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Can Jay Bakker Redeem Minnesota?

Can Jay Bakker Redeem Minnesota? April 9, 2013

Jay Bakker (Kyndell Harkness/StarTribune)

A month ago, my friend Jay Bakker and his wife, Karin, arrived in Minnesota. They moved here from Brooklyn, New York, she to start a new job, he to start a new church.

In Sunday’s paper, Rose French profiled Jay and noted the many connections he’s already got with my home state:

While Bakker spent his early youth in North Carolina where the PTL ministry was based, he has strong roots in Minnesota. His mother was from International Falls. His parents met at what was then North Central Bible College. His father served nearly four years in federal prison in Rochester for his part in the PTL fraud, and Jay visited him there as a teen.

Indeed, Rose interviewed Jay in the shadow of North Central University, a college that has banned me from their campus. In one of the photos in the video* that accompanies the article, Jay is standing in a skyway that connects two of the buildings at North Central — his father donated that skyway when his fortunes were high; North Central removed Jim Bakker’s name from the skyway when his fortunes were low.

As I said in the article, Jay’s is a message that I think will resonate with many people in Minneapolis. While most people here did not grow up amidst the conservative Christian culture that he did — like the SBC and the AoG — many are nonetheless disenfranchised with Christianity. What you don’t find in Minnesota is much vitriolic atheism. What you do find, especially in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis where Jay is starting his new Revolution Church, is a whole lot of “nones.”

Jay’s new book lays out his message to the nones. In Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I’ve Crossed: Walking with the Unknown God, Jay largely leaves his family story behind and ventures into new theological territory. Written in short, almost devotional-length sub-chapters, Jay reflects on the marriage of doubt and faith. He writes convincingly how doubt and faith are inextricable; how you cannot have one without the other.

Although Solomon’s Porch is my ecclesial home, I’m glad to be helping Jay launch Revolution in Minneapolis. I think his articulation of the biblical message of Christ’s love will be a fresh take on the church scene in the Land of Lake Wobegon.

*I will send a copy of Jay’s book to the first person who correctly guesses where he was sitting for his interview on the video.

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