Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp. I watched this movie last night and am trying to wrap my hands around my thoughts. This is a documentary type film which attempts to define Evangelical Christianity and its "(requirement for) Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement." The film follows three young kids (ages approximately 9-12) to the "Kid's on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota.

So how do I feel after watching this film? Not too good.

One of my biggest criticisms is that they lump all of Evangelical Christians into this one group, portraying all evangelicals to have a political agenda and a "war to take back America" mentality. I would call myself an evangelical by definition. But as I watched this film I felt the need to defend my position (as my husband would tell you; I started to preach a little).

Yes, I believe scripture is clear that we should be praying for our country's leadership and standing for truth. But righteous government is not the answer to our spiritual state. Christ is. I also think we need a wartime mentality, understanding that there is a spiritual battle taking place (see Ephesians 6). But we are not at war with people; we are at war with the enemy of God. If we start to think we are at war against people then the foundational tenet of love will be replaced with hate for those Christ came to redeem.

I am not judging the heart or motive of the evangelicals in this film. But from what was shown in the 84 minutes of the movie, not once was love for others mentioned. I want to teach my kids to stand for truth in a world that doesn't. And I want my kids to be passionate followers of the Lord. But most of all I want my kids to be motivated by love, love for God and love for others. If we don't pass the torch of love, then we have missed the mark.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)

Do my kids see love in me? Oh, how I hope so.

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Erin said...

I watched this same movie and felt similarly to you. I think that my biggest disappointment was that it was not a true documentary but seemed rather biased in it's presentation of this sect of evangelicals. And, it was disturbing that the very groups who do not want people painted with one big brush or lumped into broad sterotypical categories lumped all evangelicals into this mold.

I think another sad thing that I came away with is the guilt and pressure that was being put on children. I do think that we are in a culture war and that as Christians we are called to war. But, children should not be asked to participate in war. Children should be able to enjoy their childhoods and not have the worries and pressures of adult "soldiers."

lara said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you mentioned. What is really disheartening is that people, who may be wanting to understand more about Jesus, would watch this film and think it is a true portrayal of all evangelicals. So sad on many counts.

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