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Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows

by Jay Bakker, Linden Gross

Buy the book: Jay Bakker. Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows

Release Date: 09 January, 2001

Edition: Hardcover


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Buy the book: Jay Bakker. Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows

Honesty from the front lines

Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye, the televangelists, has an interesting story. Having grown up in the PTL city of Heritage USA, his life went into a tailspin with the fall from grace of the PTL organization, and his father's subsequent prison sentence. (Incidentally, that is one of the great contradictions of his story: on the one hand, he maintains that his father was innocent of any criminal activity, but on the other hand, he acknowledges that his father "did some things wrong," although he never clarifies what those things might have been.)

Basically, the first two-thirds of the book chronicles Jay's alcohol and drug use, paralleled by the prison term of his father. Bakker explains his frequent moves, his parents' divorce and subsequent re-marriages to others, and overall, his continuing search for his faith despite all of the trials he has endured.

The final third of the book describes the process of finding his current ministry to disenchanted youth and young adults in the Atlanta area through an organization called Revolution, a sub-ministry of Safehouse Outreach.

Throughout the book, Bakker is uniquely honest about his imperfections, especially his admittedly negative attitude toward those who he believes brought about the fall of his father. He is also unapologetic about indicting the institution of the church on the grounds that it has fallen victim to tradition, and is failing to reach those who need its message of grace, the message that God loves you no matter what, most. This position puts him in a rather precarious theological position, in or near the camp of Bart Campolo and Brennan Manning (whom he thanks before the text of the book), but it is obvious that Bakker does not care much for theology if it does not work practically, and he must be admired for that, though he comes off as one who is still very much in the process of finding his ministry and voice. Clearly, his journey has already been an arduous one, but it seems that it has only just begun. The chronicle of this journey is worth reading, but it will be more so in ten years, I have a feeling.

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Frank Honesty

Jay was caught in the middle of the largest TV Evangelist scandal. As a child, he did not fully understand the hatred toward his family and him. Jay tells in graphic detail the ups and downs of his life during and after the PTL glory days. I was moved by his relationship toward Jerry Falwell. In this book, we understand from a child's perspective (not in mentality) what was felt and done behind the scenes of the Bakker family. This is a wonderful book that should be read.

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