Faith and culture collide with humorous and illuminating results in the even-handed and startlingly redemptive film asking, ‘Why is the Gospel of love dividing America?’
In the wake of civil discourse on the hot button social issues devolving to bumper sticker slogans like “Choose Life – Your Mom Did” or “Democrat and Christian” or “God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve,” filmmaker Dan Merchant faces the American religious culture dilemma head on with the upcoming theatrical release of his film, “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why is the Gospel of love dividing America?” which released nationwide on Sept. 25.
According to Merchant, “Talk radio and cable News have clogged the airwaves with so much divisive rhetoric over faith in the public square that ‘us versus them’ seems like the only alternative. Americans on either side of this cultural divide have grown content with screaming across the abyss at each other.”
Has this country lost the art of conversation? If so, can an idiot filmmaker (with a big heart) dress up as a human bumper sticker and reconcile the nation with a movie?
Merchant, the film’s writer and director, believed he had to do something and in his words, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”
A follower of Jesus himself, Merchant interviewed folks at Times Square and everywhere in a “bumper sticker suit,” running into the same situation – non-believers who don’t have a problem with Jesus, but vehemently dislike many who claim Him.
“Merchant’s documentary turns on a deceptively simple question: Why is the Gospel of love dividing America? With a nonchalant manner that miraculously never comes across as judgmental, Merchant zeroes in on politicians, Christian organizations, religious leaders and even the Church. ‘Lord, Save Us From Your Followers’ is incisive and fair, goofily funny and deeply moving. There is no watering down of the Gospel. Merchant knows sin when he sees it. He simply finds the plank in his own eye of greater importance than the mite in his neighbor’s,” according to Christianity Today.
“Everyone has a dog in this fight,” says Merchant. “Everyone has an opinion on God, on why we’re here, on what we are supposed to be doing. The surprise is that we all are secretly yearning for the yelling to stop and for the conversation to begin.”
In an effort to jumpstart the conversation, Merchant interviewed anyone who would say “yes,” from cultural lightning rods like Senatorial candidate Al Franken and former “Religious Right” Senator Rick Santorum, “liberal evangelical” Tony Campolo, best-selling author William Paul Young (“The Shack”), conservative talk show host Michael Reagan, religious TV host Matthew Crouch, author Dr. John Perkins and many more. ‘Lord, Save Us’ also features segments and News clips with Bono, Bill Maher, Bill O’Reilly, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Pastor Rick Warren (“Purpose Driven Life”), James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson among others.
In the tradition of entertaining documentaries like “Super Size Me,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “What the Bleep Do We Know?” “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” employs the language of pop culture to create a provocative, amusing and redemptive film-going experience. With the successful use of man-on-the-street encounters with “bumper sticker man,” a “Culture Wars” game show, a moving “confession booth” at a gay pride event (where Merchant himself actually does the confessing), “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” delves into all the hot button issues with candor, humor and balance bringing everyone into the conversation.
Through advance screenings in places as diverse as Seventh Day Adventist churches to evangelical megachurches, from secular schools like Reed College to Baptist schools like Baylor University, Merchant has been able to somehow, remarkably bridge the “great divide” through his film. The film has also had a broad run throughout the worldwide festival circuit, playing faith-friendly and mainstream festivals alike, being chosen as a participant and award winner by many festivals across the country.
“We know what we think,” Merchant said of his fellow Christians, “and we often think that’s good enough. But if you don’t understand anybody else, how can you have a real conversation? Are we truly following the Gospel of Love or have we turned it into the Gospel of Being Right?”
For more information, visit www.LordSaveUsTheMovie.com.