In what looks to be a more ambitious version of American Mormon (2005), four young, average white Christian guys go out in the world to find the real Jesus or rather shatter any preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian. At least this is what seems to be happening by all appearances in Beware of Christians. Per their promo site:
Alex, Matt, Michael, and Will have grown up as Bible-believing Christians who did all the right thngs. As they’ve grown older, they’ve realized that the Jesus in the Bible doesn’t exactly look like the healthy, wealthy, American Jesus they’ve been trained to know and love. They soon realize that their biases and allegiances to worldly things have determined their views on Christianity.
That is a very promising premise. Regardless of the outcome, which I know is a reaffirmed faith in Christ, these individuals are at least attempting to broaden their knowledge and question their biases. I think in America there is such a thing as the “American Jesus” that does not fit the Biblical Jesus. The Bible involves all sorts of theological battles, but what we do know is that if Jesus existed he wouldn’t have been a blue-eyed white guy who was a member of the Republican Party (or the Democrats for that matter). Jesus may have been similar to how Joni Mitchell described Vincent Van Gogh in her song Turbulent Indigo:
The madman hangs in fancy homes
They wouldn’t let him near!
He’d piss in their fireplace!
He’d drag them through Turbulent Indigo
Don’t take offense, I’m not saying Jesus is going to piss in your fireplace. The whole point of Joni Mitchell’s song, if I’m allowed to interpret, is that modern society has sanitized Van Gogh as a person and yet if these same people who hang his beautiful pictures in their elegant homes met the actual artist they would be disgusted. It may be that the “Jesus” people have built up in their American minds is in conflict with a homeless messiah figure that went around preaching to sinners, often without a bath. How many Republicans have you heard approve of wandering homeless people? Most likely they would tell Jesus to “get a job!”
The official site says that after visiting 10 European countries these 4 young men truly learn what it means by “giving up the world to following Jesus.” I sort of doubt that and what really is “giving up the world”? Usually it comes down to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in Christian terms, but is it also Christian materialism? How many Christians actually live like Jesus giving up everything? It’s not realistic and not very productive. The irony here is that these 4 individuals have used a materialistic medium (film) to draw attention to themselves on how they are following Jesus and you can preorder the DVD at their site. I don’t know, not quite buying into the idea that this is “giving it up.”
Still, I have not seen the film so I am hoping they learn something about themselves despite the emphasis on Jesus. Americanized Christianity can limit your worldview and at least they are attempting to see beyond our borders. And from what they mention, they run into a nude beach–which is to be expected since European beaches are often topless (Americans are so obsessed with breasts we feel we have to make them taboo by hiding them).