Bishop TD Jakes: To Solve Society’s Problems, We Must ‘Lead in the Public Square’

Maria Shriver sat down with Bishop TD Jakes on Monday, December, 5, for an engaging Architects of Change Live conversation about faith and finding our way as a nation.

Jakes is a best-selling author, filmmaker and the pastor of the Dallas non-denominational megachurch The Potter House. He also has his own syndicated talk show, The T.D. Jakes Show. In conversation with Shriver, Jakes acknowledged the power of media and spoke about how the information we consume influences our opinions as a society.

“It’s a very interesting time,” Jakes said. “Because we ingest information more rapidly than any other generation in history—because of social media, because of technology, because of 24-hour news cycles—we are bombarded with images around the clock. You get to pick your poison, but you’re going to be poisoned with either pick. At the end of the day, we have so much anxiety because we pick the poison that gets ratings, and that’s based on dividing us and terrifying us because calm stories don’t get eyeballs. For the benefit of gain, people are terrorizing us every day.”

Jakes spoke candidly with Shriver about how our country is reeling after the election and about how he is speaking to followers about how we can move forward together in our communities and in our country. According to Jakes, in order to combat the negative information that surrounds us, we must step outside our homes and make an active effort to engage and learn from those around us in real life.

The Resilience of Our Nation

Shriver asked Jakes if more people are turning to him now for advice on how to deal with their anxiety. Jakes said his instinct is that people are looking for that comfort. One thing he tells people is to remember that we have been here before as a nation.

“We go through cycles, these reboot cycles every generation,” Jakes said. “What has made America great is not that we haven’t been wrong, but through the process of blood and tears and sweat, we have corrected those wrongs.”

Uniting Our Country

Shriver asked Jakes about his belief that we all need to actively go out and engage with people who are different than us.

“If you’re going to solve anything, you have to lead in the public square,” Jakes said. “The problem is, we’re becoming increasingly tribal. … Anytime we become tribal—whether based on race or political party or affluence—it is always to the detriment of society. The more we integrate our society, not through just legislation, but go out of our way to experience other people’s food, and their culture and their habitat and get to know them with names other than stats, the more we find out that they’re not that different than us, and that there’s more that unites us than divides us.”

Pushing Jealousy Out of Your Life

Bishop Jakes and Shriver also touched upon other topics during their conversation, including the universal struggle of jealousy. Jakes spoke about a time he became jealous of a friend’s success and how he realized that by helping that friend, he could work toward pushing those negative feelings out of his heart. “You can’t curse the light in your neighbor’s window and expect yours still to burn,” Jakes said.

Watch Maria Shriver and Bishop TD Jake’s full Architects of Change Live conversation here:

For information on our Architects of Change Live series and upcoming events, go here.

About the Author

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Shriver Media is a 21st Century socially conscious media company that produces films, documentaries, original digital reporting and live events to inform, inspire, enlighten and entertain. Our team collaborates with like-minded partners and offers diverse media brands that we believe can impact individuals and society in a positive way. We ignite hearts and minds.

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