Sometimes we need the Lord to save us from ourselves. I first heard about the documentary Lord, Save Us From Your Followers from an interview with Dan Merchant, the Writer/Director/Producer of the film, in a relevant podcast. He was very humble, down to earth, and seemed to have a genuine heart for wanting to find out why, "The Gospel of Love is Dividing America."
He set out on journey to begin a conversation in America about Faith. One of the most interesting things he talked about was how important issues have been driven to extremes -- made black and white with no room for discussion. He pointed at the media as one culprit of this, but doesn't exclude how the Church has taken this up as well. You're pro-life or pro-abortion. You're Pro-War or Anti-War. You're Democrat or Republican. Dan tried to break the ice by wearing a painter's suite covered in bumper stickers: everything from Jesus fish to Darwin. He explained that it allowed people to let their guard down and just talk to him about what they believed.
It seems people are no longer interested in anyone else's point of view, their story. All they want to know is if you are on this side or that side -- and if you're on "that" side, to tell you how wrong you are. Jesus was not afraid to turn over some tables, which he actually did to correct the "religious" establishment, but more often than not, he sat down with someone, ate a meal with them, listened to their story. If we would take the time to really listen to people, really hear about their struggles, their convictions, it might open a dialogue for truth. I believe there is real truth, absolute truth, but the point of truth is not to debase -- in fact Truth is really about setting people free.
Jesus' words keep coming up when I think about this topic, "They will know you by your love for one another." Let us set the example by not being caught up in petty disagreements, but come under the banner of Jesus. The Gospel is not rhetoric, or a theology, or a set or rules, or a three step process, or even a prayer -- the Gospel is a person and his story of redemption since the beginning of time. So, another hope of mine: that I will spend more time listening, really listening to the hurt and brokenness and opinions of others, then see if there might be Gospel words worth sharing.
If you want to find out more about the movie, check out http://lordsaveusthemovie.com. There is a really interesting interview with Dan Merchant from the Today Show or you can check out the Relevant Podcast from 7/28/08.