Pull up a seat and have a steaming cup with me as we discuss issues central to the west-indian community, the african-american community and the LGBT community.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

One Punk Under God.

A few weeks ago I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch while I munched on my morning cereal. I came across a program on the Sundance Channel called 'One Punk under God' and the title intrigued me as much as the fact that it was a reality series did. Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I'm a true "reality junkie". I'm almost ashamed to admit it but it's true; I'll watch almost any reality show - call it a guilty pleasure if you will. So I sat back, pulled a throw blanket over my knees, got really comfortable and settled in to watch an episode or two of One Punk. Film crews followed Jay Bakker, you know son of Jim and the late Tammy-Faye Bakker? founders of the once incredibly successful PTL (Praise The Lord) ministries back in the 80's?The couple who were probably the most recognizable faces of Televangelism until they fell from grace after Jim's sex-scandal and then the accounting fraud that put him prison? Yeah them.

Well Jay has had his own unique ministry and his own church, 'Revolution', with branches in Charlotte, New York and here in Atlanta for years now . His ministry reaches out to the outcasts; people who've been thrown away by the traditional church. On his website and printed in bold letters on the flyers he hands out you'll find the statement, "As Christians, we're sorry for being self-righteous judgemental bastards"; Amen. Those are healing words to 'punks' like him, drug addicts, people who've given up on the church and now... gays, lesbians and transgendered people.

I watched in awe as the film crew caught Jay fighting hard with himself over the rhetoric he, and many of us, have grown up with that says being gay is a sin, an abomination and an automatic ticket to hell. Being a straight man, growing up in the pentecoastal movement and now pastoring a straight congregation, it wasn't easy for him to broach the idea to his congregants and famous family that something in his spirit was telling him it was all a lie. I could feel the tension through the screen the day he decided to tell them he would be opening his church doors to the LGBT community(by this time I'm about 5 episodes in and I'm hooked!) . I mean he was visibly sweating and you could hear a pin drop in the room. But, at the end of the sermon most of his predominately white congregation told him he had their support and that they were willing to embrace gays and lesbians in their church.

Watch what happened when he took it to a predominantly black church:

hmmm... They were all 'Amen-ing' and 'Yes Lord-ing' until the word 'gay' came out of his mouth. I gotta say, I was really embarrassed by their reaction. Especially after he said, "It’s…It’s…hard for me when people who’ve been through such persecution and been judged against …all of a sudden they don’t want freedom for anybody else". Ain't that the truth? Then he threw in an MLK quote too...stepping on even more toes. I swear black people have got to be the most hypocritical people on Earth! I wonder how many of them went home and really thought about what he said. I wonder how many of them were ashamed. Was there even one?

Thank God for Jay Bakker.

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