You are probably familiar with “megachurch pastor” T.D. Jakes, whose stepson recently exposed himself to undercover police officers. (The kid’s attorney is apparently called “Faith Johnson”, which is pretty much the best name possible for someone involved with a religious exposure case.)
The news story is unfortunately vague on what this “exposure” entailed, forcing me to use my abnormally vivid imagination; nonetheless, I am more interested in the pastor’s reaction:
Jakes told his congregation Sunday that he would provide “help, support and restorative grace” to his stepson
“Help” I understand, as I can easily envision a dad pitching in to help buy his kid some pants.
“Support” I understand as well. Maybe the kid had good reasons for exposing himself, and if so a dad might want to encourage him.
Where I get hung up is “restorative grace”, because — although my seminary days are long behind me — I am pretty sure that “restorative grace” can only be parceled out by god. (Ignoring, of course, the fact that “restorative grace” doesn’t mean anything.) Thus, unless he was misquoted, Jakes is claiming himself to be god.
Now there are certainly similarities. Both are large Black men. Both like to wear fancy clothes and drive expensive cars. And now both have sons who have publicly exposed themselves (although “in a park” is a smidge less impressive than “on a cross, surrounded by spear-poking Romans”). Nonetheless, godliness is a pretty astonishing claim to make, and one (i.e. me) wishes that the mainstream media had given it as much scrutiny as they did when President Nixon claimed he could provide the Fruit of the Holy Spirit to his contributors.