Ex-church member reviews “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers”

May 2, 2010

When I shared on Twitter about the free showing of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, my friend Angela replied, “can’t wait to read your blog thoughts on this”. I turned the tables and said, “You write it, and I’ll post it.” So as a follow-up to my review, here you go, a guest post by Angela Spain:

It has been three years since I have been in a Sunday morning church service. I don’t even go on holidays anymore. I think my family is more concerned than they let on. I don’t blame them. I am concerned as well. This has been the longest stretch of my life where I haven’t been involved in a spiritual community. I miss the community. (But that is a topic for another time.)

This last week, through a Facebook posting by Roy and through some major encouragement on my spouse’s part, I watched a new documentary: Lord, Save Us From Your Followers.

The last thirty minutes of the movie I was basically in tears the entire time.

I have seen my fair share of documentaries. However, I refuse to watch faith-based documentaries. In my opinion they are usually so biased in one direction or the other they end up being one person’s opinion; no, thanks. Not to mention the discussion of faith, spirituality, God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Judaism, and all those I have failed to name, is such a large topic that it can never be fully covered in 120 minutes.

That being said… I think this documentary is a fantastic and accurate snapshot of the state of Christianity today. While, as previously mentioned, there was not a lot of time to cover every area of Christianity since the beginning of time, it encompasses many of the thoughts of generations past and some of those in the present.

I think, just like the rest of the world, people fall on varying degrees of the Christian spectrum; and once we stop trying to figure out where people fall on that spectrum, comparing their lives to ours, determining who is morally right — then the chatter stops and the action begins. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here. I do believe in right and wrong. What I don’t believe in is the need to compare rights and wrongs. We have all made mistakes. We have all done the right thing. Now can we move on and start loving people?

The last thirty minutes of the movie I was basically in tears the entire time. (It draws tears to my eyes now as I write this.) My heart broke when Dan Merchant (the documentarian) said to a woman in the confessional, “I am sorry and I apologize for what the Christian community did when the AIDS epidemic broke out. Not only did we do nothing to help you, but we condemned and judged you” (rough paraphrase). My heart cried when the children in Africa being fed by World Vision saw us as a nation of love, help and support. My wounds of sadness and shame for the detrimental things we have done to people like Sister Mary Timothy (a wonderful drag queen in complete make-up and nun’s clothing) when we cast shame and judgement before we know the entire story of an individual who was sentenced to die at the age of 16. My heart rejoiced when people from all over the Midwest traveled to an area of the world (New Orleans) when just 75 years ago would have been left to perish because it was seen as judgement by God for the “wickedness.” My heart dares to look on with hope as a homeless ministry in Portland offers love, foot washing and supplies to those truly less fortunate. My heart was crying out for the work that is being done in love for people all over the world. These are the things people should think of when they think of love. These are the things we should strive to do in love.

I see so many things that I have been at one time or another in this film. I see so many things that I want to become in this film. I see so many areas that I have grown in, in this film. Earlier I mentioned the Christian spectrum — where I am on that spectrum? Well really, what does it matter? What am I doing? Now that is a question I would be willing to have a conversation about.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

6 responses to Ex-church member reviews “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers”

  1. Thanks for your very honest thoughts Angela. I have not seen the documentary, but am now even more interested in seeing it than I was before. I felt a tear or two in my eye just now reading your impressions of those scenarios, and I agree that we as Christians do WAY too much judging. It’s really appalling actually, and while I’m certain I’ve done my fair share of it, I am really striving to avoid it as I walk through this life. It solves nothing and certainly isn’t what Jesus would do.
    Thanks again…and thanks Jon for sharing!

  2. Thanks for your support Carrie! Glad to hear you will be watching the movie as well. I would love to hear your thoughts as well after watching it.

  3. Thanks for your post. It sounds like perhaps you’ve had some bad experiences with church. Those wounds can be hard to heal. We are all imperfect and hurt each other. I agree that all the judging and comparing is so destructive. Repentance goes a long way – like the guy you mentioned.
    I had a painful church situation years ago. The 2 books that helped me were A Tale of Three Kings by Edwards and Bait of Satan by Bevere.
    I’m interested in the documentary, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Blessings on your quest to love God and others. ~ Helen

  4. Thanks Helen for your recommendation and thoughts.

  5. Angela,
    Thanks for being willing to accept the challenge and do the review. IMO, I was more interested in what your thoughts were after reading the intro and your opening sentences.
    Thanks for such honesty and openness!

  6. Thanks for commenting Greg. Sometimes I find it is hard to be open, honest and clear over a blog, since people can read things in many different ways. I am glad my message came through clear and hopefully it will inspire others to think about their actions as well. Thanks again!