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Bobby Jones is the cool cat of the gospel music industry: rose-colored glasses, wavy black hair, fine suits, wingtips, hat sometimes slanted slightly to the side, as he snaps his fingers and glides across the stage singing gospel — real smooth.

Right now, the cool cat of gospel is backstage at BET headquarters in Northeast Washington, preparing to tape the entire 30th-anniversary season of “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the first nationally syndicated black gospel television show. The pace of the filming is fast, and Jones is unflappable as his assistants flit about, preparing him to go on camera.

An assistant slides a comb through Jones’s hair. Another folds a baby-blue tie into a perfect knot around his neck. Jones spins around to face the mirrors in his dressing room, as a third assistant clips a stray thread hanging from the jacket button of the singer’s gray suit. The suit comes off to get re-pressed. Even if it is a gospel show and church people are supposed to be forgiving, the camera isn’t.

As he preens, Jones explains his longevity in the gospel industry, and how he really doesn’t have much national competition, even so many years later. “I find that amazing,” he says. “Now, can you build a network and, 30 years later, still have no competition?”

Then Jones says something you suspect many in his churchgoing audience do not know:

“I’m not a big fan of organized religion,” he says.

The statement hangs there in the dressing room, as the assistants flurry about.

Jones repeats himself. He is not the cool cat now, but a very serious man, as wise as befits a 72-year-old PhD in theology known as “Dr. Jones.”

“I am much more than the music,” he says. “All they know is, I say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ and welcome who is going to be on the show.

“They don’t know the depth of me.”

A few minutes later, Jones stands in his beautifully pressed gray pants as assistants button his crisp white shirt. Someone holds the jacket for Jones to put on, and then the assistants brush his suit. Hand him a mint. Jones grabs his signature rose-colored glasses.

He heads for the stage, then turns and jokes: