Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thoughts & Sunday Song

J and I watched the documentary "Jesus Camp" tonight. I had watched part of it in my Sociology of Religion class, but had never finished watching it. I found it on YouTube, so I decided to finish it. I asked Justin to watch it with me because I wanted some feedback from him about the movie. At first, he had a few comments about how "that's kind of cool". I remember having the same feelings. But soon, he started having the intensely negative reaction that I remember having when I saw the movie for the first time. It's just so ODD to watch a group of people who classify themselves as being the same religion that I would classify myself (albeit different sects), behave so completely differently than I would. To say things, justifying them through faith, that I would never say. Personally, I have strong feelings about evangelism, and do not believe that evangelism should happen the way that it does in this movie. I also believe that just because I'm a Christian, I don't have to denounce the idea of global warming, as individuals in this movie suggest. They CAN co-exist. I do not believe that CHILDREN (nor anyone for that matter) should be forced to publicly confess their sins. Yes, confess your sins, but confess them in your heart, not publicly. And I'm sorry, but I absolutely do not believe that praying over and then compelling a bowling ball to make a strike before bowling is necessary.

Towards the end of the movie (the part that I had missed), they show Ted Haggard giving a sermon regarding the evils of homosexuality off his Palm Treo at his home church. He made several completely inappropriate comments during his sermon to the camera-man, including, "I know what you did last night. Give me $1000, and I promise not to tell your wife." Justin didn't immediately pick up on the irony of those comments, but when I told him that Ted Haggard has since admitted to his own homosexuality AND purchasing crystal meth (I know that he claims he didn't actually use it, but judging by the change in his facial structure, I'd beg to differ), J became pretty irate.

For me, the part that's so difficult about this whole thing is that for many, this movie is a portrayal of Christians, as a whole. I know that many people in my Soc. of Religion class didn't know or understand that the people profiled in the movie were a fairly extremist, though growing, sect of Christianity. And I'm sure that this movie repelled many a person from Christianity. Hell, it repelled ME, and I AM a Christian. Ugh.

So, without further adieu, the Sunday Song for this week is "Instead of A Show", by Jon Foreman. Now, I know that I just did a song by Switchfoot last week, and that's kind of ironic since I haven't been listening to Jon Foreman (who is the lead singer for Switchfoot) OR Switchfoot much recently. But, the lyrics to this one particular song kept popping into my head while watching "Jesus Camp". Taken from Isaiah 1:11-17 (A Message for Rebellious Judah), the lyrics say, "I hate all your show. Away with your noisy worship. Away with your noisy praise. I stop up my ears when you're singing them, I hate all your show. Instead, let there be a flood of justice."

This particular sentiment flies right in the face of what those in the movie portrayed. In fact, one little girl who appeared to be 9 or 10 suggested that God doesn't like to visit quiet churches. He only likes to visit churches where the worshipers are loud and 'on fire'--where people lift up their hands to praise Him. Sigh.


  1. Excellent post. You peaked my interest about "Jesus Camp," and I just might have to go check it out.

  2. I watched this about two years ago with a friend of mine who was raised by a Jewish father and a Christian mother, and who is not a Christian, but grew up in the church. It was an interesting perspective and I enjoyed talking with her about it afterwards. The thing that really bothered both of was that the Children's Minister KNEW she was indoctrinating the kids, admitted it, yet still believed it was a good thing to basically brain wash them. I’ve always believed the reason Christ said we had to be like little children to enter the kingdom of God is because of their innocence, their ability to look behind politics or what our culture says is right, and she was taking that away from them.

    Sorry to leave a novel on my first comment here – but I have strong feelings about what’s going on in this documentary. I agree with you – this is no way represents what I believe, and I hate it that people look at this and think its what all Christians are like.


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