Lord, Save Us from Your Followers: Why Is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?
Television writer and producer Merchant believes that much damage has been done by the religious right and that the so-called “culture war” should not be the focus of the Christian faith. He's working on a documentary about loving the people one may disagree with, encouraging dialogue instead of harsh slogans. It's a fine idea, but this book of the same name as the film is a somewhat disjointed collection of transcripts. Merchant dons a suit plastered with bumper stickers to interview passersby in Times Square, and interviews notable faith-and-politics leaders including Tony Campolo, Rick Santorum, Al Franken and Michael Reagan. He sits down with a man who dresses as a nun in San Francisco, confesses his lack of love to homosexuals at the Pride Northwest festival and participates in a foot-washing for the homeless in Portland. The interviews and characters presented can be compelling and thought-provoking, though the book feels scattered and rushed, incorporating multiple outrageous, made-for-the-screen moments. Merchant reiterates popular themes but without the thoughtfulness of Jim Wallis or the research of David Kinnaman's unChristian , and the concluding list of questions is particularly unsatisfying. (Mar. 11)