Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers
This documentary is superb. Quite possibly the best I have ever seen, especially regarding religious documentaries. I found it as engaging as it was entertaining. I found myself laughing at ironic beliefs one minute and then feeling a sense of profound conviction in the next. I was hooked by the title first and then by the simple, yet poignantly true catchphrase for the movie ...

Why is the gospel of LOVE dividing America?
Dan Merchant takes this simple question and loads of curiosity on the subject of religion to the streets in a white jumpsuit covered in both Christian & secular bumper stickers. He uses this ridiculous get-up to acquire attention that makes people stop and then he can engage them in conversation. "Just pick out your favorite one," he says. Simple enough? Some popular choices from the suit-o-stickers:

Abortion: "Big People Killing Little People"
Evolution vs Creationism: "God spoke and BANG it happened!"
Hypocrisy: "Get the hell out of my way, I'm late for church."

The goal of this movie is to open the discussion between all sides of faith & culture. More often than not, religious rhetoric is divisive at best and catastrophic at worst. The staggering number of people that have been hurt in the name of religion has always been shocking to me. This documentary shows what I have always believed - that above ALL, we are called to simply LOVE one another. 

"There are some basic religious principles that could bind us together, but as a society we choose to let them tear us apart instead." Just imagine if we really tried to have conversations about things we disagreed on. We might find that our reasons behind our beliefs aren't all that different after all. I can say without hesitation that this film left an impression on my soul, not just my mind. No matter what side of the religious fence you find yourself on, I strongly encourage you to watch this film. It is guaranteed to make you think. It might not change your mind, but it could open it. 

One of the most powerful parts of the film for me was Merchants take on the Donald Miller & Tony Kriz's "Confession Booth" idea that took place at Reed College. He takes it to the Portland Pride Northwest festivities and the conversations that took place inside the "confessional" are deeply moving. Words (especially in the form of an apology) have real, tangible power. Don't ever forget that. 
{If you just want to see that portion of the film, it starts @ approx. 1 hour 12 min}

Some of my favorite quotes from the movie:
"Preach the gospel constantly. use words only when absolutely necessary."
"I honestly don't care what your motivation is for doing good, as long as you do it."
"You don't have to legitimize someones lifestyle or choices in order to love that person."

For me it all boils down to this - "Life & people are complicated. Compassion should be freely given, not earned. Everyone has a 'rest of the story' that you may never know. Love them anyway."

Watch it on Netflix or free on Hulu.

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