Friends of God | Notes & Review

Posted on March 7, 2011


Friends of God. HBO home video, 2007.

— VIA —

Obviously things have changed quite a bit from 2007. Ted Haggard’s “fall from grace,” the death of Jerry Falwell, the election of President Obama being the key events. And there are many things that haven’t: Acquire the Fire’s tour schedule is full, pro-life rhetoric is–in my purview–even more prominent in the public conversation, and Joel Osteen has sold a couple other best-sellers.

The NYTimes article above does an excellent job summarizing the film, and I concur that it is simply a travelogue with very little dialogue. And to me, this is both a blessing and a curse.

Seeing Christianity through this (or any) lens is myopic. Throughout the film I wanted to stick in a clip of other Evangelicals who hold to the same values and convictions–per se–yet express them in ways that are quite different, almost as if their moral compass is calibrated to a different “true north.” While Pelosi is to be commended for capturing her journey, this is not the true picture of the 80 million (or so) Evangelical Americans. As with any religion or belief system, it is more variegated than often portrayed.

Yet, I appreciate the film greatly because while this may not be a complete picture, it is still an honest one, and it offers a look at a slice of Evangelicalism (even perhaps a majority slice) that may be disproportionately represented in the public mind. I consider this kind of journalism important for understanding, not just the subject, but the lens through which these subjects are viewed and perceived. That, to me, is just as critical for true dialogue and understanding.

NOTE: At the end, Pelosi shows some images of the “other side”; those who are vehemently against the Falwell’s and Haggard’s of Evangelicalism, and then introduces the subject of homosexuality and marriage–features Rev. Mel White. I was frustrated with this segment I suppose, only because I have seen greater treatments of this issue through For the Bible Tells Me So and Lord, Save Us From Your Followers.

Posted in: Religion, Reviews