NEW YORK — “The Dr. Oz Show” has teamed up with Hollywood producer and author DeVon Franklin, and a few of his friends, for special “Faithful Fridays” segments to inspire viewers to put their faith into practice in all areas of their lives.
“His platform has always been very faith-friendly and from the beginning of the show, he’s always explored themes of faith. So this endeavor that we’re doing is really to take it to the next level and really begin to have a more intimate, more consistent conversation about the role that spiritual health plays in our lives,” Franklin said of his partnership with Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Dr. Oz, a professor of surgery at Columbia University in NYC who still practices medicine, said faith has always been a part of his life and how he seeks answers for questions science cannot answer.
He said he was “blessed to be friends with people who have talents and skill-sets that I don’t have.”
Joining Franklin and Oz for the February-only “Faithful Friday” segments are: best-selling author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said to represent millions of evangelicals; and Carl Lentz, pastor of the popular Hillsong NYC church and pal of celebrities like singer Justin Bieber and the NBA’s Kevin Durant.
Franklin, an ordained Seventh-day Adventist preacher, described his evangelical friends as “the voices of the future” of Christianity.
“They are the voices that are shaping the faith of this generation and I’m just so blessed that they would join us as we kick off ‘Faithful Friday,’” he told reporters during a meet and greet the week before the new segment premiered.
“The Dr. Oz Show,” currently in its eighth season, presents experts from various professions offering advice on how viewers can “be their best selves” in body, mind and spirit.
The “Faithful Fridays” segments feature Franklin, Shirer, Rodriguez and Lentz offering their perspectives and advice to guests facing various challenges, such as trouble finding a mate, dealing with betrayal or navigating a new job.
The faith-minded foursome use a combination of experience, common sense and principles reflected in the Bible to help guests grasp the bigger picture of their circumstances.
Shirer explained that “all three of us are going to have the opportunity to speak into different subjects and on different topics, from forgiveness to helping people balance their lives and figure out how they can implement a practical plan.”
“I think (that) is the overarching purpose of the entire show,” she added, “a practical plan for 30 days of what can I do, strategically do to be intentional about bringing balance and health to my interior life, which I think is a critical principle that we need to all be focused on.”
The “practical plan for 30 days” is a reference to the “Blessed 30 Challenge: 30 Days Of Healthy And Blessed Living,” introduced in the first “Faithful Friday” segment airing Feb. 3.
The Rev. Rodriguez characterized the “Faithful Fridays” mission as a means of “spiritual detoxing.”
“Detoxing is, like, the metanarrative of Dr. Oz’s show,” he said. “But if you look at the spiritual detoxing element, the environment, the atmospheres, the things that we tolerate in life, [be it] hatred, animosity, unforgiveness and how we can deal with these things in a way that enable us to thrive.”
As for Lentz, he suggested that “our culture is in desperate need and has a desperate desire to hear stuff that matters and I think the backlash to some of the bad TV are shows like this.”
“I think it’s a huge credit to Dr. Oz to even open up a forum to people who think differently, who believe differently,” Lentz added. “But people want change. And if there’s ever a time to have shows like this, I think it’s now.”
Although the group’s approach on “Faithful Fridays” is less preaching and more practical advice with an emphasis on commonalities of the human experience, Shirer also sees their work with Dr. Oz and Franklin as an opportunity to represent her Christian faith.
Lentz agreed, emphasizing that he was “not really interested in faith.”
“I’m interested in faith in,” the Hillsong pastor explained. “So our country’s hijacked the word faith. Like, faith in faith is futile. Our faith is in Jesus, and because of that hope our lives are changing.”
Franklin, producer of the films “Miracles From Heaving” and “Heaven Is For Real,” stated that he hopes the “Faithful Fridays” segments will motivate viewers to take action.
“How do I get control of my life? How do I get control of my faith? And how do I begin to realize that God has a plan? I need to make sure I’m participating in it,” he said.
Dr. Oz, who said he occasionally attends church on Sundays and has become intentional about practicing a sabbath, or day of rest, explained that the idea for “Faithful Fridays” started to emerge after Franklin’s prior appearances to discuss spirituality on his award-winning daytime show.
“Faith and spirituality don’t just live in a Sunday-sized compartment, or even weeklong just within the walls of a church building. It’s a thread through every aspect of life that makes life better—whether someone attends church or not,” Oz said.
“‘Faithful Fridays’ is a way we can help people take something that is free and available to everyone—their spirituality—and apply it positively to their lives, no matter the circumstances,” he added.
“Faithful Fridays” premieres Feb. 3, with additional segments airing on the 10th, 17th and 24th. Learn more at doctoroz.com.