Shuck and Jive

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jesus Was a Punk

Remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker? They have a son. They reared him right. Well, not totally right. He's a preacher but it's not his daddy's PTL Club. It is called Revolution Church and he is "One Punk Under God." Click on his image for an advertisement for his new television series.

He and another Revolution Church staff member, Marc Brown, wrote an article for CNN, "What the Hell Happened to Christianity?"

Here is how they begin the article:
What the hell happened? Where did we go wrong? How was Christianity co-opted by a political party? Why are Christians supporting laws that force others to live by their standards? The answers to these questions are integral to the survival of Christianity.
So far, so good. Then they write:

So when did the focus of Christianity shift from the unconditional love and acceptance preached by Christ to the hate and condemnation spewed forth by certain groups today? Some say it was during the rise of Conservative Christianity in the early 1980s with political action groups like the Moral Majority. Others say it goes way back to the 300s, when Rome's Christian Emperor Constantine initiated a set of laws limiting the rights of Roman non-Christians. Regardless of the origin, one thing is crystal clear: It's not what Jesus stood for.

His parables and lessons were focused on love and forgiveness, a message of "come as you are, not as you should be." The bulk of his time was spent preaching about helping the poor and those who are unable to help themselves. At the very least, Christians should be counted on to lend a helping hand to the poor and others in need.

I listened to one his sermons, "Repentance is Not a Four Letter Word." He is evangelical but with the emphasis on grace and unconditional love. Here is an article about him on CNN's Showbiz TV that talks about the amends he made with his parents, his preaching in an Atlanta bar, and his decision to be gay-affirming (and his loss of support from the Christian right for that decision).

His preaching style lacks polish. He has a self-deprecating "Who me? Preach?" attitude. These are pluses. I sense that he is thoughtful, sincere and quite intelligent. When he speaks from the heart, he communicates grace most eloquently:

"It's accepting that love of God--I just can't say that enough because I want you to understand that God loves you just the way you are and that's never gonna change. To me that's the greatest news of all."

I think he will make an important contribution as a minister.


  1. I knew about this guy quite a while ago - I liked the idea of a 'punk' church and accepting people outside the norms of the ideal person (ex: gay, punk, muslim, etc)...or at least showing that understanding that 'we don't treat people unfairly up in here'.

    Was Jesus a 'punk' - well no...did he even listen to music...and did he like it fast? But that doesn't stop Jesus from loving the outsider - not being that outsider - ex: prostitute - but love goes beyond the walls of experience.

    I like the message of young Baker, I follow those lines quite well. I think the faith is all anout acceptance - the 'come as you are' ideal - the 'no matter who you are'. Also the faith and politics thing - this just has to stop and I think more churches need to start speaking against the stubborness of the Evangelical Religious Right to partner with gov't to destroy countries - that's not even close to the ethics of Jesus. Let's stop them, if a petition ever goes up - I'll sign - in blood.