Posts Tagged ‘T.D. Jakes’

It all began with “The Passion of the Christ,” I suppose. And thank God it did.

Then, from the ashes of cutting floors everywhere sprouted wonderful films “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof” that did something most Christian movies didn’t – made Hollywood stand up and take notice.

Typically, and unfortunately, the term is “Christian movie” and not “movies that are Christian”. There is a difference because perception is reality and people determine that reality with their movie ticket. (Tell that to the makers of “The Omega Code“… woof!)

The Potter's House in Dallas, Bishop T. D. Jakes

If Jakes can fill this house weekly, a box office is far from unlikely

And now, comes the prolific Bishop T.D. Jakes – from preaching to writing to screenplays. Now, his movies are giving Hollywood pause, as seen in a recent article from the Christian Post:

Bishop T.D. Jakes is attempting to change the “Hollywood machine” – what has at times been considered a “tool of the devil” by Christians – into a platform to potentially reach millions of unchurched with Christian messages.

Jakes just completed shooting of his third film, “Jumping the Broom” described as “an upcoming faith and family movie that follows the clashing of two families from different backgrounds during a weekend wedding.”

Pastor of the more than 30,000-member church The Potter’s House, Jakes told The Christian Post that he was drawn to this film when he looked at the script and saw the many ways it speaks about bringing together people from different backgrounds.

The story about a husband and a wife from fictional Taylor and Watson families with divergent socioeconomic backgrounds is also a step – in the bishop’s mind – to de-alienate Christians from Hollywood. It’s a chance for Christians to get their message out through Hollywood’s “megaphone.”

Mel Gibson. Kirk Cameron. And Bishop T.D. Jakes?!

There’s a troika you wouldn’t expect, but it seems they have done the unthinkable – given Hollywood a little faith.

As a megachurch pastor, however, Jakes is looking for that “sweet spot” where he can find harmony between Hollywood’s definition of entertainment – where blood, gore and sex often overrule moral concern – and Christian, family values. “We are trying to find balance. I find that people, as a rule, don’t go to see films that are overtly medicinal. They really want to be entertained, so we are trying to find our sweet spot between entertainment and humor and message.”

A school of Christian fish. Classy.

WARNING: Certainly a bad driver

This is something so close to who I am in that an ichthus needs to stand for something more than shady business people, dolts looking for short cuts and manners that would Emily Post dog cuss your mama. Say what you will about the man, but his methods to bring awareness and glory for God is working.

“Christian movies” are largely considered to be cheap, poorly written, terribly acted and carries those three familiar words that most Christ followers have become accustomed, “Straight to DVD.”

Apparently, that’s the not the case any more. “Jumping the Broom” (which is slated for a Mother’s Day 2011 release) has an all-star cast featuring the incomparable Angela Bassett… and uh, a bunch of other folks whose name I don’t remember. (I’m so partial. Sue me.) Certainly, the script has dynamic possibilities. More importantly, there’s a cryptic message to be learned as well.

The term “Jumping the Broom” comes from slave wedding ceremonies that would offer both the husband and wife a chance for “Decision Making honors” in the home with a test of jumping height. Whoever wins, wins.

Such is life for what Bishop Jakes is trying to accomplish – let’s see if a “Christian movie” can jump high enough to capture box office supremacy for at least a week. It will create a buzz in Hollywood and could make the elite question what they do and how they do it.

Oh sure, the blood-gore-sex recipe will never fade, but possibly productions with a purpose can still make a profit. And let’s be honest, in that town, that’s the Gospel truth. Preach on, brother. Preach on.

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Ah, man. Where’s a good playwright when you need one to talk to the Church? So, did TV land hear that adage? TBN? Daystar? Someone? Anyone?

It’s important to ask the two big faith-based networks because it’s their clientele pulling back the curtain and their shows for network TV.

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Go ahead, name the preacher… to whom you used to give offerings? Jakes, Parsley, Meyer, White, Hinn, Robertson, Dollar, Long, Dobson, et al. According to this story in the USA Today, even the celebrities of Christendom are feeling the pinch in this economy.

The industry shows signs of contraction at a time when its future is fraught with uncertainty. And it’s not just the economic downturn that is causing turmoil: last year, a study found that the percentage of megachurches with a radio ministry dropped from 44% in 2000 to 24% in 2008. Likewise, the percentage with television ministries dropped from 38% to 23%.

When Christian television was created, its premise was to exalt God and see people edified. Nowadays, that formula for success is a bit askew as money seems to be exalted and preachers are deified.

To save on production costs and those picturesque, on-location remotes, these folk have made fewer shows for broadcast, which means the networks don’t get their coin.

See, it’s cyclical – you payer, donate to the ministry, they pay the network and a star is born.

In this economy, you don’t… and they don’t… and Christian television becomes a black hole.

You see, when folk presume you are dripping with cash, hand-made suits and all that bling, they keep their cash and you get stuck with a larger bill. MEMO to the megachurch megaminister: If perhaps you appeared more modest, people would find more than lint in that piggy bank bellybutton to give you. Just like it used to be. However…

“The industry is at a crossroads,” says Paul Creasman, associate professor of communications at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C., and a former Christian radio personality and producer. “The audience is dwindling, and they have to figure out what to do. But the Web is not the answer because older audiences don’t use the Internet… and younger audiences will go to the Web for content, but they’ll probably be less likely to donate.”

Moving content online may be broadcasting’s future, but it’s a nerve-wracking endeavor that doesn’t necessarily pay the bills of the present. “Everyone (in religious broadcasting) is doing it,” he said. “And everyone is asking each other: ‘Are you making money at it? Because we’re not.‘”

Listen, in case it’s a news flash to some folk, ministries have to ask for money to survive. They rely on the kind hearts, open minds and yielding spirits of the Body of Christ to give. If the world can uphold causes like breast cancer, the MDA, HIV, Katrina and a tsunami, certainly a ministry shouldn’t be that far out of reach?!

The problem is that people don’t see the ministry being blessed, it’s the ministers. We have all seen the stories and heard the tales of woe. When those cease, despite the beneficence of some on TBN and Daystar who are doing it right, money will drop.

Kinda like pennies from heaven, and wouldn’t all of that be an experience man could learn from?

(Masonry shout out to Another Brick in the Wall, “Get Religion” for the nice magazine cover).

To include "repositioning yourself" on the couch and catch "Return of the Jedi"

To include "repositioning yourself" on the couch and catch "Return of the Jedi"

It was a day of pomp, circumstance and about two million of the Obama’s closest friends. But none of that hullabaloo stopped the BarackStar and family from going to church for the first time as the first family.

So, off they went to St. John’s Episcopal Church, better known as “The Church of the Presidents”, to hear the dulcit tones of “America’s Best Preacher,” Bishop T.D. Jakes… because when you want to kick things off, a brother has to go all out. Right?

According to Time magazine, his message for concise and was the polestar of the day’s festivities:

Dallas pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes offered a warning as well as a blessing: “You cannot change what you will not confront,” he said. “This is a moment of confrontation in this country … The problems are mighty and the solutions are not simple, and everywhere you turn there will be a critic waiting to attack every decision that you make. But you are all fired up, sir, and you are ready to go. And this nation goes with you. God goes with you.

I’m sure there was more homiletics involved, but he was personally asked by the president to preach, so what do you expect? A fire and brimstone message of how sinners will burn in hell, even those with a peculiar middle name that sounds remarkably Muslimer, anti-Christian?! Not so much.

However, if the mand of Gawd (S’up ST) was fallible in any area of his fecund message was his small talk and proclivity for pop culture references, according to the great Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News:

According to the media pool report of Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day Prayer Service, Bishop T.D. Jakes messed up on his pop-culture science fiction… and ended his prayer with: I say to you as my son who is here today, my 14-year-old son – he probably would not quote scripture. He probably would use Star Trek instead, and so I say, ‘May the force be with you.”

“Keep it real.” I love it when that phrase sticks close to the vest… or the collar. Nice, indeed.

There is a new movie in a theater near you based on a book by Bishop T.D. Jakes, “Not Easily Broken.”

Have you read the book? No? Here’s HiScrivener’s synopsis:

not-easily-brokenThere’s this L.A. preacher named Albert Hall (played stoically and remarkably by Jakes), and warming his pews is a lovely couple, Dave (played by Morris Chestnut, Ricky from the iconic “Boyz N The Hood”) and Clarice (played by Taraji P. Henson, Whitney Rome from “Boston Legal”).

The two lovebirds in public are rapidly drifting apart in private, and it all started with a tragic car wreck that ruined Dave’s hopeful shot at a baseball career.

Of course, it doesn’t help that his wife is oblivious to his feelings, not at all interested in having a baby and has a mother (played by Jenifer Lewis, who used to crack me up as Aunt Helen in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) who is an emasculating wench who likes her love served up cold and bitter. Vicious!

So, in the spirit of dual-overtone compensation (both for the game and the child), Dave coaches little league baseball and hangs out with his two “bros”, the ubiquitous and overrated casanova (played by Eddie Cibrian, known as the great Jimmy Doherty on “Third Watch”) and the generic vociferous and droll second banana (played by Kevin Hart, known as the host of BET’s “One Night Stand”).

And of course, Dave is the habitual yet flimflam character who waxes philanthropic by mentoring an ex-con and harmonic by befriending… [cue horror music]… the white, single mother.

Plot plays out the way you think: Mom and wifey discover the error of their misguided ways, Hubby has a “Come to Jesus” meeting and looks at himself in the mirror (without his shirt nonetheless) and the boys chill the freak out and become the friends they should. Happily Ever After. The End.

Now, while there are obviously some redemptive messages and a universal theme that would make Jesus proud, Dave’s wife and mother-in-law are so over the top. I mean, it’s vexatious. Almost like they are both Lorena Bobbitt eagerly suiting Dave up for a good night’s sleep. Tense.

not-easily-broken-movieWhat’s refreshing is the relationship between Dave and “the white girl” is wholesome and not some surriptious means to assuage white guilt, which can be seen on oh, more than a thousand movies. News Flash: Some of us actually can and do get along! At least that is what I learned in a certain fraternity espousing brotherhood. Anywhoo…

The movie has an adept cast who can weave a verbal tapestry of comic relief, dramatic nuance and thought-provoking dialogue… if only they were given a chance throughout the entire film, which (forgive the pun) has a script that seems “broken”.

Yet, through it all, you understand needing open communication, having a tight circle of friends, maintaining introspective honesty with self and God, allowing transparency in a godly marriage and throughout it all, realizing why dogmatic truths work in a relationship. No condemnatory finger pointing, just a fleeting glance of what you can have, if only you believe in God enough to try.

This week on “Cross Eyed” – The Wall’s video evangelism “Brickhouse Series” – we have a doozie.

Bishop T.D. Jakes was bound and gagged by Sally Quinn of “On Faith” and given a 20 minute interview. Although the extended version found here speaks about his book, his faith and his upbringing, there is a six-minute “highlight” version seen below.

  • Palin’s daughter being pregnant – He knows form whence he speaks, and IMHO, does so candidly and eloquently.
  • Supporting Obama – Now, now. Before you shout to the heavens, “A-ha!” Steady. He speaks about what HiScrivener posted months ago in the shadow of his controversial editorial about having “visible goose bumps”. For the record, I don’t care who he votes for, as long as that vote is kept private from his church. As long as he focuses on ISSUES, it’s all right by me.
  • This historic election – I have often said and penned this is an historic election – one where a black man and a woman can be voted into the White House. Astonishing. 60 years ago, folk were hanging people that looked like Barack and longer than that, Sarah Palin was expected to make the bed and breakfast, not decisions about American policy. Regardless the party, these people are making history.
  • Not being a Christian nation – We are not. Sorry for the wake-up call, but there are more faiths in this country than any other. Embrace diversity, yes, but understand the differences.

And now, Wall Watchers, on with the show… which, uh, has a caveat: Do yourself a favor, FAST FORWARD TO 1:06 on this. The original feed takes eons to upload so I went to YouTube, and someone is using this video to preach his twisted message. Just go past it. Please?