Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Lord Save Us..." The Movie

Can I just say that generally speaking, I avoid movies made by Christians about Christianity. It is not that I don't appreciate the attempt to redeem the arts and give a talented individual a venue for using his or her gifts. I don't even fault them for using film as a way of espousing a particular theological or philosphical viewpoint...filmakers and screenwriters do that all of the do musicians and authors. I guess that my beef has always been not that it is Christian film-making, but that it is bad film-making. I remember back in the 60's when Pat Boone starred in "The Cross and the Switchblade". Then in the late 70's and 80's there was a rash of rapture/second-coming movies. The "Left Behind" book series spawned an equally insipid movie, and then there have been a few more in recent years that have been more universally appealing and higher quality. I'm not saying that you have to have a big producton budget to have a quality movie. Independent films and documentaries have proven that is not always the case. Last year our friend Justin Dillon did a marvelous job with limited resources and donated talent to make a startlingly beautiful and compelling rockumentary, "Call and Response", addressing he issue of human trafficking in the world.

Well another such noteworth effort by a Christian just trying to raise the valid question about the state of the church and its ineffectiveness in meeting the needs of the world it professes to love is documented in Dan Merchant's wonderful documentary openin in austin this weekend, entitled, "Lord Save Us From Your Followers - Why the Gospel of Love is Dividing America!". I had coffee with Dan a couple of weeks ago as he was making a whirlwind pass through Texas trying to get some inertia for the opening of the moving in the Christian community. The Portland native is funny, down to earth, refuses to take himself too seriously, and has a deep passsion for helping the followers of Jesus rethink the way they relate to culture and to the needs of the world. He began his pilgrimage to engage people on he street with discussing the their perceptions of Jesus, God, followers of Christ and the Church by standing in Times Square wearing a garish jumpsuit (Sorry Dan, you looked like my Grandpa Tony ready to roll up on a creeper under a jacked-up 51' Chevy pick-up) decorated with bumper stickers carrying varous Christian sayings and messages. He gets some interesting and insightful responses, as you would guess. He also interviews talking heads from both sides of the theological and political aisle like Tony Campolo, Michael Reagan, Sister Mary Timothy, Al Franken, and many more.

I believe Dan's movie raises some valid questions about the way we has followers of Jesus are hurting the cause of Christ and not helping. I urge you to take some time to see it this weekend if you are here in Austin (Gateway Regal Cinema)or to check the movie website to find out if it is playing in your area.

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