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Fall to Grace
Author: Jay Bakker 
Book Review: by psychologist, Bruce L Thiessen, Ph.D., aka Dr BLT
"The human psyche shifts between two poles (or modes) which are potentially endless in scope; the constrictive and the expansive.  The constrictive pole is defined as the perceived ‘drawing back’ and confinement of thoughts, feelings and sensations.  The expansive pole is the perceived ‘bursting forth’ and extension of thoughts, feelings and sensations.”
Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.
The Paradoxical Self: Toward an Understanding of our Contradictory Nature
One useful way to view Fall to Grace is to view it through the pellucid prism of another book, the one I’ve just quoted from.  Every once in awhile, in the ebb and flow of the unfolding of Christianity, the “constrictive pole” becomes so unbearably suffocating that it snaps and the “expansive pole” is vividly awakened through the life of one who has been forced into bold action.  With Fall to Grace, Jay Bakker points to the only remedy to resolve the riff between forces of constriction and forces of expansion.  It’s the old-fashioned evangelical way, but though it has Martin Luther’s signature all over it, this is not your grandfather’s brand of evangelicalism.  It is nothing short of radical and, as such, I believe that it represents a significant breakthrough that will ultimately lead to a paradigm shift within evangelical circles.  Fall to Grace is an earthquake that begins with the aftershock. 

If you happened to have read Jay Bakker's book, Fall to Grace, or if you've heard the recent interview he did with NPR, or if you are old enough to have been around during the days when he was the young son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, then you'll know something about him.  If not, just think of a rising evangelical minister that may, to some of the more fundamentalist evangelical preachers, and churchgoers, represents one of the greatest threats to evangelical Christianity of all time. 0.html
It all has to do with Jay recklessly spreading his Christian love in all the wrong places (according to some) and sharing the good news of God's grace with those who, according to some, have no business receiving it. 

It's not that Jay Bakker believes that being gay is a sin that is forgivable in accordance with God's boundless grace, he doesn't believe it's a sin at all. 
If you read Jay’s book, Fall to Grace, you’ll notice that he makes an effort to reconcile his beliefs on homosexuality with the Bible. I’m not sure he makes the case for homosexuality not being a sin.

Personally, being a psychologist who has worked with gay patients, I believe that one's sexual orientation is, at the very least, a complex phenomenon, and that to reduce it to a sin, and nothing more than a sin, is to do the phenomenon, and gay community, a grave disservice.  As a psychologist, I focus on helping gay patients heal from mental and emotional suffering.  It's a goal that I establish with all patients regardless of sexual orientation.  I don't make it a goal to change their sexual orientation. 
If Jay Bakker makes the mistake of concluding that being gay is not a sin, I believe his intentions are good, and that they come from a sincere desire to be Christ-like, and to extend Christ’s unconditional love to everybody, bar none.  

He takes grace where few evangelicals have taken it before—-to those that may need it most-----those who have been deprived of it----to those who have been refused entry to the feast of grace. 

The result of Jay's reckless abandon as it concerns God's message of grace, is that many in the gay community now believe they may be able to also share in God’s gift of grace after all. They may now believe that God's grace is their rightful inheritance. 

They very likely feel loved by the message Jay Bakker is delivering. I’m all too familiar with the cliche, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” but if a person spends a great deal of time and energy hating the sin, one has to also entertain the thought that such a person may also harbor hatred to the person he/she has targeted as the “sinner.” Better than “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” is “Simply love the person, as Christ has loved us.”

The subject of the book is God’s grace, and he vividly captures just what that means, as few have been able to do.  Some dismiss his message as a sort of cheap grace that gives license to all that is unscrupulous, but I would beg to differ with those critics.  By making it clear that God’s grace is unconditional, and it extends to everybody, and that there’s nothing we can possibly do to earn or deserve it through our frail human efforts, he is not cheapening grace, but underscoring its unspeakable value.  Moreover, he is passionately and poignantly laying the groundwork for a motivation to become increasingly like Jesus.  
I'm not sure I believe everything I'm reading in Jay Bakker's book.  Being a recovering fundamentalist makes it even more difficult to sort out fact and fiction.  I fear some of what he says, and the influence it may have on the new generation of believers.  I also celebrate the influence his book has already had on me, and the prospect that it will influence thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. 

Much of my fear may come from my fundamentalist roots.  But none of my fears are stopping me from being challenged by the message he delivers, and his radical style of delivering it.  And none of these fears are stopping me of thinking that the evangelical community may benefit from getting a bit shaken up.  None of my fears stop me from entertaining the notion that Jay Bakker, warts and all---tatts and all, could become the next Martin Luther. 


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