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The Eyes of Tammy Faye


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There's no dedicated thread on the 2000 documentary, and after my second viewing I beleieve it is worth its own.

I don't know if I ever liked Jim or Tammy Faye. Sure, I started off over twenty years ago going to the same school as them -- North Central Bible College, Minneaplois, MN -- and they were famous for more than being TV preachers there because they dedicated skyways to the college to help us through the nasty Minnesota winters. (Thanks Jim and Tammy!)

But I got out of that school as fast as possible, and really, that's about all I knew of them. (As far as entertainment goes, I guess I always preferred Benny Hinn a little more. He could blow on you and you would fall over. Maybe it was his breath, I was never really certain.)

But the doc puts Tammy Faye in a new light for me, maybe its even where I'm at in life right now, five years since the last time I watched it. I loved her character. Was she quirky? Absolutely. A little spoiled by Jim's money? Without a doubt. Was her singing really that hard on the ears? Well, I'm pretty sure her albums won't ever get listed in our music forum.

But what I loved about Tammy Faye was her heart. Wow, I wish I had a heart like hers. Hard times would hit her, over and over and over again. Church people turned on them as quickly as they embraced them. People jumped to conclusions without knowing the facts. The media completely desecrated her, on the basis of her goofiness (she was on drugs for a bit) but mostly because her husband was an adulterer. And man, did people latch on to that. This thing supposedly lasted like, fifteen minutes in a hotel room after a massage. And it was some eight or nine years before the fact that it was revealed. The media and Christians in general and in particular, the Devil Himself (oops sorry, I guess I meant Jerry Falwell) just crushed these people like little ants. And then they took from them everything they'd built, all their dreams, their hopes for God and man, their hopes for Christianity in general.

I don't know, maybe I'm being too nice to Tammy Faye, God rest her soul. But I loved her ability to bounce back, to desire reconciliation, to forgive the Monster (oops sorry about that again, I meant Falwell), to always search out hope in Jesus, her refuge and strength. I loved how she loved gay people and fought for AIDS rights all the way back in 1981. I loved how she saw the camera as "people," and hoped to make contact with people through everything she had to offer: her compassion, her spunk, her songs and her heart for God.

I guess no one will ever know the full truth about what happened to the PTL club or why Jim Bakker was brought down. But if what we saw in the doc about Tammy Faye is even close to the truth, there's a character there that we can learn from.

Tammy Faye, I hope you get to have lunch with Jesus on a regular basis now. I hope you are healed of all hurt, and enjoying the presence of God as much as you desired when you were here.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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OH PS -- how cool is this? I get to follow up the film with One Punk Under God, Jay Bakker's documentary available at Netflix. I read his book years ago. Love him. Can't wait.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Jay's reality show when it was on the Sundance Film Channel a couple years ago, and think it shows once again, what a wonderfully kooky-yet-loving person Tammy Faye was. I totally dug her. And while the doc went a long way toward softening me up, ultimately it was her appearance on the Surreal Life alongside Ron Jeremy and Vanilla Ice that made me totally respect her.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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  • 11 years later...

Does anyone know anything about the upcoming film of the same title staring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield? Apparently it's set to release in September 2021 but I haven't seen a trailer for it yet and I am curious to know the film's status.

He finds no mercy

And he's lost in the crowd

With an armoured heart of metal

He finds he's running out of odd-numbered daisies

From which to pull the petals

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6 hours ago, winter shaker said:

Does anyone know anything about the upcoming film of the same title staring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield? Apparently it's set to release in September 2021 but I haven't seen a trailer for it yet and I am curious to know the film's status.

I got an e-mail for a publicist saying the film will be available in September and "more information" was coming in May.    Sounds like they are going to do at least some marketing to evangelical press.

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Thanks! Sounds like I'll be reading John Wigger's PTL this summer in prep for the movie!

He finds no mercy

And he's lost in the crowd

With an armoured heart of metal

He finds he's running out of odd-numbered daisies

From which to pull the petals

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  • 5 weeks later...

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