24 September 2007

Jesus Camp

I've been wanting to watch the documentary, Jesus Camp, for a while and Denise and I finally saw it last weekend. The movie is about a right-wing fundamentalist summer camp for kids. The kids worship, pray, ride go-carts, chant about supreme court justice nominees, and do other fun kids' stuff like that.

It was a riveting picture of a distinct subculture. Kids were speaking in tongues. They prayed in ways I don't. One kid had a sweet rat tail (I'm thinking of growing one now). I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist subculture, so it was really interesting to see another version of fundamentalism. By the way, I define fundamentalism as living in the absolute certainty that I am right and everyone else is wrong--and having a harsh attitude about that fact.

Part of the camp's time was spent teaching (or perhaps indoctrinating) the kids about right-wing American politics--abortion, supreme court justice nominations, etc. At one point in the film, some of the kids were at a large church in Colorado. The pastor of this church was Ted Haggard. You may remember him from such things as doing meth with a gay prostitute. The movie was filmed before he was found out. To me, his appearance in which he railed on homosexuals and was moderatley mean to a ten-year-old, was where I found God in this movie. That scene and the thoughts it brought up caused me to look long and hard at the way I judge other people. I believe judgement and conviction of sin are key parts of my faith, but this movie caused me to look at myself and the ways I go about judging and convicting.

If you haven't seen the movie, watch it and pay particular attention to the moments that are uncomfortable for you.