The Sisterhood is an unscripted television series that follows the journey of five young women as they decide whether or not to become nuns. Lifetime will produce six hour-long episodes which profile the women as they consider their decision. For the first time, cameras will be granted access inside a Catholic convent. Viewers will watch as the five women consider vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Lifetime has already produced the series Preachers’ Daughters, while Oxygen is spinning off Preachers of LA to other cities. OWN will produce The Jesus Code. As we noted yesterday, biblically-themed content is clearly on the rise after the success of History’s The Bible.
Successful television and movie producers make a lucrative living by making media we will consume. I’m always interested in what their production choices say about us. Why do they think we will watch a Catholic convent reality series?
Part of the draw may be the mystery. I’ve been inside several monasteries, but have never been inside a convent and don’t know any non-nuns who have. It would be fascinating to see how those who live in a convent spend their days.
I’m sure there’s a human interest angle here as well. The director will want us to become attached to at least one of the five women. Like all reality shows, we are intended to live vicariously through the participants and their experiences.
But I think something more transcendent is also at work. Those who live at a deeper plane of spiritual focus and ascetic discipline fascinate the rest of us. There’s something in their commitment that speaks to us on a visceral level. They evoke an unspoken sense that our world of possessions, performance and popularity is shallow. We were made for more than what we can produce and own. God intends us for himself, and cannot allow us to be satisfied with anything less than a surrendered, intimate relationship with him.
As philosopher Francis Schaeffer noted, God “is there and he is not silent.” Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). As Jesus’ sheep, we can “know his voice” (John 10:4). God’s people “shall be taught by the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13). But as with any teacher, we must listen before we can learn.
The “desert fathers” were medieval monks who chose to live in solitude. Someone asked one of them why he made such a drastic choice. He poured water and some sand into a jar, then shook it. The water became clouded and murky. As he allowed the jar to rest, the sand settled to the bottom and the water became clear again.
How clear is your soul today?