Friday, December 21, 2007

i've calmed down enough to try to write about this

Last week, I finally saw Jesus Camp. I'll skip the general outrage over what those people are making my faith into and get to three specific things that still stick with me.

1. When "speaking in tongues," everyone sounded more like they were speaking ComedyWorks/Sportz-styled gibberish. I don't like the idea of making fun of the way that any non-scientologist expresses his or her faith. I suppose quiet reflection and personal prayer aren't for everyone. Yet, whenever I sit in a room full of folks who prefer to express their faith in this manner, it tends to turn into a "my tongues are louder than your tongues" contest. I'm always uncomfortable when someone makes a showy prayer in any language, real or otherwise.

2. The only thing that really surprised me in this movie was how blatantly political some of the "preachers" were. I'm not talking about the crazy anti-choice guy, even. I'm talking about praying for a cardboard cutout of Bush the W(I have doubts about the same camp praying over a William Jefferson Clinton cardboard cutout that way). I'm talking about prayer for the nomination of an evil judge. I'm talking about teaching kids that the dirty liberals want to steal God from them. And I'm talking about how they don't even try to disguise how political it all is. Bad form.

3. The leader of the titular Jesus Camp, while showing all the ways in which she dumbs down the Christian Faith for her campers, basically tells us that her impression is that the young people don't want to think or read; they just want to be told what to do. And here's my main issue. She basically admits that this branch of crazy doesn't encourage any study or thought about that book that they put so much stock in. This is why they think the world is 6,000 years old and that the rapture is more than a plot device for a Kirk Cameron movie. I'd be less concerned, but the idea that people are idiots that won't respond to anything but the simplest message has slimed its way into more than just Pentecostal, Pentecostal Baptist, and Pentecostal Freewill Holiness Baptist churches. It's found its way into the United Methodist church, and that makes me very sad.

If anyone knows how I can take the direction of the church away from these people, I'd be happy to listen.


Lee Creighton said...

Well said Ben. I personally believe that there is no god, but had exactly the same reaction to the film.

Lisa P said...

Haven't seen the film, but I think the biggest problem with "religion" these days is that people really don't want to put any effort into studying what they propose to believe. Too many people just want someone to tell them what to do and believe, and they can't be bothered questioning things that don't ring true, because that would require them to think.

Of course, there are also those who do study, but only to find the bits and pieces that appear to support what they've been told to believe. Those folks don't mind thinking. They're just too proud to admit that maybe they are wrong about something.

So, sloth and pride. I'm sure the other five sins are in there somewhere, too.