Friday, August 17, 2007

Jesus Camp

I spent my Sunday afternoon with a documentary called Jesus Camp. It was interesting and well made, a little inflammatory (whenever you're targeting kids things get thorny I think. And by thorny I mean potentially emotionally manipulative), and really interesting. The film follows a couple of kids going to a bible camp for a militantly fundamental evangelical group. Yeah, it's as creepy as it sounds. Also interesting, it follows the children's preacher who runs this thing. She is predictably kind of tired, overweight, and lonesome.
There's a lot that I could say about the doc, but what hit me most was this: when they were interviewing these kids, there was this tangible guilt at their imperfections. Also, one night at the camp was dedicated to this flaming jeremiad that pulled these kids, sobbing, to their knees. This was the point where I was able to detatch myself from the religious group, where I was able to say "this is wrong and terrible." But.
Do we do this?
On my way home from my mission I had this great convo with a girl who had a evangelical background. We bantered and bore testimony and shared diagrams, but the thing that lost me the fight I think was my doubt in myself. I was in the beatup stages of late mission depression and I couldn't testify about faith and repentance. (Am I doing it again?)
So this is my conclusion, and something I wish I would've internalized, and am internalizing: our confidence in the Lord and his forgiveness is the best best missionary tool we have. And our understanding of the atonement is what sets the church apart.
I think there's a balance between arrogance and confidence, but I don't think that being a little oversure of our salvation is a bad idea. We have a loving and all-powerful eternal being on our side for heaven's sake.

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