Christian Reality TV Arrives on Cable

"I decided to step away from that and created some positive material with the same kind of quality and the same attractiveness as the MTV shows," he said. "And [I] try to put a positive message onto that."

A Way to Evangelize?

"The Uprising" and "Revolve" aren't meant, however, for entertainment only. Both are spreading the word about Christianity.

Charles Humbar, founder and CEO of the Gospel Music Channel, said it can be considered evangelizing.

"I think telling teenagers that there is hope and God loves them -- and if you call that evangelizing, absolutely," he explained. "I think I would question how much 'reality' reality TV is. There may be places that look like that. I'm sure there are. But I think in America and around the world, that you know people want to be better, people want to live good lives, people want to do good things with each other. And I think having a show on there that they can relate to that maybe provides them a different way to view things and be true reality television versus scripted, in the ways some of the shows you're talking about [are]. And I think that's really good.

The new generation of Christian reality shows relies heavily on the conventions of regular reality TV: the confessional interviews, dramatic music and cliffhanging story lines: Will Quinn accept Jesus? Will the surprise party that Courtney is planning for Jenna end up in disaster?

Christian author, professor and screenwriter Craig Detweiler said Christians shouldn't just imitating popular culture. They should lead.

"If you are truly connected to the creator of the universe you should be the most creative and risk-taking people on the planet," he said. "You would be coming up with new ideas and new visions all the time. That's our heritage and hopefully we'll get back to it.

"For hundreds of years, Christians were the patrons of the arts," he added. "You have the renaissance that resulted. ... You had Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci paid by the church to make masterpieces. And now we we're reduced to pale imitation of the worst elements of pop culture. I rather have us lead a renaissance in the arts instead of imitate those who have gone before us."

"The Uprising" cast member Haizlip said, however, that it's necessary to use any tool possible to spread God's word.

Quinn, the young man Haizlip and others tried to convert during the show, seemed to have heard the message. By the end of the show he'd agreed to pray with the skateboarding trio.

And as for Jenna's birthday surprise: Her boyfriend shows up ... and it's a big hit.

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