I watched Alexandra Pelosi's (yes, daughter of Nancy) documentary on evangelicals this morning on HBO called "Friends of God." She went on a road trip around America filming and interviewing the powerful and not so powerful.
I was surprised at how enjoyable it was. It was very bare-bones. Not much commentary, just a lot of footage.
In a way I saw Pelosi as a missionary of the "secular left" to evangelicals in that I got the impression that she was the first outside-of-the-fold person many of them have ever seen. Like an endangered species they remember reading about in school. Occasionally she would ask them a question to get to the heart about what they really think about those with differing viewpoints. In one instance she asked a college aged girl at a pro-creationism who was sharing the six-literal-days gospel, what she thought about "People like me who believe in evolution." The girl was actually quite respectful and handled it with tact, although you could tell that once she realized she was talking to "one of them" she got a little nervous.
In another case Pelosi followed a gentleman, who was probably in his early 60's, who had John 3:16 written all over his pickup truck. The guy was affable and humorously boisterous and seemed like he really enjoyed the possibility of being filmed. He made the comment that those who accept Christ are winners. She asked him about those that don't follow Christ. His body tightened because he realized what he was about to be forced to say, and a little concern registered on his face that one he thought was probably on his side may not be. But he went ahead and bit the bullet and said "Those who don't follow Christ, well, they are losers." And in a gesture I've seen by many an elderly gentleman trying to gauge where you stood asked a simple, "Amen?"
Polosi retorted, "Amen," and the guy looked visibly relieved.
There were surely people who weren't Christians where I grew up, but none dared speak up too loudly. If they did they were the high school goth kids who were going through the natural rite of rebellion that most of the rest of us were groomed from an early age to shun.
This is what happens when you live in a monolithic culture-- those on the outside are only given one mental slot in the minds of citizens: Outsider. Sure they may be nice and wear good clothes and have a good education, but they just don't understand and they aren't part of us. Ergo, they are bad.
Later on we were actually chided a bit by our elders for not having friends outside of the church. "If you only have Christian friends, there is a problem," they (and I) would say. But the implication was that you should have non-Christian friends for the SOLE purpose of "winning" them.
The Evangelical Movement needs people like Alexandra Pelosi. Not someone to poke fun at them and marvel at the circus they believe us to be. Just someone who doesn't think, believe, act like us-- and probably never will. We need that mirror.
Funny thing is, most things I see like this documentary make me hate my upbringing. This didn't. It put a big spotlight on much of the ignorance that passes for Christianity, but it didn't seem to be promoting an angry reaction. If anything it made me a little proud of who I am, where I've been, and hopeful that those of my spiritual heritage can take all the good our faith gives us, shed what doesn't belong, and move forward in a manner that Christ would approve of.
You can check out the schedule for the documentary HERE.