My (Almost) Pure Reasons for Rooting for Dan Merchant

I like to joke with Dan Merchant that I’m pulling for him and his movie “Lord Save Us From Your Followers” for reasons that are 94 percent pure.

First, the main reasons why I have no selfish motivation whatsoever to cheer for Dan and his entertaining, uplifting film – which, by the way, opens in theaters around the country on September 25 (and which I talked about in this USA Today column back in 2008):

Even though Dan and I come from different theological perspectives—Dan is a evangelical, albeit a mavericky one, and I’m way more on the theologically liberal side of town—I endorse his message wholeheartedly. To sum up that message, this country needs to get out of our culture war trenches, and we need to stop using Christianity as a weapon.

Second, Dan is a friend and someone I really like being around. Since having the good fortune to move to Portland three years ago—Dan lives in nearby Lake Oswego—I’ve consumed many a cup of coffee and meal with him while we’ve talked through the big issues and swapped notes about our creative projects. We’ve also tipped each other off on good bands to check out, and we’ve hit a few shows together.

To sum up, Dan is one of my favorite people, and I like it when my friends experience success.

Now, here’s why I have a modicum of self interest in talking up “Lord Save Us” and crossing my fingers, figuratively speaking, for its wild success. I have the honor of being one of the talking heads in the movie, and Dan makes specific reference to my book “Onward Christian Athletes” in his narration and the graphic that flashes across the screen when I’m pontificating on camera. I know Dan did this because he thinks it’ll help advance the move, but I have to thank him nonetheless. You might call it providential that his movie is hitting at almost exactly the same time as my book. (Although I assure you that we’d both have been horrified if you had told us two years ago it would take so long for the release of his movie and my book.)

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I enthusiastically endorse “Lord Save Us From Your Followers.” My favorite parts are the culture-war game show between the “liberal elite media” team and young Christian conservatives team, the “Night Strike” Christians-serve-the-homeless scene, and the Gay Pride Festival confession booth. (No, it’s not the gay attendees who are doing the confessing.)

You can find all the details about the movie, theaters, and showtimes at the “Lord Save Us” site. See the movie. Tell your friends.

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