Documentary recommendations: Religion in America (and Abroad)

I may earn money from the participating companies linked in this post: (supporting my nearby independent bookstore Bluebird & Co, in Crozet, VA) and/or Audible. My podcast is sponsored by Audible and Care/Of.

Abroad meaning Australia, because we cannot exclude the exorcists. Good Lord, no.

Not actual crime scene photo
Not actual crime scene photo

Episodes I specifically had in mind:
2. Purity Balls
35. Thanksgiving
70. Anthony Comstock
76. Australian Exorcists
77. Thomas Kinkade

And, the documentary gems:
Hell House: We have one of these in our area, which is to say, a haunted house that, instead of featuring the usual scares, uses abortion, drunk driving, and the torments of hell to frighten Halloween celebrants. This documentary follows the participants of one church’s successful annual Hell House production from start to finish with a nice, neutral eye.

Ours? It is run by Liberty University, and is wildly popular. (Do you hear that creaking sound? That is the sound of me, restraining myself and being good and not going on a Liberty University tear…pod bay doors are failing…must change subject…)

Jesus Camp: “Training up” children to be Warriors for Christ. Three things to watch for, in my opinion:

the truly vainglorious attitude of the leader of the camp. Not too Christlike, is she?

are they really praying to images of President Bush/using his pictures as idols? Ugh.

Ted Haggard blowing off that frankly talented kid rather rudely. Note this was filmed right before Haggard’s scandal was exposed. I smell some hypocrisy seasoned with jealousy.

Kidnapped for Christ: “Christian behavioral modification” is a phrase that should never exist. Why? Why, I can quote Jesus to tell you why not. This is what he said about people who did not want to hear the gospel from the disciples:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
 (Matthew 10:14, NIV)

Wow, that’s a whole lotta leave them alone if they say leave me alone that you don’t hear about very often, hunh?

Join Us: the saddest and the most psychologically-in-depth of the bunch. A small church, run by a husband and wife, is really a cult. Realizing this, several families go to the one inpatient rehab in the United States for cult deprogramming. The ex-members are brutally honest with themselves, each other, the therapists, and the camera about what happened to them, and how their minds have been twisted to believe doubletalk. Fascinating, sad, and more than a little frightening. This story would truly make an excellent horror movie.

Note: If you feel you have been a victim of toxic relationships that include spiritual abuse, please contact the above center, Wellspring Retreat:

Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center
525 Richland Ave
Athens, OH 45701

Phone: 740-589-5600
Phone 2: 740-589-5601
Fax: 740-589-5602

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