Rob Bell, pastor/communicator/author writes in his book Velvet Elvis about the rabbinical concept of "a yoke" that being "a particular teaching of the Bible." (Bell passage here)
Most people have some sort of understanding of what the Bible is, and what it means.
Tonight my wife and I watched Jesus Camp, and I think the most interesting part of watching this film was that although I found Becky Fischer's methods and tone to be inappropriate, at the same time I agreed with much of her basic teachings.
Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady did an excellent job at what my middle school English teachers always encouraged us to do: "Show, not Tell."
Ewing and Grady didn't tell us what to think, although it's a logical conclusion that the majority of a viewing audience would watch Becky Fischer at the Kid's On Fire camp at Devil's Lake, North Dakota, and think "Are these parents idiots?"
But it was interesting, because even for myself there were parts of my yoke that overlaped with Fischer's yoke.
The thing that really bothered me about Fischer, and really radically conservative Christian Fundementalist, is that that there yoke places an undo importance on God's love for America and American politics. (observe this church sign here).
And the unfortunate thing is that in Jesus Camp this is how all Evangelical Christians are painted. 25% of America may be Evangelical Christians, but many of those Christian's might consider themselves politically moderate, they might have different thoughts in speaking in tongues, and they may happen to be incredibly anti-homeschooling, etc.
It's understandable why after the filming and release of this movie Becky Fischer would deem it neccesary to close her camp, but that does not mean that the issues that arise in this film are not prevelant. I think this film is a good beginning of dialogue for many people, especially Christians because there is a tension in knowing what is and is not appropriate in raising children. Ultimatly those decisions lie in the hands of parents, and this film creates a great opportunity to discuss the role parents should and should not play in raising their children in a home with a faith dynamic.
Besides the illumination of Fischer's yoke placing extreme importance on American politics and George Bush, I also didn't like how she was using Muslim parents as examples of how Christians should raise their children. Christian militantism is certainly not a part of my yoke, and hence this was very disturbing.
Also, Ted Haggard made me very uncomfortable in this film. Fischer seemed like she trully believed in the things she was teaching her kids, while Haggard pastor of New Life Church and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals was very inscincere and gave me tons of icky feelings, not to mention the recent allegations that Haggard has a habit of engaging in the same homosexual behavior he strongly preaches against.
Be sure to read my wife's perspective on this film which she posted immediatly after watching this film, as well as previous StrangeCulture post mentioning the newly-Academy-Award-nominated film: Jesus Camp.
Related Tags: Jesus Camp, Becky Fischer, Kids on Fire, Devils Lake, North Dakota, Christian, Fundementalism, Christianity, Conservativism, Ted Haggard, Evangelism, Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, Yoke, militantism, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Documentary, Film