Last night I was watching Joan and Melissa Rivers on TV Guide Channel. I had better things to do but hey... it was something to watch while I waited for GodTV's televised program of Novel Hayes Campmeeting.
Anyway, up comes the directors of the film Jesus Camp, a documentary about a fundamentalist Christian camp where kids go to learn about Jesus. Ted Haggard, BTW, shows up in this film. Now, I don't know how fundamentalist I am. But I often call myself a fundamentalist Christian because I share the belief in the same Fundamentals that they do. Plus I'm a bit of a curmudgeon. If someone's going to pick on a group, part of me wants to be part of the picked on group. I hate going along with the herd, and in the US the herd tends to be people who mock Biblical Christianity.
Anyway, the directors come up in their great gowns and they say something to the effect like this to Joan Rivers: "Well, I'm Orthodox Jewish and I'm Roman Catholic and so we went into this experience of filming without any bias." Okay, my mouth kinda fell open. Certainly anyone not belonging to a particular religion will be surprised and shocked by the belief of that religion...and that surprise will feel like being turned off to that religion. If a person who was not an-Orthodox Jew or not an Chassidic Jew went in to film the Jewish religion, wouldn't they also find something strange? Wouldn't they have unrecognized biases that would shock and surprise them? Even the Chassidic ultra-traditional idea of women and childbearing would be surprising. And wouldn't certain aspects of Roman Catholicism turn off a lot of people who have not been reared in that religion. What I'm saying is this: those folks thought they were unbiased when, the way human nature is, they were biased without knowing it.
Anyway, I'm not going to see Jesus Camp anytime soon.
But the other thing that shows how locked in we are in our own minds is how the people in Jesus Camp behaved. Call me a cynic but why in heaven's sake did the Jesus Camp folks even allow non-fundamentalists to their camp? Like the directors of the documentary they themselves are unaware of biases and of Paul's warning that "we are a sweet savor to those who are being saved and a stink to those who aren't being saved." No, I'm not saying that the directors of Jesus Camp aren't being saved. Only God knows that. But I AM saying that the directors of Jesus Camp seemed woefully unaware that they were showing spiritual things, things that are spiritually revealed as true, to the world...which cannot accept truth. (Okay, I didn't see the film and there might have been some political stuff in the film I disagree with, but even if there was no political stuff, did these Jesus Camp people really believe that the non-believing types would be won over? Even the idea of hell -- true as it is-- will annoy the heck out of people who don't understand that hell exists.)
How many times have I see this kind of stupidity! Christian churches think they are witnessing to the world by allowing a worldly secular bunch of filmmakers to come into their church and film them! Or Christian filmamkers also do films and show things that are holy to swine. And it gets even weirder when the directors are allowed to film laying on of hands, falling in the spirit, sermons about hell, sermons about homosexuality, tongues, etc.
People, people, people!!!! Yes we are called to be witnesses, but didn't Paul warn us about what we share with non-believers? Didn't he say that when people come into a church service and see people doing certain spiritual things that it's not a witness to them but that they'll think we're insane? I, for one, would be careful what to show in a film. We must be careful not to show Christians doing Christiany-things: speaking about false religions? speaking about hell? showing people speaking in tongues? showing people dancing in the spirit? Because these are spiritually-understood, the carnal mind will consider them foolishness. And no matter how "fair" an earthly-minded non-believer tries to be...certain things will be "evident" to them that we Christians are evil or just plain stupid. Our white is often the world's black...and the filmmakers know that. We might be inspired to see the film but what inspires us and rejoices our heart is a smell of death and disgust in the mind of the viewer and the filmmakers know this. (And -- as the worst of luck (or demonic planning) would have it: Ted Haggard is in the film.) It just makes us look like psychologically messed up people who are damaging our kids. And make no mistake about it: this is how the secular world perceives it. So why do we do films which we know the secular world will use to condemn us? Can't we step outside our need to "witness" and "show the world our joy" and get some sophisticated knowledge of how communication works in this world?
Brothers and sisters, let's be really careful about what we share with outsiders.
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