Monday, July 23, 2007

RIP Tammy Faye

The story of Tammy Faye tells us so much about corruption, redemption, the power of God and why Americans are such cool people.

Americans love redemption. Your life is not over if you commit some public scandal or even a horrible crime. You can survive and find new life if you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions and rebuild your life on an honest foundation. Very few people are willing to examine themselves with brutal frankness, and fewer still are willing to submit themselves with total spiritual openness to God and everybody. But Tammy Faye did just that and America embraced her for it.

When her life was ruined by the PTL scandal, it was right and good that she was the number one target of public mockery. She certainly earned it. And it was a whole lot of fun for all of us.

But then she got it. She did exactly what Jesus told us to do - love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. The entirety of proper Christian spiritual practice is contained in those eight words. That's the way she lived the rest of her life and by doing so gained a far more profound influence than she ever had.

I avoid reality tv as a rule, but I was hooked on the first season of The Surreal Life. Tammy Faye was such a compelling figure. Everybody loved her because she loved everybody. She could go into any crowd - gays, bikers, punk rockers, even the Chamber of Commerce - and immediately set them at ease with her, because she immediately accepted them for who they were.

Her ability to poke fun at herself without even the slightest trace of resentment spoke volumes about her repentance. She looked unflinchingly at her old corrupt self and laughed at her right along with us.

I will miss her. It sounds crazy now that I think about it this way, but my top priority in life is to be more like Tammy Faye. Loving, accepting, forgiving. By doing so, Tammy Faye was in turn loved, accepted and forgiven.


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5:05 AM  

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