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Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I've Crossed: Walking with the Unknown God Hardcover – February 12, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jericho Books (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044653952X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446539524
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Jay Bakker pens what may be the best explanation for the Christian emphasis on the church community that I've ever encountered."—Sojourners Magazine

"His demands for a more biblically literate, compassionate and socially-conscious Christian Church certainly hold merit."—The Christian Post

"This book - beautifully written and deeply honest - will save the faith of many people who don't fit in conventional boxes. Faith was never meant to be a box anyway!"
Brian D. McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (

About the Author

Jay Bakker is co-pastor of Revolution NYC, gay rights activist, and winner of the 2012 PFLAG Straight for Equality In Faith Communities award. He is a grace enthusiast, a dyslexic introverted pessimist, and a prisoner of hope. Bakker previous books include Son of a Preacher Man and Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self, and Society. He lives in Brooklyn,

Andy Meisenheimer is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home dad. He and his family live in Manhattan, NY.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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So many times throughout reading this book I found myself saying "Damn, I thought I was the only one who felt that way."
Jay Bakker calls out the church for its treatment of and beliefs about "the other," but the only word that I can think of to describe his challenge is "love."
I have enjoyed his other books just as much and I feel as if I'm growing in a profound spiritual way after reading this one.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Rob Davis on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I was a "leader" in the church, I always assumed it was supposed to be about people. I thought crazy things like: a pastor (shepherd) was supposed to actually know the sheep. And, that the shepherd was primarily a sheep, receiving love from the Great Shepherd, before anything else. When it became something other than that, I had a real problem doing it anymore. When my "billable hours" shifted toward working "on" the church (the institution), rather than "in" the church (with actual people), it wasn't long before I had to step away.

A turning point came for me when some good friends had some real questions about "women in leadership." They had gone to one of the "elders" of our church, and his explanation was "this is just the way it is." Period. This sent me down the "slippery slope" of actually trying to answer someone's question. What I discovered was that there was no easy answer. A real person with a real question made it very difficult for me to toe the party line. At the time, this kind of "caving" (theology from the bottom up, rather than the top down) was seen as a weakness (which, in that world, was a negative thing), while simply regurgitating the freeze dried theology of our "tradition" (i.e. neo-Reformed complementarianism) was hailed as "courageous." I used to hear the phrase all the time that some things are "closed hand" issues. But, what I experienced was that a closed hand is just another way to say "fist", and a fist is a weapon.

I met Jay Bakker several years ago, but I've tried to keep up with his "ministry" ever since. From day one, he has been a broken record. And that's why I've had a hard time ignoring him.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By middleclassbuzz on February 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
More so than either of Jay's previous books, Faith, Doubt, And Other Lines I've Crossed powerfully lays out the case that the Bible has been misinterpreted and misrepresented, causing untold suffering for both Christians and non-Christians.

Without forcing any one particular set of doctrine on the reader, Jay shows what the message of Christ truly was in the New Testament: that we should love one another unconditionally and care for the least of those among us. This is a love that is challenging, if not impossible. But the radical grace that Christ exemplified is our blueprint; he showed us what the church should look like, which is nothing like what we have today. Legalism and separation are the easy way out. People naturally want rules and codes that can organize belief but unfortunately, the grace that Christ embodied does not work within that context.

Jay doesn't hide from his views on topics like the afterlife and homosexuality, but he also makes it clear that complete agreement on these isn't necessary to understand the message of the gospel. We may have our differences but there is nothing stopping us from uniting behind the principles of compassion, peace, patience, love and understanding.

This is a must-read for both Christians and non-Christians alike; the position that Jay advocates is a crystal-clear call for what believers need to do to bring the church into the future. Those outside the church have already made their decision, and more are making the decision to leave every year. The Christian church will not survive by keeping down the path it is currently on. Only by refocusing on Christ and his core message of love will the church survive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Palen on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are many books these days on what is wrong with Christian Churches that is causing people, especially the young, to turn away. This one, by Jay Bakker, is the best I have read so far. Jay Bakker, of course, is the son of Jim and the late Tammy Bakker of the now defunct Praise the Lord (PTL) Ministries. He knows the problems of the Church as intimately as anyone, having grown up in a TV ministry which grew eventually into a monster of greed and corruption, resulting in a 5 year jail term for his father, Jim. This book is not about that - It is about a grown preacher's kid, now a preacher himself, doubting the ridged belief system of the fundamentalist Church. Doubting the contradiction of a loving, but angry and cruel, God, described in an internally inconsistent Bible, declared to be the inerrant word of the said God. - Doubting, but tortured by, the idea that such doubt would land him in Hell. Eventually he launched himself on the dangerous path of trying to better understand Faith, rather than continuing to defend an indefensible belief. Interrupted by the death of his mother, Tammy, followed closely by loss of his wife through divorce, a time when he doubted even the existence of God, his quest stumbled on. Buoyed up by the teachings of Jesus, which did make sense to him, he discovered that, for him, God was not found in churches, as much as he was found in the work of helping others. Working from this base and his growing internal realization that God does truly love us, Jay still lives with doubt, but now feels that doubt is a partner of Faith.Read more ›
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