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Reel NW Films/Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Reel NW: Lord, Save Us from Your Followers
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Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

In this humorous but heartfelt documentary, Portland filmmaker Dan Merchant sets out across the U.S. to ask people why faith is dividing America.

About the Film

About the Film

"Lord, Save Us from Your Followers" is a funny but heartfelt look at why faith is dividing America. Clad in a bumper-sticker suit, interviewing people on all sides of the divide, from people on the street to well-known activists in today's culture wars, director Dan Merchant seeks to open a genuine and respectful dialogue on faith.

Film Synopsis

If you were to meet 10 average Americans on the street, 9 of them would say they believe in God. So why is the gospel of love dividing America?

Dan Merchant put on his bumper-sticker-clad jumpsuit and decided to find the reason. After talking with scores of people all across the nation, and also interviewing many well-known activists in today's culture wars, Merchant realized that the public discussion of faith doesn't have to be contentious.

With humor more common in a comedy-sketch program than a documentary, Merchant brings the sensibilities of someone who is deeply concerned with how his faith is being represented by others. He sits down for interviews with well-known people on all sides of this great divide, including best-selling author William Paul Young ("The Shack"), comedian/politician Al Franken, former "religious right" senator Rick Santorum, noted "liberal evangelical" Tony Campolo, conservative radio host Michael Reagan, and racial reconciliation activist Dr. John Perkins.

Engaging, unpredictable, and challenging, "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers" hopes to change the way you talk about faith.

About the Filmmaker

About the Filmmaker

Dan Merchant was the kid who once showed up to summer camp with typed scripts for talent night and cast his cabin mates in the comedy sketches. Not much has changed since 1976. Merchant has been writing, producing, directing, and talking people into his ideas ever since. He makes his debut as a feature documentary director with "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers" – the product of a three-year journey behind the front lines of America's so-called culture wars.

Merchant began his career at Portland's KOIN-TV, where he won an IRIS award for "We're Makin' Movies" and three Northwest Emmys for writing/producing "The Dr. Wilderness Show" and the original "Bill Nye the Science Guy" pilot. Merchant also contributed scripts to the classic Seattle sketch comedy show "Almost Live!" and was the executive producer and writer on VH1's "Strange Frequency," hosted by The Who's Roger Daltrey.

Merchant is currently at work on a new documentary, "Homeless, Inc," an examination of homelessness and the urban myth of a clandestine industry building up around it. He is also developing "The Armor," a supernatural action-adventure tale inspired by the Biblical battle between the "seen and the unseen worlds," and recently optioned the screenplay "You Make Me Sick" (co-written with James Melkonian), a raucous teen comedy about a high schooler who fakes a terminal illness to improve his social standing.

As an author, Merchant has published "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America," a companion book to his documentary, as well as the novel "The Great American
Stay At Home Wives Conspiracy."

Merchant and his wife and two teenage boys live in the rainy woods near Portland, Oregon.

Comments

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02/29/12

I am very impressed with this movie. It opens my eyes to how we are constantly judging others without even thinking about it. It makes me want to work to be more accepting to others for whoever they are or whatever they might believe. Great movie, thanks for comin in Dan.

02/29/12

Great job on the movie, i thought it did a great job highlighting some great points about how Christianity has changed greatly over the years, while adding in many funny parts to make the film more entertaining.

02/29/12

Thanks for coming to our class! It was amazing seeing this movie. The movie let me see what other people think and why they think that and that is an amazing priviledge for me.
Thank you!

02/28/12

Very well done film, also very respectable because it is hard to make a religious movie without being bias. Dan is a great guy with really good points of view also a great speaker. Thanks for coming in.

02/28/12

I loved this movie it was both funny and interesting! Its makes me happy to see the confession booth talks and also the night strike because you can see how many people needed help and how many people came to help. I also loved the bumper stickers!

02/28/12

It amazes me how inspired you were by your trip to Ethiopia to make a film about how faith (specifically Christianity) is causing division in America. This film made me think about issues that are rarely talked about in school and I feel lucky to have met Dan Merchant and hear what he had to say even six years after his movie. Thank you Dan for making us aware of how people supposedly praising the gospel are dividing America. This film was great and I liked it.

Thanks so much Dan :)

02/28/12

Dan did a great job with this film. I watched it in my school religion class and it really made me aware of this huge issue in the Christian community within America. It is true everyone interprets the Bible differently and that somehow is tearing apart America. Anyways I think the film does a great job in getting the opinions from every side, even from those who are more reluctant. I loved watching people struggle with the bumper stickers, some were really funny.

02/28/12

This film was great! Dan really did a great job getting EVERYONE's opinion and not just using his views. He really brought up and discussed a dilemma in christianity that is relevant to many people's lives. Thank you so much for making this film!

02/28/12

I was really touched by the confession booth at the gay pride festival. I like how this video draws attention to how some Christians do not treat certain groups of people as Jesus would. I think it was very interesting how Mr. Merchant confessed his own sins. It made me sad to hear one women in the confession booth say "I'm not used to hearing a Christian say anything really nice."

02/28/12

I was only able to watch small parts of the show last evening - but from what I saw, and from most of the comments above - why do so many people still need to "believe"? Organized religion is going to cause the end of life on this planet as we know it -

02/27/12

Thank you Kcts9 for showing this piece. It puts the culture wars in perspective, and those of us that are caught in the middle.

02/27/12

~AY

02/27/12

This film was very interesting through the different perspectives of these topics. Your Ethiopian story was very moving to me, how you talked about the community depending on each other. The quote you said to go with that "You can't love thy neighbor if you don't know thy neighbor." was very true.
Thank you so much

02/27/12

This film definitely made me think. It inspired me to believe that God made us all equally and he loves us the same, so we should respect and treat eachother with care. This movie attempted to disscus the contraversial themes of religion in general, and to be more spacific, Christianity and God; and it did a fantastic job. It was open to all opinions and they never judged. It was witty, well made, funny, inspiring and I would definitely see it again.

02/27/12

This movie was really interesting, and helped me to understand the different perspectives that people have on these topics. I think its a strange thing that these people talk about being christian and following Jesus and when you think about it they are pretty much doing the opposite. Your story about your Ethiopian experience was really moving, to go with that i like the quote you said "You can't love thy neighbor if you don't know your neighbor."

Thank you so much!

02/27/12

I had thought about all these issues prior to seeing this movie, but never deeply and without my own personal bias. After seeing the film, it opened my eyes to how hurtful people can be and the confessions part I found to be really interesting. It showed that no matter what, people just want to be accepted, and that would be really hard if you grew up Christian and were gay, you would have to give up practicing your faith openly and being openly gay.
Thanks Dan, it helped me come to the realization that we have to love everyone and not judge people

02/27/12

A quote that really struck me during this movie was during the confession booth at Gay Pride. A woman said, "I accept your apology, but I don't know if I'm worthy enough to accept it." The way I interpreted this quote was in this way: because of all the discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Catholic church, this woman didn't know if she was even WORTHY enough to accept the aopolgy... that because people had said so many horrible things she felt so on the outs as to feel even more unworthy and more shunned if she accepted it. This quote really opened my eyes to how hurt people are by the supposed "Christian love" that turns to hate in an instant. The thought of a normal person feeling too different and shunned to even wonder if they can accept an apology -even if it is sincere- is horrifying to me. In the more recent years, I have seen people I'm close to make comments against homosexuals and it makes me boil with anger inside. As much as I love my them, I am not sure that I believe everything they believe and it upsets me that some people are so narrow-minded that they won't even allow a discussion. I have tried my best to love everyone - no matter what. I don't care if people are attracted to people of the same sex. In fact, I think it's amazing to see a happy couple; no matter what the pairing. I think it is a small but powerful example of God's love and they way people embrace their individuality and how some come to terms with it. Some people, on the other hand, behave absoulutely unjustly towards people who are just being themselves, which is something no one can help, and I believe it is going against God's embedded loving values. As long as people are happy I think that's all that matters. People aren't discriminated against if they are a perv or an ass. They are discriminated against for being created and living in God's image, and for being themselves and trying not to be ashamed of it... and there really is ABSOULUTELY NOTHING to be ashamed of. This to me, is sick and I find it ironic that people who were made in God's image as well are so one sided and some are not open to listening to others. I think we make it difficult for people to be who they are and in my view, that is the most important thing. I don't deny that I have said things in the past that would make me hypocritical in my comments. So, I would like to apologize to anyone I may have offended. Whether they be from New York or Italy or from my home of Seattle. It was done in the most insensitive manner and I am truly sorry for that. And I hope people feel worthy enough to forgive me.

Thank you Dan Merchant!

02/28/12

I completely agree with everything you said. Thanks for spreading the love. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another. [Jesus, In John 15:12]"

02/27/12

I really loved this film! It spoke so much truth about how religion is dividing America. It made me think about my own beliefs and the beliefs of others as well.

Thank you so much, Dan!

02/27/12

I never really thought about any of these issues by myself, but when i watched your video, it really got me thinking about how to change how I've thought about people or when I have judged others. You opened up my mind to all the possibilities people could have if they actually listened to each other and did not focus on how they, and they alone, are right.

Thank you for making this movie, it has really opened my eyes to how we treat other people, who have feelings too.

02/27/12

C.M.

02/27/12

This was a really good out look on christianity. I liked how open to other peoples opinions he was and how in the confession booth he apologized for what he did wrong and was accepting towards others, we should all learn to be like that.

E.S.

02/27/12

I have seen this movie at least a half dozen times and still I enjoy it - finding new "gems" each time I watch.

I am inspired by the stories and insights and find the message urgently relevant as this election season looms. People of ALL faiths (or lack thereof) can learn from the simple lesson "Stop, listen and try to understand WITHOUT judgement."

Thank you, Dan for this creative, entertaining, hopeful tool of engagement and challenge.

12/21/11

Its the message everyone can relate to but are afraid. At the end of the film mentions conversations begin now....albiet only with an open mind can we progress into 'good news' dialogue. Thanks for showing this film and thanks to all involved for making it.

12/21/11

Ever since God made us in His image we have been trying to return the favour. I have always disagreed with the unspoken premise by some that Jesus is American, and a right wing Republican. That is idolatry.

I have to confess that I am Canadian. I confess that I am an Evangelical Pastor. I confess that I think unkind thoughts about American politics, policians and American religion. I loved this documentary. So much so that I sent this http link to my deacons and leadership team.

12/20/11

Great little doc that made me realize how entrenched I had become on the culture war front. I grew up in a protestant faith, and, while I grew away from the church, always had fond memories of the people, music, and mission of that community. As the years have gone by the only thing I ever saw of religion (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc) came from the most entrenched and radical leading me to generally despise and see it all as the root of evil. Seeing this doc let me reset and realize that it isn't all bad on the other side. That there are still good Christians and that, while we may not agree about everything, we can still work together to make the world a better place. Thank you Dan Merchant and KCTS9.

12/20/11

This was a refreshing look at Christianity. Why is it Christians (and I AM one) seem to focus so much on homosexuality as a sin? I am not arguing that it isnt a sin...I know that in God's eyes it is,.... but there are a million other sins which are ALSO not right in God's eyes, and Christians are not sinless as some of them seem to think they are. We ALL commit sins against God... ALL of us (even those who THINK they are better then a gay person). Wake up and knock that chip off your shoulder! Take the log out of your own eye before you worry about the speck in others eyes! No one is sinless and if you think you are....you got bigger problems then worrying about gays in your comunity!

12/20/11

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12/20/11

I just watched this show. This new age thinking, will pollute the minds of Christians, with it's message of love and acceptance of Gay's in the U.S.A. and World.
When did the Word of God become null and void, with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, being plainly known by all men. And all men are God's children, with the God given gift of choice. If your choices are against God's precepts, your choices are subject to His judgment, on the Day of Judgment for all mankind.

12/16/11

I don't believe that Shirl via her comment [IT'S YOU BELIEVE LIKE US OR YOU ARE OUT]really understands America and what it is. Faith and trust are the background to our history and successes that America has obtained. To degrade this shows a need for an embellished understanding of 1) humanity and why we are here; 2) our culture past and future; 3) the driving forces behind our American history.

Faith and churches are two different entities and should only be very carefully intertwined. rej 12-16-11

12/16/11

I ha not seen the film, looking forward to it:
The reason we are devided: Churches are teaching hate, not LOVE
ITS YOU BELIEVE LIKE US OR YOU ARE OUT

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