Jesus Camp Thoughts and Review

A few nights ago I watched Jesus Camp (you can watch the rent the video now). A number of thoughts and feelings arise after watching this film, and its hard to express them all. I don’t think I can write in regular article format for this, because I don’t really have a point to make, but just hope to share some things that I felt. But here is what I can come up with in no order.

  • I am extremly thankful for those that had a major influence on me growing up in the Pentecostal church. I fear that I would have been running a Jesus Camp like this if it was for a few key people in my spiritual upbringing. Thank-you to both of them and to my parents.
  • The film was amazingly put together. Both women, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, put together one heck of a documentary. It seemed fair, non-discriminatory and very gracious to every side. There was still all sorts of symbolic moments throughout the film that you could tell it wasn’t just an all-over-the-place documentary, but a well formulated and directed film.
  • I can’t help but worry about these kids future. The film followed to kids around ten to twelve years old who were the product of this hardcore evangelical upbringing, and I must say that I fear their future. I pray that God watches and holds them and brings them closer to him and not their parents wishes through this all.
  • I began to see the craziness of church and state more and more as I watch the news and films like this. The more I see it the more I can sympathize with why they want it that way, but the more I realize that to even try to aim for some sort of marriage between the two is lethal for a country and for a religion. The patriotism for their country, George Bush, the army and the republican party was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
  • A film like this again makes me realize how important parenting and raising children is. These children are indoctrinated robots of who their parents and pastors want them to be. Maybe its because the parents dropped the ball and they are trying to live it through their kids or maybe its an entire culture that they are just wrapped in. Whatever it is, parents raise their kids (whether they choose to or not) and they will be products of their parents.
  • Watching this, makes me realize how vast the difference is between Rachel and I and how we were raised. She grew up Baptist, where clapping your hands was the charismatic thing to do. I grew up Pentecostal where running circles of the entire sanctuary was a regular occurrence on Sunday nights and most people were bi-lingual. I’ve come a long way since my Pentecostal days (I think most of them have disowned me), but I think there is still a small way for us to go to understand each others upbringings.
  • You can watch a trailer of Jesus Camp below.


    8 thoughts on “Jesus Camp Thoughts and Review”

    1. Watching this documentary unfortunately exemplifies a lot of the arguments I’ve been hearing from folks like Richard Dawkins regarding raising children and exposing them to rigorous religious “trainig” (or rather, “programming”), comparing it to a form of child abuse. (I say unfortunately because I believe religion serves at the very least as a framework by which to teach ethics. Unfortunately, it is also easy to create a loving but unlovable imaginary Boogeyman and call him “God”. How’s that for idolatry, to worship and fear someone’s idea of what God should be instead of the god witihn, or God Himself?)

      As strage as the question might seem, it is prudent (I believe) to ask whether this could be considered a form of mental “abuse” along the lines of the Hitler-Jugend.

      When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis.

    2. Looks like Google removed the video, I assumed cause it was on Google it was a legal copy online, but I guess they got rid of it pretty quick. So i guess you’ll have to rent it. It’s worth it though. I removed the links for everyone else. Thanks Tom.

    3. I’ve seen it. It was terrifying. The part that stuck out to me the most is when Becky accused some of the kids of being “phonies and hyprocrites” and proceeded to “wash” the kids in some type of pseudo-baptism. Manipulation at it’s worst. If my kids were at that type of thing, I’d pick them up right away.

      I also thought that most of the kids were actually fairly charming. It’s too bad that most of them were so highly indoctinated that life “in the world” as it were is impossible for most of them. For them, religion is literally an opiate, something they use to help them ignore life as it really is. “I was saved when I was six because I wanted more out of life.” What type of kid says that?

    4. Even the children’s pastor chuckled a bit when he said that, you were that young and your life was going nowhere? Poor dude. BUt ya your right, I enjoyed those children a lot. And I fear for them in the future cause as soon as they start asking some questions they’ll get pushed away and be left alone and will turn to who will accept them, the world, and the pressure is now on because they are celebrities.

    5. I had this movie in my hands last night and today I read your post. In any case, to me it looks like this Jesus Camp is taking away some of the best years of their lives and making them act like full-grown adults. Just like hollywood does to Dakota Fanning. Jesus said accept the kingdom as a child not make the children act,talk and walk like us. It’s about showing them in our actions what the love of Christ is all about. Not forcing them to be something they are not.

    6. The documentary was shocking. I saw so much there that I felt I was being pushed into. I’m glad I wasn’t.

      “Jesus said accept the kingdom as a child not make the children act,talk and walk like us. It’s about showing them in our actions what the love of Christ is all about. Not forcing them to be something they are not.” -Mike

      Jesus went so far as saying that the kingdom belongs to such as these [children; Luke 18:16]. It’s sad to see these militant Christians manipulating the precious children; it stirs up so many emotions watching it. I’m glad that in my childhood I didn’t answer questions like why I was save with this “I was saved when I was six because I wanted more out of life.”. When you’re six you cannot comprehend that — he answer that because that’s what he had been manipulated to answer. Tom/Nate are completely right on that one.
      Methinks I’ll stop my rant now though.

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