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14th-Dec-2006 11:54 am
Bakker, Brown: What the hell happened to Christianity?
By Jay Bakker and Marc Brown

Editor's note: Jay Bakker, son of former Praise The Lord leaders Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner, is minister of Revolution Church and subject of a new documentary series, "One Punk Under God," on Sundance Channel. Marc Brown is a Revolution staff member.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- What the hell happened? Where did we go wrong? How was Christianity co-opted by a political party? Why are Christians supporting laws that force others to live by their standards? The answers to these questions are integral to the survival of Christianity.

While the current state of Christianity might seem normal and business-as-usual to some, most see through the judgment and hypocrisy that has permeated the church for so long. People witness this and say to themselves, "Why would I want to be a part of that?" They are turned off by Christians and eventually, to Christianity altogether. We can't even count the number of times someone has given us a weird stare or completely brushed us off when they discover we work for a church.

So when did the focus of Christianity shift from the unconditional love and acceptance preached by Christ to the hate and condemnation spewed forth by certain groups today? Some say it was during the rise of Conservative Christianity in the early 1980s with political action groups like the Moral Majority. Others say it goes way back to the 300s, when Rome's Christian Emperor Constantine initiated a set of laws limiting the rights of Roman non-Christians. Regardless of the origin, one thing is crystal clear: It's not what Jesus stood for.

His parables and lessons were focused on love and forgiveness, a message of "come as you are, not as you should be." The bulk of his time was spent preaching about helping the poor and those who are unable to help themselves. At the very least, Christians should be counted on to lend a helping hand to the poor and others in need.

This brings us to the big issues of American Christianity: Abortion and gay marriage. These two highly debatable topics will not be going away anytime soon. Obviously, the discussion centers around whether they are right or wrong, but is the screaming really necessary? After years of witnessing the dark side of religion, Marc and I think not.

Christians should be able to look past their differences and agree to disagree. This allows people to discuss issues with respect for one another. Christians are called to love others just as they are, without an agenda. Only then will Christianity see a return to its roots: Loving God with all of your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself.

The Apostle Paul describes this idea of love beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

But don't take our word for it; look at what Jesus and his followers stood for in his time and what Christianity stands for today. Then come to your own conclusion.
14th-Dec-2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
What a cute couple!
14th-Dec-2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think I'm going to have to watch this. Jay kinda looks like a lot of people on my friends list. :-)
14th-Dec-2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
wow! I think he's my new hero/crush.

14th-Dec-2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
OK, I looked up his Revolution Church, which is in Brooklyn, among other places. Its primary aim is to welcome and love everyone, especially people who have been excluded and hurt by other churches. Sounds pretty radical to me!
14th-Dec-2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
THAT'S what I'm fucking talking about.

Calling myself a Christian is embarrassing now because it means, to most people, that I have my head up my brown starfish and that I am close-minded and hateful. Some Christians would call me a blasphemer and a damned individual because of the things I have done and the things I believe. I believe in aspiring to live out my life to emulate the goodness that Jesus was all about. I am not about living like Christ, but to be loving and forgiving and helpful like Christ. He saves me from myself when I want to be a complete asshole to people who so richly deserve it. He's my role model.

Does He hate gays? HAIL NO. Does Jesus belong to a political party. HAIL NO.

I am tired of the flack Christians get, and it's all the Chrtistians' fault. If they are running around bashing people over the head and damning souls in Jesus' name, why, that's the most blasphemous crooked-assed thing ever.
14th-Dec-2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
apparently he talks directly about the gay thing in episode two, and he has a frank discussion with his wife.

I think it is going to be interesting.

I am a big fan of his Mother (Tammy Faye) since she began supporting gay rights both in and out of the church. Unfortunately, she is very sick with Cancer.
(Deleted comment)
14th-Dec-2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
Meh, to me it's still Cafeterianism - pick and choose what you want out of the bible. You still can't ignore the bad crap and pick the pink ponies and gumdrop entries from it.

The main goal is and always has been - convert the heathen. No mattter how much powdered sugar you put on it.
14th-Dec-2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
That was not my reading when I read the book. In fact, there's a passage somewhere that says NOT to preach to someone who is hungry, but to feed them. OT doesn't suggest converting at all. NT talks about living well yourself and loving others. The missionary zeal is only one part, and some passages even seem to suggest that it is not for most believers to preach to the "heathens".

...of course, I have no objection to Cafeteriansim, either, myself, if it works for someone.
15th-Dec-2006 01:56 pm (UTC)
It is pretty much impossible to call oneself any flavor of Christian without Cafeterianism, since so much of the Bible is blatantly self-contradictory.
14th-Dec-2006 06:42 pm (UTC) - And unrelated...
to this post....
Happy Birthday!
14th-Dec-2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah that.

Oh and don't forget the whole "Believing in things that don't exist" part.

14th-Dec-2006 07:43 pm (UTC)

The church needs someone to step up and tell it like it is, or else only the assholes get to be spokespeople, and it becomes the shit it appears to be from theoutside now.
14th-Dec-2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm probably going to piss someone off with this, but : LET'S FACE IT. Christianity NEEDS to die out. The time for that backasswards judgementalism is GONE.
14th-Dec-2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
and replace it with what? at least with Xty we know where the skeletons are buried.
15th-Dec-2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
Problem is, what's your operational definition of Christianity? The people who think Jesus was nifty? The people who think Jesus was nifty and try to follow his nifty ways? The people who aren't sure if Jesus ever existed, but was nifty if he did, and set a fair example to follow? The people who think Jesus only think they're nifty people and everybody else is fucked? The people who think that every word attribued to Jesus and his peeps is absolutely infallible and must be followed literally - and only the KJV version? The people who think Jesus hates fags so much that anything else he may or may not have said doesn't matter dick?
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