Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Review of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

I went to Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, at the Heartland Film Festival, wondering if I would love or hate the movie.

As a liberal Christian, I had twice the chance of being upset by Dan Merchant's documentary, where he "sets out to discover why the Gospel of Love is dividing America."

Merchant spent three years looking at utterances from as well as interviewing people on both sides of the debate, including Pastor Rick Warren (author of A Purpose Driven Life), former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, Al Franken, Sister Mary Timothy of the Church of Perpetual Indulgence, Tony the Beat Poet and Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz.

Merchant lays out the debate, and gives us example after example of the angry, divisive language from Jerry Falwell, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. And just when you think we're on the brink of a religious-cultural civil war, Merchant shows us that not all hope is lost.

We get to hear from Pastor Rick Warren, who has earned so much money from Purpose Driven Life, that he stopped taking a salary from his church, and paid back 24 years worth of his salary; from Tony the Beat Poet and Donald Miller, who put up a confessional on the campus of Reed College during the Ren Fayre end-of-the-year party; a group of churches who tend to and minister to the homeless in Portland, Oregon; and Merchant's own confessional at the Portland Pride Festival.

I've often said that politics are the one thing that people get the most upset about, even though it’s the one thing we can't do anything about. Add religion to that list. It's a topic that has divided our country, even though people claim to be spouting off in the name of the man who preached love and acceptance.

I get tired of all the dreck from the conservative Christian pundits and religious leaders who claim to speak for all Christians. And as I watched, a seed of thought germinated in me, and I left with one thought about those people:

You don't speak for me.

When you spew hate and intolerance for people who don't agree with you, you don't speak for me. When you hate people in the name of the Lord, you don't speak for me. When you boil your hatred down to an antagonistic 9-word slogan and stick it on your car, you don't speak for me.

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers is not for everyone. But if you're willing to be challenged in how you think of Christianity and how it's used in this country today, go see this movie. But go fast, but it's only at the Heartland Film Festival until Tuesday.

After that, you can visit the Lord, Save Us website to get the movie screened in your church.

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