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Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why is…

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing…

by Dan Merchant

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Picked up this book on a whim because it was cheaper than dirt and looked interesting. Apparently it was based on a Christian documentary which I likely will never see, though it may be worthwhile if you get your hands on it.

Merchant's book and film project ask the question: why is the gospel of love dividing America? He explores these 'cultural wars' engaged in by the evangelical conservatives and the godless secular leftists. I have been in Canada for several years so I haven't had to think about America's political and spiritual polarism. This book was similar in content to Becky Garrison's Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church, but where Garrison tells the story of American politics and religion, Merchant tries to get behind the fear felt on both sides. The book is about three years old so somewhat dated, but the lines are still drawn (particularly if you look towards the 2012 election).

So Merchant interviews people on both sides (or however many sides there are supposed to be) to get to the bottom of the so called 'cultural wars.'
Merchant does two things which while gimmicky, probably were great to watch in the documentary and actually make his point pretty well:

1. He where's a bunch of competing worldview bumperstickers and interviews people on the street about their thoughts on Jesus and which bumpersticker they relate with. That's it. No hardsell evangelism but tries to really listen to people where they are coming from.
2. He sets up a confessional in the middle of San Fran's castro district during a Pride celebration, in order to confess the sins of the church against the Gay community, where they dropped the ball in the AIDS crisis, and Merchant's personal sins against gay people. Merchant's confessions start conversations with people and is healing for a group of people who felt judged, dismissed and hated by the church.

Ultimately this is all Merchant is arguing for, more dialogue less polarizing posturing and monologue preaching. I agree with him and found it an interesting presentation (though I think I would like the documentary better). This reads like a theme issue from a good Christian magazine. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Ouch. After reading this book, I have continued to examine my attitude and positions on people outside the church. I don't know that agree with all Dan Merchant has to say, but the point he makes about the church abandoning those who needed it stung. We need to be reminded now and then that the Church is called to love, not hate; to welcome, not ostracize. ( )
  wordgeek76 | Jul 26, 2012 |
A fun and at times uncomfortable look at how Christians conduct themselves and are perceived by others. Merchant's approaches to do this includes interviews (talking with people such as Al Franken and Michale Reagan), borderline performance art (manning a reverse confession booth at a Gay pride festival and dressing with Christian and anti-Christian bumper stickers while asking people simple questions about their beliefs), and personal experiences (ministering to people in Ethiopia). The book is based on a video by the same name and I am looking forward to watching it. This book is not for everyone, but it does provide some real insights into 21st Century Christianity. ( )
  wbc3 | Oct 31, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0849919932, Hardcover)

Why is the Gospel of Love dividing America? Fed up with the angry, strident language filling the airwaves that has come to represent the Christian faith, author, director, and follower Dan Merchant set out to explore the collision of faith and culture in America. What is all this fighting really about? The book and upcoming documentary represent a two-year effort to "join the battlefield in hopes of getting a conversation started." The result is a book full of offbeat observations, fun anecdotes, comedic bits and in-depth interviews. From Dan's hilarious bumper-sticker interviews with folks on the street to his unique "Confession Booth" event inspired by his meeting with Tony, the Beat Poet, from Blue Like Jazz, he delves into all the hot button issues with candor, humor and balance.

Includes exclusive interviews with Al Franken, Rick Santorum, Tony Campolo, conservative radio host Michael Reagan, USA Today columnist Tom Krattenmaker, Pastor Rick Warren, and even Sister Mary Timothy of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as well as many more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:51 -0400)

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