Enter the riotous and righteous world of punk rock evangelist and preachers son Jay Bakker--where church is a smoke-filled bar, and tattoos and piercings an expression of faith. This original six-part series from Sundance Channel is the roller coaster story of the son of infamous televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, whose Christian empire collapsed amid scandal. ONE PUNK UNDER GOD plunges into Jay Bakkers candid and unorthodox ministry, and his bittersweet relationships with his cancer-afflicted mother and estranged father. Jay honestly, and sometimes painfully, explores a more tolerant Christianity where malcontents and misfits can worship in their own way. With a wife who wants him out of the ministry, conservative backers who are uncomfortable with his evolving stance on homosexuality, and personal demons to battle, Jays journey is a modern day parable of forgiveness and virtue.
As this Sundance documentary series makes clear, you've never met anyone quite like Jay Bakker. Son of Jim and Tammy Faye, Jay became an evangelist, but the similarities stop there. Despite a vague resemblance to his father, the heavily-tattooed former drug addict takes an alternative approach to Christianity. He and his Revolution parishioners meet in a bar rather than a church, and their head office is located in an auto-body repair shop. Directed by Jeremy Simmons (TransGeneration
) and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye
), One Punk Under God
is sympathetic to its subject, but it's no propaganda piece. Jay's wife, Amanda, supports her husband, but admits she'd rather see him do something else. Jay also receives funding from a conservative foundation, even though his own politics are liberal. Then again, his business partner is a Republican. Clearly, Jay Bakker is a man of contradictions.
Aside from his ministry, which takes a hit when Jay announces his support for gay marriage, this six-part program explores his personal life. During the series, he reconnects with his father, spends time with his mother (Tammy Faye was battling stage-four cancer during filming), and moves from Atlanta to Brooklyn. (Like his parents, Jay has also written a book, Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows.) One Punk under God is sure to make provocative viewing for Christians and non-Christians alike. Extras include 16 minutes of deleted scenes and a Bakker family photo album. --Kathleen C. Fennessy