The son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jay knows all about the harshness that Christians can exhibit toward fellow believers. Whether is is different denominations fighting each other, or a church ousting a member they believe to be too sinful, Christian organizations have forgotten the main theme of Jesus' teaching: love. But through the freedom offered by grace, we can love each other, and accept that Jesus loves all people, without any stipulations.
I rarely read the introductions to books, typically I want to get to the "meat and potatoes" of the text. However, something drew me to read the introduction to Jay Bakker's book, and I thought instantly I was about to fall in love. I read an excerpt of the introduction to my husband, and remarked how I liked the book already, and hoped it would not disappoint me in the long run. I am pleased to say, this book does not disappoint at all.
For a long time, I have felt that Christianity has actually become Churchianity, nothing more than groups fighting among themselves about who better knows that Jesus would say about all kinds of topics, both theological and social. But I think this book really gets back to the heart of Christianity, and what Jesus' mission was all about. It also reminds us that we need to put scripture into proper historical context instead of just using it to further our own selfish agendas.
I love this book because Jay is so frank and honest. He admits he had a bad drinking problem, he swears periodically in the text, he talks about going to a drag show, only to have the drag queens talk about Jesus on stage. This is the kind of Christianity I long for. I know for some it may seem scandalous (as it did when Jesus ate with prostitutes and tax collectors) but to me, it is refreshing. I love that I do not have to compromise any beliefs or sacrifice professions of love for any people (like the GLBT community) to fit in to this type of Christianity. And I feel like this book will appeal well to non-believers, who may be put off with how so much of the church treats marginalized social groups.
Grace is such a beautiful topic, one we hear far too little of in our American pulpits. I was incredibly blessed by this book, and I will recommend it to any and every Christian or non Christian who wants to learn more about how to better love ourselves and each other.
The publisher provides a sample of the text online, which you can access here.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.