Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A documentary series about Pastor Jay (Bakker)

More "pop culture" religion found on Beliefnet.

Titled as "One Punk Under God" and subtitled as "The Prodigal Son", the Sundance Channel is airing a 6 part documentary series on Jay Bakker the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker which will air weekly and begins tomorrow 12/13/06. (I don't have direct t.v. and my cable company doesn't provide the Sundance Channel, but it looks like you can view it online.) The series was filmed by the filmmaker who made a documentary series about Tammy Faye. (I've heard about this documentary, but never saw it.)


Anyone who lived through the 80s knows all about PTL Ministries and the sad history of Jim and Tammy Faye. Jim did some of his prison time here in Rochester, MN. Turns out their only son Jay--a grade school boy in the 80s--grew up and decided to minister to people and give them the message of God's all inclusive love. He's clearly "not his father's televangelist"! The documentary series films Jay's life and ministry which takes some interesting turns. (All of this and more can be found on the website above.)

Jay began his ministry with a nondenominational church in Atlanta called "The Revolution" which he started. Church was held in a bar. He began to realize that God's love extended to gays and lesbians and started to preach that message to his congregation. Problems ensued--they even talk church finances in the documentary it says. Ultimately Jay decided to leave The Revolution after transitioning the congregation to a new pastor. He visited his ill mother and also tried to reconnect with his estranged father. Eventually Jay and his wife, Amanda, went to New York where he started a new church.

The website doesn't provide any of the following information: if/where he went to seminary; what his wife Amanda's background is and how they met and married; what he gains, if anything, from doing the documentary series. If the series itself doesn't provide these answers, it looks like there are ways to ask these questions through the website. These are things I'd like to know.

Other than his "look" which is definately punkish, Jay Bakker seems like a regular 30-something who is trying to heal a troubled past and make an honest living ministering to people. His list of favorite musicians seems to be regular -- tends toward classic country including Johnny Cash. (But it makes me feel really old because there are many, many people I don't know.) He's reading Henry Nouwen's The Wounded Healer. (Good book.)

If I saw Jay Bakker on the street inviting me to come to his church without hearing him first, would I follow? Probably not from his outward apprearance. Does it sound like he's got a "valid ministry" -- whatever that means? Tune in and form your own opinions.

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