Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tammy Faye Bakker’s Son Jay and His New Book: A Punk Preacher’s Inclusive Message

Jay Bakker

Tammy Faye Bakker Messner’s and Jim Bakker's son Jay introduced his new book "Fall to Grace" at Borders Bookstore near San Francisco’s Union Square on Jan. 24, and almost every seat was filled by eager fans and curious book fanciers.

Jay Bakker is the charming and dynamic minister of the Revolution Church based in Brooklyn, New York, after its move there from other American cities. Some LGBT fans of his mother were there to exchange stories about how much she meant to them in overcoming adversity, and others were there to thank him for basing his message on nonjudgmental inclusiveness. Bakker revealed that he joins Mel White’s Soul Force to visit conservative religious schools to dialogue with students and faculty because he feels that the current extreme antagonism against LGBT rights must be dealt with by ongoing communication.

Bakker’s family scandal erupted when he was a pre-teen. He turned to alcohol and drugs to deaden the pain and then cleaned himself up and began to serve the ignored and despised when he founded the Revolution ministry.

Bakker was entertaining when he spoke about seeking to discuss inclusion with major evangelical ministers all over the country. He even believes enough in liberal goals to conduct a gay marriage. Bakker is against mixing politics with religion because he thinks subjects such as abortion and homosexuality are too divisive to discuss civilly with a religious aspect attached to them.

His publicity photograph resembles the close-up portrait style of artist David Hockney. Bakker said that he has been mistaken for a young bear and that he has attracted primal gay bears. In reality he is a gay ally who has a tattooed-and-pierced punk look and thinks he has Marlon Brando’s mystique from the film "The Wild One."

Jay Bakker

Borders Union Square is a huge, handsome four-story book palace with someone reading or computing in every lounge chair. Seattle’s Best has a café in the store and two attractive, cruising young men at a front table could have also been seen at the Castro’s Café Flore.

Sales Manager Jason Jeffries introduced Bakker with the fine sound system and he encouraged the guests to join in on the Q&A and to buy a signed book.

The Evangelical Network’s Ed Ness, who is gay, had a crew with him to interview Bakker, and they spoke about their experiences at the recent Marriage Equality rally on the San Francisco federal courthouse steps.

The bookstore audience gave Bakker a loud, enthusiastic reception and made it clear that his practice of welcoming and offering unconditional love to a subculture of people rejected elsewhere because of their appearance and personal lives struck a chord with them. There was a long line to buy books and Bakker was generous with his time when he spoke to each person even though he was exhausted after a long book tour that ended in San Francisco.

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