Last night I watched Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary about evangelical Christians in America.
After seeing Journeys with George a few years back and loving it, I was excited to hear Pelosi was returning with a new film. Unfortunately, this one had some flaws.
First, the length.
Friends of God is only an hour long. Considering the time the documentarian spent with these groups of people, I have to assume she had enough footage to create a full-length story. But she didn't. And what resulted was interesting lead-ins with no substantial pay-offs.
Shock and Awe?
While her earlier pieces have brought the viewer in as a mere observer and presented a fair scope of each angle of the message, this documentary felt like it was trying to jolt us into reality every few scenes. Guess what? There are lecturers that travel from church to church refuting evolution! Guess what? Evangelical Christians have sex every day (and even make their wives orgasm)! Guess what? Jerry Falwell's Liberty University was created to breed new right-wing politicians to elect and further the Christian movement!
While all of those things are somewhat newsworthy or at least a little interesting from an anthropological level, they're not really a surprise anymore. We know who our president is and how he got elected (and re-elected). We realize that the liberals in our country are fastly becoming a minority. We understand that evangelical Christians are aware of how to reproduce.
There were compelling elements to many of the topics Pelosi brought to light, but she didn't take the time to develop them or provide a consistent narrative to tie them all together.
Perhaps the film was already edited by the time the Pastor Ted Haggard scandal broke, but even if so—wouldn't it have been more interesting to show the footage that she had of Haggard renouncing homosexuals and 'training' his congregations to properly share their faith with the media and then go back to those churches and interview the people. Ask them what they make of their fallen leader? Question whether this hypocrisy is a trend in their circles or just an isolated incident?
I'd love to know if these folks are praying for his soul and forgiving him (as Jesus would want them to), or if they've written him off as a victim of Satan's temptations and moved on.
And I'd like to know why Pelosi didn't go back and ask those questions.