pop circumstane impaceAfter a few weeks off, Pop & Circumstance is back! (Did you miss us?) As you probably suspected, we’ve got plenty to talk about, including the return of BeBe and CeCe, Mary Mary’s questionable new pursuits, and a new book that will rock your world. But first, let’s check in with our favorite born-again sister from The View.

Sherri Shepherd: This Is Your Life

Okay, we like Elisabeth too, but this one’s about the other born-again sister. Sherri Shepherd knows the earth is round — let’s make that clear from the start. But after successfully launching her own television show, releasing her new book, Permission Slips, and promoting her role in the critically acclaimed film Precious, the world must feel pretty flat beneath the starlet who’s solidly standing on top of it.

A couple weeks ago, Shepherd debuted Sherri, her new autobiographical sitcom on Lifetime. In its first week the show brought in strong ratings by featuring new episodes each night, eventually settling into its regular Tuesday-night slot. Based on Shepherd’s real experiences, the show takes a comedic look at how the actress/paralegal rebounds from a cheating husband (played by Malcolm Jamal Warner) who impregnated the other woman.

When UrbanFaith spoke with Shepherd, she told us Sherri was about “showing other women how you get past hurt.” And just as she has learned to move past her real-life ex-husband’s infidelity and live a vibrant life with her 4-year-old son after the divorce, on the show Sherri doesn’t dwell on the pain. Upcoming plotlines revolve around learning to live as a newly single woman, dating after divorce and doing activities alone that used to be family rituals. And while keeping a glass-half-full attitude has helped the comedian work through her personal pain, Shepherd does plan to integrate the real-life Christian faith that ultimately helped her get through her divorce into the show. In the pilot episode, the scorned woman prayed with her girlfriends to keep from killing her husband.

The next episode airs on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on the Lifetime network. Check it out and let us know what you think of the show.

Mary Mary Take Beyonce’s and J Lo’s Leads

I’m officially putting Mary Mary on notice — yeah, I said it. After hearing that the gospel duo have plans to release a new book, clothing line, and collection of bath and beauty products in 2010 all under the umbrella of “BeU,” I’m worried the “God in Me” singers may be following a little too closely in the footsteps of some of our contemporary pop divas. Now there’s nothing wrong with being smart businesswomen, capitalizing on current success, and expanding the positive gospel portfolio the ladies already have under their belt. I just question whether BeU, which as the ladies described to Essence magazine is based on the principle of “be honest, be intentional, be strong, be beautiful,” even needs to exist.

Perhaps instead of adding one more beauty line to the mix that draws attention to the external, why don’t these incredible women of faith continue to point inward by promoting their strong character? I’d love to see them take some of the shine off of looking good and sounding hip, as most of their recent appearances have been. They’ve already received flak for the dance hit “God in Me” that gained airplay in dance clubs around the country and was accompanied by a music video featuring rapper Kanye West, video vixen Amber Rose, and Farnsworth Bentley. What do you think? Am I being too hard on our gospel gals?

Oprah’s New Favorite Song

It’s been 15 years since BeBe and CeCe Winans have released an album together. But with those unmistakable voices that have provided the soundtrack to the spiritual journey of many Christians for the past couple decades through solo albums and side projects, it feels like our favorite gospel siblings never left. Now back together with a new album, Still, the harmonious duo is already dominating the Billboard Gospel Music Charts, coming in at No. 1 for their new single, “Close To You.”

If you haven’t heard the new album yet, don’t worry — you’ll be hearing the music everywhere soon. Yesterday, the brother-sister duo appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to sing the talk-show host’s “new favorite song.” And you know what happens to something when it’s Oprah’s “favorite.” The siblings also dropped in at the Gospel Music Channel for a new concert special, BeBe & CeCe: Revealed.

Exposing Our Counterfeit Gods

Family, because I love you and want you to stay ahead of the curve, I suggest you brush up on your Old Testament knowledge with a quickness. After New York City pastor Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters hit shelves this past week, I’m fairly confident that in a few years everyone’s going to be talking about idols and the Ten Commandments the way “emergent” crept into every Christian conversation after Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz book made its way through our culture. New York Magazine has called Keller a “Manhattan institution, one of those open urban secrets, like your favorite dim sum place,” and as the founding pastor of 6,000-plus-member Redeemer Presbyterian Church, they may be right. His previous book, The Reason for God, has been praised by theologians for its clear analysis of the arguments against God’s existence and his description of the work of Christ.

I got a sneak peek of Counterfeit Gods a few weeks ago and ever since I started reading Keller’s commentary on idols, my train rides to work have been riddled with tears and self-analysis as I’ve contemplated the false gods I’ve allowed to slip into my life unnoticed. Have any of you picked up the book yet? If so, let us know what you think!

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