Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Punk Pastor Jay Bakker

This is a great interview, from a highly unlikely source- Mother Jones Magazine. Jay Bakker, Jim and Tammy Faye's son, tells it like it is. Christianity is all about acceptance, forgiveness, and not judging people, but loving them. That's just what Jesus did. And it's what we should do.
As Jesus says in Matthew 7, verses 1-5:

1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person's eye.

A couple of excerpts:

MJ.com: Can you talk more about the founding principle of your church, the idea of grace, and what that means?

JB: I always thought I had to earn God’s love and approval; I always thought I had to please God. I kept trying, but it never seemed like I could do it, and I thought, “Man, what’s wrong with me?” A friend of mine was like, “Man, you’re full of it. You’re trying to do what Christ has already done: You’re trying to earn your salvation and you can’t—it’s a free gift.” It sounded too good to be true. He said, “You need to start reading the Bible for yourself and stop taking everyone else’s word for it.” When I really started to do this, I realized God loved me no matter what. His love for me wasn’t going to change no matter how good I was or how bad I was. There was something very liberating about that. It actually changed my heart and made me want to follow God more. I got into a 12-step program and have been sober for about 10 and a half years now.

MJ.com: So even though there’s this come-as-you-are philosophy, you’re trying to become a better person, just not in the way mainstream churches advocate.

JB: It’s like not having expectations on other peoples lives. It’s like trusting God in other people’s lives, which I think is a very scary thing for people. When it’s grace, it’s all about God. When it’s legalism or man’s religion, it’s more about what we can do to please God or what we can do to perform. It seems to be more about control, because just trusting God is a little bit harder. I try to love my neighbor as myself but I’m not trying to be a people pleaser. Sometimes that’s hard, because my human nature is to want people to be happy with me. But sometimes I feel my convictions are so great that it would be compromising the truth if I didn’t do that. So sometimes it’s a struggle to say, “This is what I think; this is what I believe, and if you don’t agree with me, oh well.” The hardest thing for people to accept is the gay-affirming issue. It’s hard for people to agree to disagree on that one.

(My comment- You love the sinner, but hate the sin.)
Click the link above to read the rest of the interview.