD SHE GO
Isabel ended her engagement to Noah after learning that he and Gigi slept together. She has packed up her things with her mother’s help and left Noah’s quarters. She returns to speak with Noah about their relationship. She has decided to stay with her mother during spring vacation and has requested that Noah does not attempt to contact her at all. After this time, if Noah can show her that he is a stand-up guy realizing the error of his way that may be able to mend their relationship.

MOLISE SPEAKS SO LOUDLY IN SILENCE.
Dave Wallace, a reporter for the Memphis Daily News, calls the Greenleaf mansion to confirm the second shooting. Molise answers and Dave says that she doesn’t have to speak but stays on the phone affirming his facts are correct. Later, Wallace reaches Lady Mae at Calvary seeking a statement from her indicating that he has confirmation from an independent source at the Greenleaf Mansion.

That is it for this week’s episode.  There are only three more episodes left in this season.

Greenleaf: S1 E9 – “The Broken Road” Synopsis

“The Broken Road” serves as the title of this episode and is the title of the duet between Charity and Carlton. In my opinion, this episode should be named “the ugly truth”.  In this episode, the ugly truth is revealed.  Uprooted as if buried in a deep abyss, each member of the Greenleaf family must face it. There are no more excuses or lies that can act as an alibi.

The fatal shooting of David Nelson causes security concerns for parishioners and church leadership.  Church leadership is left to answer the question of whether to bear arms or not to bear arms on church property.  Unable to come to a consensus, Noah provides an alternative that is well received – a church security seminar.

Out of respect for David Nelson’s memorial services Grace has delayed her plan to expose Robert to her family and authorities.  Noah seeks to obtain Grace’s timeline to drop her bombshell so that he can prepare Isabel.  Grace offers to delay her timeline again out of respect for Noah’s nuptials.  However, she quickly learns that she is not able to honor her promise.

Isabel apologizes to Grace for being unfriendly and insecure.  After leaving Grace’s office, Isabel returns to Noah’s office and asks him if he slept with Grace.  When Noah fails to answer the question Isabel calls to the wedding off.  Noah confronts Grace about Isabel’s questioning and Grace professes her innocence.

Charity suspects that Kevin is having an affair with another woman.  He is rarely home proclaiming to be at the gym or taking a run.  When he is at home he is glued to his phone.  While performing a duet with Carlton, Charity breakdown into tears.  Carlton offers her comfort as Charity shares her suspicions.

Later, Charity is attempting to talk with Kevin but he is focused on his phone.  A frustrated Charity confronts Kevin and demands to see what is on his phone.  Kevin professes his love for Charity and the marriage then flips the script making a quick exit.

Robert is about to go on a two-week fishing expedition in Cuba. This forces Grace to take action and she presents the evidence against Robert to her father. Bishop Greenleaf agrees with Grace’s plan to have Robert postpone his vacation and wait until after Noah’s wedding to expose Robert.  Knowing that Robert needs to confess to both the assaults and payoffs Bishop Greenleaf explains to Grace that Lady Mae’s involvement is necessary.

Lady Mae is not convinced by the evidence presented before her and confronts Robert with the allegations. Robert adamantly denies the allegations and takes on the role of a victim. Lady Mae pretends to side with her brother but she is faced with the reality that he is a predator. Bishop Greenleaf speeds up the timeline of justice by going into Robert’s office and pulling a gun on him.

Greenleaf: S1 E2 – “The Baptism” Synopsis

Her initial plans for a two-day visit to pay her respects to her sister, Faith (Terri Abney) have evolved into remaining in Memphis permanently.  Grace is giving up her life in Phoenix, Arizona and an extraordinary opportunity with 20/20 to return to Memphis.  What is motivating Grace (Merle Dandridge) to remain in Memphis, Tennessee?  Is she driven to investigate the mysterious death of her sister, Faith?  Is she acknowledging a second chance in taking down a sexual predator?  Is it about reconnecting with her roots, faith, and family?  Grace’s decision to stay is under scrutiny by some of her family members, namely Kerissa Greenleaf (Kimberly Hawthorne, Sophia Greenleaf (Desiree Ross), and Robert “Mac” McCready (GregAlan Williams).

Grace’s sister-in-law, Kerissa, believes that Grace is a threat to her husband, Jacob Greenleaf (Lamman Rucker), ascendancy as the next overseer of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries.  Kerissa endeavors to discredit the “Prodigal Daughter” to ensure Jacob is the next bishop.  On the other hand, Jacob is preoccupied by his extramarital affair with Alexa Campbell (Kristen Erickson). Grace’s daughter, Sophia, is experiencing problems adjusting to her new surroundings and new school is surrendering to peer pressures greatly encouraged by her Ritalin sniffing cousin Zora Greenleaf (Lovie Simone).  Grace’s uncle, Robert, probably has the most concern about Grace’s return.  Over 20 years ago, Faith confided in Grace that she was sexually abused at the hand of Robert repetitively over several years. Grace supported her sister and informed her parents.  When confronted by her parents, Faith recanted the story. Is Grace prepared to prove Robert is a sexual predator?

Grace secretly begins her investigation into her Uncle Mac’s (GregAlan Williams) activities. Grace’s aunt, Mavis McCready (Oprah Winfrey) provides Grace with her starting point – a police report from a teenage girl named Danielle Turner (Carlacia Grant) accusing Robert McCready of sexually molesting her.  However, Danielle recanted her story three days later.  Grace’s attempt to speak with Danielle are stopped by Janice Turner, Danielle’s mother, who insists that nothing happened to her daughter sending Grace away.  Janice immediately notifies Robert McCready of Grace’s visit.  Meanwhile, Grace solicits advice from Noah Kendall (Benjamin Patterson), the Greenleaf Estate Manager and Grace’s former love interest.

Grace (Merle Dandridge) is also trying to get acclimated to her new role as Response Pastor. (The Response Pastor is responsible for responding to the needs of parishioners and directing them to appropriate services.)  Grace’s first official duty as Response Pastor is to meet with Betty Wilcox, a member of the Bishop’s Round Table.  (To be a member of the Bishop’s Round Table a person gives $10,000 or more over their tithe.  Bishop Greenleaf encourages Grace to be “nice” to Ms. Wilcox) Ms. Wilcox is requesting the immediate baptism of her grandchild without her grandchild’s parents being present.  Grace responds to voicemail from David Nelson (Deji LaRay), a church member who is a police officer accused of killing an unarmed African-American teenage boy.

Bishop Greenleaf has both internal and external pressures building.  Bob Banks, Tennessee Senator, has requested that Bishop Greenleaf voluntarily releases the financial records of the church.  The Senate is launching an inquiry on Calvary Fellowship World Ministries and other large religious institutions to determine whether these entities are taking an unfair advantage of their tax-exempt status bilking the government out of billions of dollars.  Bishop Greenleaf continues to stonewall this request.  Bishop Greenleaf shifts pastoral roles giving Grace Jacob’s old position and placing Jacob over the Deacon Board.  However, Deacon Connie Sykes (Jan Harper) and the rest of the Deacon Board wants Bishop Greenleaf to address and answer their concerns directly.

Grace’s youngest sister, Charity Greenleaf – Satterlee (Deborah Joy Winans), is excited about starting a family with her husband, Kevin Satterlee (Tye White).  Kevin invites a homeless outreach group to use the church facilities and supplies a few days a week.  It would appear that Kevin has other motives when interacting with the handsome homeless outreach coordinator.

This episode leaves us to ponder the following:

How will Robert take care of it?

Does Kevin want to start a family for the right reasons or to hide his same-sex attraction?

How far will Sophia go to fit in with her peers?

Is Grace using her investigation to rekindle her relationship with Noah?

Stay Tuned. #OWN #Greenleaf #SatanYourNotGoingtoWin

Greenleaf: S1 E1 – “A Time to Heal” Synopsis

Warning:      This review contains spoilers. 

Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf  (Merle Dandridge) was once a prominent preacher who vacated her calling to pursue a career in journalism.  The untimely and mysterious death of her sister, Faith Greenleaf  (Terry Abney), ushers her return to the Greenleaf mansion after 20 years for a two-day visit. Accompanied by her teenage daughter, Sophia Greenleaf (Desiree Ross), Grace travels to the Greenleaf mansion for the private funeral service for Faith.

Warmly received by her father, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David), as the “Prodigal Daughter,” it is evident that she is still considered the “Black Sheep” of the family by her other family members.  Bishop Greenleaf makes several blatant attempts to convince Grace to stay in Memphis as a member of his ministerial staff.  Each attempt that he makes fuels long-standing tensions and sibling rivalries.

Grace reconnects with the “Other Black Sheep” of the Greenleaf family, her aunt, Mavis McCready (Oprah Winfrey).  Mavis and Grace are natural allies because they are both outsiders. Their trip down memory lane leads to a conversation to Robert “Mac” McCready (GregAlan Williams), Mavis’s brother. Over 20 years ago, Faith confided in Grace that their Uncle Mac had been sexually abusing her for several years, but later recanted her story.  Mavis informs Grace of the most recent reports indicating that Uncle Mac may still be molesting underage girls.  Mavis gives Grace a mission to right wrongs and stops Robert before someone else is harmed.

The next day, Grace attends Sunday Worship Service with the family.  During the altar call, Grace has a “Come to Jesus” moment and meets her father at the altar much to his delight.  Later, Grace calls Mavis and promises her that she will not leave like she did before.

This episode gives us insight into the Greenleaf dysfunctional family dynamic.  It explores the vulnerabilities and ambitions of each member of the family.  Questions to ponder as the series moves further:

  1. Did Grace decide to stay to investigate the murder of her sister, identify a way to stop her uncle, and/or she truly felt the touch of God return to her post?
  1. Does Mavis have a hidden agenda and is manipulating Grace to accomplish her mission?
  1. Did Faith actually commit suicide or was it a murder made to look like a suicide?
  1. Is Robert connected to Faith’s death?
  1. What caused the long-standing tensions between siblings?
  1. How will Bishop Greenleaf resolve both his internal and external pressures?

I am definitely intrigued.  Stay tuned!

#OWN #Greenleaf #SatanWeGonnaTearYourKingdomDown

Greenleaf: OWN’s Megachurch Drama Series Initial Review

Greenleaf is a new American drama appearing on the OWN network.  During its premiere with over 3.04 million viewers watching, Greenleaf made history ranking No. 1 for the most viewership during a series debut on the network. The notable acting performances of Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield, and Keith David have received high praises.   Craig Wright created the series.  Oprah Winfrey, Clement Virgo, and Lionsgate Television are the executive producers.  Clement Virgo also serves as one of the directors and Oprah Winfrey portrays a reoccurring cast member, Mavis McGready.

What is it about Greenleaf that attracts so many viewers?  It is a perfect combination of marketing, the cast of renowned actors, an awesome soundtrack, and a plot that is both suspenseful and dramatic.  Greenleaf opens the door allowing viewers to peer into the lives of the affluential and powerful African-American dynasty of the Greenleaf family and its extensive megachurch predominantly serving African-American members in Memphis, Tennessee.

As we step through the doors to get a better view, we can see the cracks in the façade of the highly favored servants of God, namely the Greenleaf family.  The corruption, debauchery, and the entanglements into webs of deception are oozing through the cracks.  Blood and DNA are not the ties that bind this family. Nor is it their religious beliefs or doctrines.  It is their individual and collective secrets that they try to conceal.

The Greenleaf family built their dynasty upon a foundation of selfishness using the form of godliness as walls with their pride as a rooftop.  The Greenleaf dynasty is nothing more than a den of iniquity. The Greenleaf theme song entitled, “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down,” performed by Pastor Shirley Caesar acts as a precursor to the imminent destruction of the Greenleaf dynasty.

In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham makes his petition known to God by interceding on behave of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham kept pressing God while questioning God’s justice and mercy for the righteous amongst the wicked. The writers have provocatively put the viewing audience in Abraham’s shoes making us ponder whether there is one righteous amongst the Greenleaf family. Will any of the members of the Greenleaf family turn from their wicked ways, repent, and ask for God’s forgiveness? Stay tuned as the story unfolds on OWN.