"The Book Of John Gray" Champions Pages of Imperfections
“For all sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” You don’t need to be a devout Christian for that scripture to have stuck out to you. The idea that “nobody’s perfect” has firmly taken root in our collective consciousness with new examples arriving daily to remind us that no matter how high or low someone sits they’re never too far away from a fall.
Describing themselves as “natural people serving a supernatural God” Pastor John Gray and his wife Aventer have opted to embrace falling short on center stage in the hopes of inspiring others. The two, along with their children and congregation, star in a docu-series on OWN chronicling their lives in and out of the church called “The Book of John Gray.”
They are aware that with the attention of reality television comes judgment but they see it as more of an opportunity than a burden. At a New York screening for the second season of their show Aventer asserted that “perfection is hard to attain."
She sees her and her husband’s imperfections as proof of their humanity and an avenue to connect with the people that they attempt to help stating “that is not what people are attracted to people are attracted to brokenness.” She made it clear that “pastor’s wife and all” sometimes she falls she’s not always fully prepared for what she encounters “a lot of times I don’t know what I’m gonna say to people but I will open my mouth and the Lord will speak through me.”
One of those people is reality TV star and "Bonnet Chronicles" founder Tami Roman who appears on the show this season ready to tackle the root of her anger in order to accomplish her professional and philanthropic goals. Aventer expressed confidence that her friend would be able to overcome the days of being dubbed a troublemaker saying “You aren’t discredited and disqualified from your purpose because you had a moment.”
On screen John told Tami that people, (most notably her ‘Basketball Wives’ cast mates), identify her triggers and then attack them.
Acknowledging that “there are some things that you can’t asked to be delivered from because those things are in your life to mature you and to develop you and to grow you ”Aventer said that her strategy for working through triggers is to “find a way to bless em” and “tell them something they don’t expect to hear from you.” She said that “sometimes you think you’re ver a thing until you’re met with it again and added that the most important thing to do when working on yourself is “be honest with yourself about where you are.”
Her husband has been honest with himself and the public about the root of his health struggles . At the screening he revealed to the room that it even caused a slight riff in his marriage with Aventer telling him point blank that “you don’t love me because you keep choosing food over me and these kids.”
A diabetic, whose father passed away from complications from the disease just blocks away from where the screening was taking place, he was very frank about the need for “church folk” to get real about diabetes. As he gestured towards the direction of the veterans memorial hospital on East 23rd and 1st street where his father took his last breath he said that “We wanna pray things away but God’s not healing diabetes. He’s giving you discipline so you can heal yourself. God’s not healing what we can control.”
Today, after being admitted to the hospital with pre-coma hemoglobin levels and adopting a “very aggressive” regimen, John is off of insulin. His wife joked that “he can have a coke tonight because we’re celebrating but tomorrow it’s back to water.”
John says he deals with negative comments about his weight, family, and everything else his by simply not reading them because “number one I don’t have time and more importantly I don’t care.”
This level of composure can be seen in the premier episode of the show’s second season where he immediately dismissing criticism that his home church turned away displaced Houston residents in the wake of Hurricane Harvey by making it clear that if he thought for a second that was possible he wouldn’t be there.
Aventer admitted that she was still working on being able to brush off comments. “My husband has tried to help me not be moved but it is hurtful.” She said “I like social media I think it’s a wonderful tool but at the same time it can get you off of your intended purpose so I’m doing better with it I’m just being real honest.”
John says he’s comfortable with the level of access he’s given others to their lives because “what Aventer and I were determined to do is show every page in the book, the good and the bad, to show the flaws to show the scars because real life is where miracles happen.” After graciously welcoming their friends including "Power"star Rotimi his wife echoed his confidence saying that while they do their best to serve the people in their care “each episode doesn’t wrap up in a pretty bow we give them what we have.”
Interested in seeing what these two have for yourself? Check out the season 2 premiere of “The Book of John Gray” tonight on OWN at 10pm.
Photo Credit: Bernard Smalls