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Case Number 13326: Small Claims Court

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T.D. Jakes: Reposition Yourself

Genius Products // 2008 // 56 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ian Visser (Retired) // March 28th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge Ian Visser's idea of repositioning is to move his disposable investment income from T-Bills to high-yield mutual funds.

The Charge

"What are you going to do with the time that you have left?"

The Case

From the darkness he emerges. A huge man, dressed in a fine double-breasted suit, his massive head shines in the indirect light. He slowly taps a microphone, its thumping echo mirroring the counting seconds of our lives. With a booming baritone of thunder, the man recounts a familiar passage from the bible: a time to live, a time to die, a time to sew, and a time to reap. As the refrain concludes, T.D. Jakes, bishop and head of the Potter's House mega-church, steps from the shadows to ask that most important question: what are you going to do with the time that you have left?

Chances are you have come across T.D. Jakes or his ministry even if you aren't a follower of his message. Jakes' largely African-American congregation numbers more than 32,000 members and Jakes himself is the author of more than thirty books. Each week his sermons are broadcast to millions around the world from his church in Dallas, Texas, and he has graced the cover of Time magazine as one of the most influential religious voices of the current age. Jakes himself is a very charismatic presence, filling the classical role of the preacher who has "the spirit," sweat streaming from his bald head as the assembled crowd reacts with cries and yells to his sermons.

But unfortunately for Jakes, his message and actions have drawn some fire. He has faced criticism for his extravagant lifestyle (he favors expensive suits and luxury cars) and for espousing the growing trend of the "prosperity" doctrine. Jakes and his ilk (such as fellow mega-church leader Joel Osteen) have suggested that God wants his followers to be financial successful as well as spiritually fulfilled, and have largely abandoned traditional liturgical worship for what amounts to an extended sermon. The movement has been dubbed "Christianity Lite" for the feel-good back-patting it provides, and it draws criticism for appealing to Americans who want "spirituality" but not religion.

Created as a companion for the book of the same name, T.D. Jakes: Reposition Yourself chronicles people who have "repositioned" themselves in order to gain emotional, social, and financial rewards. By using Jakes' five steps (revelation, inspiration, formalization, institutionalization, and crystallization) people are able to move beyond the boundaries which hold them in place and achieve new success. The film uses footage of related sermons intercut with interviews of Jakes to detail how the process works and the benefits it can deliver.

Several success stories are presented in the film, from entrepreneurs and former drug addicts to individuals once mired in poverty and despair. Key among the elements for success is the presence of God in a person's life; repositioning is not a secular undertaking but one that requires a greater source of power and inspiration. Moreover, repositioning is on-going process that must be continued throughout ones' life in order to ensure lasting happiness. Achieving a goal or success is not the end, but only the beginning of a new journey to the next success that is waiting to be met.

Admittedly, there isn't much difference between the program that Jakes' promotes over that of the typical self-help or motivational course. A participant is expected to identify the factors restricting their success or happiness and work towards removing these barriers in order to progress as a person. The main requirement with repositioning, of course, is that adherents must use the power and influence of God in order to garner the necessary strength to break through any restrictive behaviors. I have no problem with this concept, and certainly using God as an inspiration has delivered many people from a life of misery to one of satisfaction and stability.

No, the problem here is that viewers learn next to nothing about the process itself. Although Jakes does initially list the five steps required to achieve repositioning, they are never touched upon again by him or those being profiled. Indeed, the concepts espoused here are so vague as to be almost intangible; there is a lot of "what" behind the concept but very little "how," leaving viewers with no clear idea of how to proceed after watching the film. As such, this effort feels more like a come-on to buy the accompanying book than a stand-alone tool to create change in one's life.

Content aside, T.D. Jakes: Reposition Yourself is a well-made and high quality product. Shot in the full-frame ratio and accompanied by 2-channel Dolby Digital sound, the film presents a solid viewing experience. There are no extras available.

As a tool T.D. Jakes: Reposition Yourself is simply too blunt to do anything but inspire in a general way. That may be enough for some, but those who want to undertake Jakes' methods will need to investigate further if they want specific details on how to use the repositioning concept in their lives.

The defendant is found guilty of disappointing the jury with a lot of exposition, but very little evidence.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: Genius Products
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Instructional
• Religious and Spiritual

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• The Potter's House of Dallas

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