Monday, January 22, 2007

Review of Jay Bakker, One Punk, Under God (#5)

This episode focuses on Tammy Faye's illness and Jay's response to it, in the context of moving to New York for wife Amanda's education. An emotional episode. (For Dan Myers' review of this episode)

First a son. In watching Jay interact with his sick mother, which he does very lovingly, I was struck by the irrelevance of his other identities. He's not a punk, he's not a preacher, he's not the child of televangelists--he's just a son who wants to take care of his sick mother and wants her to know that he loves her and appreciates her. There is something elemental about tragedies that makes us act in a similar way.

Tammy Faye's life. During one visit, we watch somebody interviewing Tammy Faye for a book. He asked various questions about her life, how she started, what she wanted, for she has followed a most unpredictable trajectory--born in a small town in Minnesota to where she is now. That makes me wonder what she would do differently, if she could.

This episode, more than any others, portrayed Tammy Faye as someone other than a media creation.

Seat-of-the-pants church plant. As far as I can tell, Jay is planting a new church in New York City with little more planning than a general sense of where NYC is located. I'm sure that he'll be successful, but this seat-of-the-pants approach exemplifies a concern that I've expressed in previous posts about Jay's place in an organization. Without a more developed organization (think 5-year plans, organizational charts, all that yucky stuff), it's hard to see how Jay's NYC church will grow beyond the number of people that Jay can take care of personally. With the wrong organization, however, Revolution will lose its "punk" voice that makes it so interesting and effective.

It will be interesting to see how Revolution-Atlanta & Revolution-NYC change over time. I would guess that they will become rather different in just a few years.

1 comment:

Dan Myers said...

I think you are right about changes in the Revolution chapter, Brad. Not to look too far ahead, but the Revolution website features not just two, but three locations now. But I do wonder how it will develop--both as individual units and as an organization. It doesn't seem like the philosophy behind revolution is amenable to a large tightly controlled, unified, organization. So, I would expect that the differences in leadership at the locations will produce different fruits. Just in the first two, Stu and Jay seem like very different people--who share great commonalities in some of their vision--have big differences in background, approaches to the business of churching, and so on.

One thing that is a pity for the show is that we haven't gotten to know Stu very well. I am continually curious about the story and trajectory in his own life that brought him into Revolution. And I wonder if he has the "street cred" with the people that Jay has had such a strong appeal.