One Punk Under God, Episode 5: “I Was Ready to Tell God to *#@! Off!”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
                 James 1:2-3

And that’s precisely what all this has been; a trial.  A working out of Jay’s faith and his ability to hear God’s voice. 

(An aside: It was at this point I questioned whether or not to continue with these summary/review pieces since the gay issue has sort of dropped out of the forefront.  I’m continuing because even though not much is mentioned in this episode, the whole issue lingers.  From the lesser to the greater, the gay issue is more than just dealing with the whole “gay agenda.”  (FWIW, I have no idea what that agenda is.  I never got a memo.  Too busy having sex.)  It is about dealing with the sin and the sinner that we find uncomfortable, even repugnant.  It means dealing with those that we secretly believe aren’t worth sharing Jesus with.  Worthiness as determined by our own judgment, not God’s.  That’s Jay’s ministry in a nutshell and his ministry still retains considerable meaning to people reading this blog.  So onward:)

The episode starts with Jay and Amanda visiting New York.  Jay is a very cautious driver; Amanda is hell on wheels.  The two of them apply for an apartment together and it takes the manager a minute or two to realize who Jay is.  I found that somewhat surprising as it was kinda clear that the manager was gay.  (Either that or this ex-gay thing has thrown the ol’ ‘dar completely out of whack.  If he isn’t, then my profound apologies.)  They ask what his financial status is going to be and they explain the ministry situation.  With her in school and him completely unemployed, I’m stunned to find out that they get the apartment anyway.  (At one point, the manager takes his application and moves off frame, saying, “I thought you looked familiar.”  Huh? )

Later Amanda says privately that she’s always wanted more for Jay’s future beyond the ministry.  (Some preacher’s wife, no?)  She says that Jay is smart, really smart, and enjoys learning.  She thinks that Jay won’t do Revolution again in New York; the people there are just too cynical for another church to start there.   Apparently Amanda has not seen the previews for next week’s show.

Back home, there is a package.  Tammy Faye has sent them a home “frog” kit, complete with bowl, rocks, and two live frogs in a plastic bag with water, like goldfish.  The box even contains membership to “The Frog Club” so you get a membership card.  To The Frog Club.  I guess you gotta love frogs.  Wasn’t expecting that frogs would be a heartbreaking moment later.  Anyway, they call Tammy Faye at home and tell her that they got the frogs.  She says that she loves them.  Love and kisses all around.  Then Jay asks how Tammy Faye is and she tells them that today is the sickest day she’s had yet.  The expression on Jay’s face says everything.  He’s going to come visit her soon.

When he does, Tammy Faye looks worse, if that’s possible.  She’s thin, frail, and looks as though she’s aged another ten years since he’s last seen her.  She’s at her home in North Carolina to be interviewed for a book.  She asks Jay to get out her oxygen machine before the author gets there.  When the author gets there, she tells him that the machine doesn’t mean that she’s going down hill.  On the contrary!  She gives the author her life’s history as if she’s done it a dozen times a day for years.  Jay goes outside to call his sister.

We find out that Tammy Faye has been passing out and falling.  The sister thinks there is a brain tumor at work.  She wants Tammy Faye taken in for a brain scan and Jay says he’ll drive her to the doctor.  When he returns to Tammy Faye and the author, Tammy Faye is calling the interview off.  She’s in great pain and just can’t continue on with the interview.

Some time later, Jay is ready to leave to go back home.  There is a single shot of two of Tammy Faye’s frogs, trying to exist in a scummy algae-ridden bowl.  That one shot says everything right there.  Everything that needs to be said.  Jay prays over Tammy Faye and for the first time this episode, Tammy Faye looks comforted.

When back in Atlanta, Jay and Amanda make a tape for Tammy Faye.  “Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to a camera than it is to a person when the person is right there.”  I wondered if someone pointed out that his father does the exact same thing, if Jay wouldn’t just lose his mind and wail on someone.  Okay, maybe I’m just projecting here.  Never mind.  Personal issues.  Anyway, they want to encourage her and give her something to have that would do that.  Jay realizes he “gets so much from her.”  I wonder if he’s aware of just how much.  Much of Jay’s love and compassion in his ministry is due to his mother’s upbringing.  The most important thing, says Jay?  “That faith is expressed through love.”

It is painfully obvious that Jay is aware that, absent a direct intervention from God, his mother’s time is short.  Very short.

Jay and Amanda pack for the move.

In a move that threw me for a complete loop, Jay’s financial officer Marc is also packing, planning to move to New York to help Jay start Revolution: New York.  Nice to know that Jay’s going to have some help to restart his ministry.  (How I wish it were Amanda, but that’s my issue.)

The last sermon at Masquerade.  He moves to Brooklyn tomorrow.  He’s ready and packed.  Amanda has returned for this final sermon.  It’s hard for him and he barely pushes through the sermon.  The church has been a family to him.  This sermon becomes a confessional.  He has seen people change.  He has changed.  What’s the important thing he wants to leave?  That faith must be expressed through love.  He introduces Stu who comes up to join him, then says goodbye and dashes out the door.  No small talk.

Outside, hugs and kisses goodbye.  One woman says “I was ready to tell God to @#!! off” if it wasn’t for you.  Right there, redemption of someone who was going to throw God away before God could throw her away.

Various testimonials and shots:  Stu leading the Revolution congregation in prayer for Tammy Faye; Tammy Faye watching the tape and turning into a puddle; Amanda flying out to go to school with Jay being there three days later.

The final shot is Amanda on the stoop of their new apartment, waiting for Jay.  He arrives in the UHaul.  They hug and kiss.  “Welcome home,” she says.

Shots from Next Week:

Jay is starting over, handing out fliers and stickers about his new church.

Tammy Faye is now very ill.

Jay welcomes his father as the guest speaker at his new church!

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~ by WriterRand on January 12, 2007.

3 Responses to “One Punk Under God, Episode 5: “I Was Ready to Tell God to *#@! Off!””

  1. hi! new reader, here…i must say, if it weren’t for all the recent reality tv i would not know tammy faye…but now i believe that she’s one of my favorite people. there’s a lot of love in that little heavily made up lady. i really like your blog!

  2. You do a great job here!! What you do is awesome! I love you!

    Stu

  3. I think that Jay will do great in New York! I would love to see him speak and hopefully I will see him around more often! I believe in his theory! God is Love!! I have 2 children, and if God loves me just a small amount as I love them, God understands all and loves all! Harm none, do good unto others, and I believe that you will be blessed! Christianity has become a “JUDGING” “POLITICAL” thing! Going back on Sexualality, there might be 1 or 2 places in the bible that is a fine line, not knowing what is really right! (I mean the bible says in one place to be the husband of one wife in the new testement, and then we also know everybody in the old testement had hundreds of wives!) Every person should be treated equal and given the same opportunity as the other. It is so crazy how the “WORLD OF SINNERS” DO LESS JUDGING, than the “CHURCH OF CHRISTIANS!” The bible says SEEK OUT YOUR OWN Salvation! The God I serve, JESUS CHRIST, loves me even though I am GAY and he understands! I have been judged by him, and the verdit was: I am his child and he loves me!!! Heaven WILL BE MY HOME!!!

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