Monday, March 9, 2009

Lord, Save Us!

Yesterday, in the worship service, I showed a couple clips from a documentary movie called, "Lord Save Us From Your Followers," whose aim is to invite people from all walks of life into a respectful dialogue about faith, religion, spirituality, Christianity, and Jesus (subjects that are all related, yet distinct as well). The film expertly combines man-on-the-street segments, and snippets from various TV news shows, as well as extended interviews with notable figures such as Tony Campolo, John Perkins, comedian-turned-Senate candidate Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), and Ron Luce, among others.

This film was created in 2008, yet has not found a distributor, which is why you haven't ever heard of it or come across it. The movie has been shown on some college campuses around the country, both Christian and secular (including Spring Arbor University). In fact, on one campus, the movie was co-sponsored by Christian and secular student organizations for the purpose of inviting dialogue.

We have the exciting opportunity to share this movie with our Jackson community, letting people know that we are a church that invites respectful conversations, spiritual questions, and honest sharing with one another in an environment of mutual openness and tolerance. This doesn't mean that we have to agree, or endorse another's position, but it does mean that we can be in a room together without demonizing, dismissing, and denigrating one another.

I've also been in conversation with the Michigan Theatre downtown, and as God would have it, the one Friday that they have open in their schedule until May is April 10 (Good Friday). I think this event could be a huge opportunity for us to invite people into a religious dialogue at a time when many people in Jackson are hurting, struggling, searching, and needing hope. Not only that, it comes at a time of year when people are more open to Christian dialogue than any other time of year. Even people who never attend church think about Jesus around Easter.

We can use this event to invite people to attend our Easter services, and the series that kicks off that week, "Brokenchurch," an examination of the misconceptions and misapplications of church and false ideas of what church is really about (dressing a certain way, having everything "put together", wearing masks and hiding problems, denouncing and dismissing everyone who's not like us, etc.). So this movie is a natural tie-in to that series, and could be a great forum to invite people to consider a life wrapped around Jesus, instead of the trappings of church.

We're also hoping to hold a panel discussion at the Jackson Coffee Co. immediately after the showing of the movie for anyone who is interested in engaging in dialogue after seeing the movie.
Details for all of this are still being worked out, but we are committed to making this happen. I met this morning with Andy Merritt, the pastor of rivertree community church, which meets at the YMCA downtown, and they are going to enter into this endeavor with us as co-sponsors. We are very excited about this partnership, and I am going to be in conversation with some other pastors and organizations this week.

More information will come out as plans get put together, but here's what I want you to know at this point:
  • The public screening will be Friday, April 10, at 7:00pm.
  • There will be a screening at our church on Friday, March 27, at 7:00pm so that you can see it in advance, ask any questions you might have, get excited about inviting your friends, and so forth.
  • Admission will be absolutely FREE--we want to get as many people as possible to come. So if you know anyone looking for free entertainment... invite them to the movie!!
  • You can contribute to helping with the cost of putting this on by making a check out to the church and designating it "movie"--these donations are tax-deductable.
  • You can promote the event through Facebook by indicating that you'll come and inviting other people.
Get the word out, people! This is going to be an INCREDIBLE experience!

1 comment:

Sande said...

I'm so sorry that I missed this sermon...I've been told by both adults and teens that it was very moving. That says a lot when the kids are getting involved and speaking up about the service. Good Job Scott!