Wednesday, September 03, 2014




REVELATIONS: Netflix movie pushes to stop feuding, start discussing

By Jennifer Preyss
July 26, 2013 at 7:26 a.m.
Updated July 27, 2013 at 7:27 a.m.


A few months ago, a friend turned me on to the iPad app for Family Feud.

I've been a fan of the "Feud" for decades and would always play along at home as the teams shouted out answers to see if their answers were on the board.

It was intense, and I loved it, especially the Fast Money round.

So now, thanks to the iPad, I lay in bed just about every night and play a game of Family Feud.

But last night, I chose to watch Netflix.

And for whatever reason, I went to the religious documentaries section and clicked Dan Merchant's 2008 film, "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers."

I'd never heard of the film before, but what can I say - I'm a sucker for a good headline.

Merchant, an evangelical Christian from Portland, made the film in an effort to explore the collision of culture and Christianity in the United States, where nine out of 10 people claim they believe in the existence of God.

He desired to explore the impression secularists hold of Christians, and understand further why the gospel of love, the message of a gentle, inclusive Jesus, is dividing and polarizing the country.

I was hooked. I wanted to know his conclusions.

So you can imagine my surprise when toward the middle of the film, Merchant hosted a Family Feud-like game, called "Culture Wars" juxtaposing a panel of young, Christian, conservatives with a panel of liberal, media elite.

Using the game as a catalyst, Merchant wanted to get a dialogue going between the two opposite groups who are (in society) often unwilling to listen to the other's point of view.

He polled 100 people for each question just like in the regular Family Feud and came up with the top answers for questions like, "name a reason you would consider having an abortion," and "what are homosexuals known for?"

Behind the lecterns, yelling and taunting and disagreeing about issues, the teams took pleasure in knowing and not knowing the right answers to the questions.

It seemed the liberal media, in the end, was more in touch with the people polled than the young conservative teams.

It seemed the liberal teams knew the conservative Christians.

But something interesting happened after the game. The two groups spent two hours together in the green room and sat down and had a conversation.

They discovered they really enjoyed each other and realized when they discussed the issues without cameras and podiums, they were able to have a conversation about real issues and find a middle ground.

They realized the conversation sounded much different in private, and they all realized they needed to reach out to those who oppose them and differ in their views more.

They needed to stop the feud and start a conversation.

I really enjoyed this film, and I'll probably watch it again because of its humor and insightful pokes at politics, culture and religion. The film also has some really interesting interviews with a diverse mix of folks, including Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (former presidential candidate) and Democrat Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (former comedian).

This film helped me ask myself the question, "If I'm a believer, how well am I doing at modeling the gospel?"

Am I loving? Am I attempting to listen to those who may not understand me? Am I representing Jesus' non-partisan, all-inclusive model of grace, redemption and forgiveness?

Or am I just looking to feud?

Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or jlpreyss@vicad.com or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.

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