The late televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker’s boy has done the unthinkable. Jay Bakker, pastor of Revolution Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has teamed up with lesbian comedians who tell explicit, profane jokes about gay sex.
Bakker is part of the Loosen the Bible Belt: A Tour for Humanity. He and tour co-founder comedian Kristen Becker are joined by comedian Samantha Ruddy and singer SarahRose Marie. Their website says that they want to “spread a message of love, grace and equality” and “create awareness for LGBTQ groups fighting the good fight” in Southern states.
I went to their performance in Huntsville, Alabama. The crowd was a mix of the religious and non-religious. We laughed at the often smart but dirty jokes. We applauded Jay’s sometimes funny, progressive sermon.
And I pondered this partnership between postmodern faith and unapologetically, blasphemous humanity. Does it promote a better understanding of Jesus Christ and his message? Or does it dilute, distort and demean it?
Bakker describes himself as a Christian agnostic, hipster preacher. He takes his Bible on stage and reads from the Pauline epistles. He quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Paul Tillich. He drops the occasional curse word.
He confesses that he believes some of the books of the Bible were poorly written and that everything in it isn’t true. He doesn’t believe in the traditional concept of hell. He thinks it’s what we are living through now.
But Bakker’s answer for this hell comes from conventional Christianity. He believes in the redemptive power of grace.
“Grace is always for someone I don’t want it to cover,” Bakker told the Huntsville crowd. He charged evangelical Christianity with lacking compassion and tolerance, of being in violation of the love edict in 1 Corinthians 13.
“Love is the most important thing,” Bakker said. “Love is the trump card when it comes to the Bible.”
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