Kristin Rudolph is an Evangelical Program Coordinator at the IRD. Kristin graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the King’s College in New York City.
Kristin Rudolph (@Kristin_Rudolph)
This week Minnesota became the twelfth state in the United States to redefine marriage. Jay Bakker, son of the televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, marked the occasion by offering “rainbow bread” for “communion” at the inaugural service of Revolution Church Minnesota on Sunday, May 12th. Bakker explained all were welcome to participate in the meal regardless of religious belief or lack thereof, and that “today we do this in remembrance of what Christ did and what folks who followed in Christ’s footsteps did, but also in the celebration of what’s happened here in the House and with what our hopes are to happen tomorrow in the Senate.”
Bakker co-founded Revolution Church in 1994 in Phoenix, Arizona, and has moved the church to various cities since then. Most recently he pastored Revolution NYC until he relocated to Minneapolis in March 2013. Explaining the “rainbow bread” to those gathered at Bryant Lake Bowl, he said “Hell yeah I’m gettin’ political. This is to celebrate our LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer] brothers and sisters … [and remember] those who maybe didn’t make it this far.”
The Church, Bakker claimed, is “the final frontier of equality in this issue … we still haven’t seen the full importance of these civil rights in the faith that I love and care about so much.” Bakker, who has been critical of the politicization of Christianity urged attendees, “If you have a chance tomorrow go out to the capitol and call your [senators] … let them know that you believe in equality. If you don’t believe in equality stay at home. Sleep in, go to work, just don’t talk to anybody.”
Bakker, popular Minnesota based emergent writer Tony Jones, and others held a vigil at the state’s capitol Monday, May 13th for the senate’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage in their state.
Complementing the rainbow bread, Bakker spoke on grace and inclusion, focusing on St. Paul, who “gets grace the most,” as he was a ruthless persecutor of Christians before his conversion. “The Bible is full of unperfect [sic] people” and it was “murderers and traitors … literally starting a faith, being part of a faith and that’s what I would call the good news,” Bakker said. He added that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi also “Really got the idea of what inclusion was meant to be, what loving your enemy was meant to be, what loving your neighbor.”
“The idea of Christ was to come into that midst and find the one who’s doing the hurting and turn him into an ally turn him into someone who’s loved and what you see here is … a love of inclusion,” Bakker claimed. But most Christians don’t get this, he said, asserting: “We’re always looking for the one person grace doesn’t cover. You know I think that’s what Christianity has become … we’re looking for the loopholes in grace.” Not even St. Paul meets Bakker’s inclusivity standards, as he declared “Paul said some stuff that’s pretty crazy … there would be times if I knew Paul the apostle … [I would say] ‘Listen, I’m going to have to call bullshit on this … remember your message.’”
“Inclusion in the Church” is so important to Bakker that he has “a hard time dealing with ideas of hell … when I see a God that reaches out to people in the midst of murder and in the midst of betrayal and says ‘I want you. I want to use you. You are loved and you are cared for.’”
“It’s so strange that we’ve seen our faith become perverted by people who want to say this isn’t for you and … you’re not good enough for it,” he said. Instead, Bakker suggested Christians should “[B]e patient with one another and … learn to live within our brokenness and allow other people to be broken even if it’s not broken in the way we necessarily like it. Cause there’s a lot of really cool ways to be broken and then there’s a lot of uncool ways to be broken, but we’re called to love.”
“What MLK did got him killed. What Ghandi did got him killed. What Jesus did got him killed. And I think they all died for similar reasons.” Jesus probably did not die to save us, according to Bakker, but rather, “What if Jesus was killed for the same reason Ghandi and King were killed? Because they were trouble makers who showed too much love and too much inclusion?”
There are “great moral wonderful people … outside the Church who do much more good work than the Church itself,” Bakker claimed. “Morality” has nothing to do with good works, according to the pastor, “but it’s the idea of recognizing what our brokenness is and allowing that brokenness to be transformed in order to help other people transform and accept their own brokenness.”