A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp focuses on Pentecostal preacher Becky Fleischer and the children and families that attend her annual summer camp "Kids on Fire Summer Camp" though considerably more time is spent on her, Levi (now 13), Rachel (now 10), and Tory (now 11). The film presents an eye-opening look at a more disturbing side of Evangelical Christianity. Obviously any documentary is subject to editing and sound design and the message, themes, and characters can be given a slant, it gives you at least a sense of what is out there.

This comes as a jarring antithesis to my own personal life experiences. I recently discovered that I was an evangelical for most of my life and that many of my friends are, according to the sociological definition of the term. I had never even thought to consider that my experiences in my Presbyterian youth group and through YoungLife fell under that banner. I was always just a Christian. This Christianity presented in this film is not the Christianity that I experienced. I think it is important that when viewing this film, one not make sweeping generalizations. This is one particular woman and her church group, it does not represent the totality of American Christian, not even American Evangelical Christians.

As a Christian who believes in the overwhelming power of God and of the Good News, it breaks my heart to hear a pastor advocate for the "indoctrination" (her words) of youth. Indoctrination is what you must do when you do not have truth on your side. God doesn't need warriors, salespeople, or PR agents. He just needs devoted individuals to follow his commands. Love God and love our neighbors. He's God, I think he can handle the rest.


ADAM! said...

One thing I really did not like about this movie was that from the start, you knew it was going to be incredibly one sided. Just look at the title 'Jesus Camp', you knew that it was going to be making fun (or seemingly so) of these camps. Which, in my mind, are horrifying places, I would have liked it to be more 'fair and balanced'.

I am sure that after that I would have still been horrified by these camps, but it would have made me feel better about it.

Brian said...

I agree. It got a lot of quotables from various press and critics about how fair and balanced it was but you knew right away where the filmmakers were coming from.

The DJ served as a narrator for the director's perspective. I was also a little troubled by the soundtrack as it was hard to determine what music came from the camp and the church and which music was added by the filmmakers.

They no doubt injected their own opinions into the film (though, isn't that what movie making is all about?) but I think that some really important truths shined through regardless.

Adam!!! said...

So Brian, how are you doing on this lovely Wednesday night?

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