Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why I respect Jay Bakker

If anyone has a right to hate God, I think it would be Jay Bakker.

Don’t know him? You may remember his dad, Jim Bakker. Jim Bakker of TV’s Praise the Lord. Jim Bakker who was arrested for fraud. Jim Bakker, the first of many televangelist to fall into scandal. If anyone has a right to hate God, I think it would be Jay.

Imagine the hell of watching your prestigious father go from Christian television’s biggest hero to behind bars. Imagine the betrayal. Imagine how he was treated by self-righteous Christians for his father’s sins. My heart broke for him when I read his autobiography, where he recounted the fall. Jay did nothing wrong, but he suffered more than anyone.

Being abandoned by his father to prison, abandoned by the church who ridiculed him, Jay turned to rebellion, drugs and bitterness.

For years, Jay worked at a church he started in Atlanta, The Revolution. Late one night, while walking the streets of Atlanta, I was speaking with a man who ran a homeless shelter. He mentioned that The Revolution was a few blocks down the road. I asked him, “What do you think of Jay Bakker?”

“Jay is weird.” He replied, probably alluding to Jay’s liberal theology. “But Jay loves Jesus. I have no doubt about that.”

If anyone has the right to hate God, I think it would be Jay. But he doesn’t.

Jay found God’s grace when he extended it others. He forgave the people he hated the most, his father’s consultants turn betrayers.

Jay found God’s healing when he shared his pain to crowds of Christians. Finally accepted after years of chastisement, as they listened to his pain rather than hurl their insults, God healed.

When I think of this tattoo covered preacher, I don’t think of his father’s sins, nor his years of rebellion, I think only of God’s grace.

If Jay can love God after the undeserved hardships he has suffered, then so can we.


  1. as always, chris, i love this stuff. i need to follow those links at some point.

  2. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.