Jesus Camp & The Illusionist

I have recently had the opportunity to watch the movie Jesus Camp. Having had grown up in a pentecostal/charismatic church all I can say is, “Wow, that is eerily familiar.” Some things that I noticed…..

1) That whole part were the adults basically used fear and intimidation to get kids to commit to a relationship with Christ is very true. That is basically the way that they do it.

2) I loved how they went on about how evil Harry Potter is, like they have actually read it and know this for a fact. And then in one scene you could clearly see one of the families had a Lord of the Rings book. Funny! I thought that they used witches and warlocks in that book as well.

3) The part where the woman who runs the camp was talking with the guy on the radio and he pointed out how they are basically turning out recruits for the Republican party along with teaching them about God. And she denied it, even though they showed a scene of her and another woman with a cardboard cutout of President George W. Bush and had the kids lay hands on it to pray for him. Do you think they did or would have done that with President Bill Clinton or any President that is a democrat? I doubt it. And then there was several scenes where a pro-Republican agenda was clearly being endorsed.

4) I also couldn’t believe the part where the mom was telling her home schooled son that global warming was completely false and made up. Granted that I question some of it, but is it possible that the science on this could be true? It is possible. And I see no problems with doing what we can to recycle, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, etc. to help our environment and reduce the likely hood of global warming. And I believe that Christian’s should be at the forefront of this mindset to recycle and do our best to save and preserve the earth. Aren’t we commanded in the Bible to take care of the earth? But the American Christian mindset goes contrary to that.

5) I thought the part with Ted Haggard was especially ironic. Here is this man who a few months ago admitted to using drugs and engaging in homosexual sex, and in the talk that he was giving he mentioned that it was obvious in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. I guess he should have listened to his own messages.

All in all, this movie is very scary because it is so true. The sad part about all of this is that many Christians will see this and see nothing wrong with it. But the problem is that Christians need to look at this and realize how ridiculous we look. This is a movie that I recommend to leaders in the Church to watch along with Saved! and The Village, so that we can see how we are looking to the world. I think it is important for leaders in the Church to look at these things with the thought of seeing how we need to improve our image in the world, which will hopefully also help us improve our image.

Last night Kimmy and I watched The Illusionist. This was a great movie! I love movies that have a twist and keep you guessing, that are not just all about action and no substance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind watching the occasional action flick to just tune out and be entertained, but I prefer to be challenged and have something that is intellectually stimulating. And I think that The Illusionist did just that.

Ed Norton and Jessica Biel did an excellent job, and made their characters come alive. I liked how the style in which is was filmed was similar to how they did The Phantom of the Opera, so the movie had a neat feel to it. I encourage everyone to go and rent this movie. You will not be disappointed.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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