Jeff Sharlet at The Revealer reviews Jesus Camp and says, “I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Jesus Camp turns out to be perhaps the best work of journalism — or art — dealing with contemporary Christian conservatism.”

Let’s say that he’s right, and Jesus Camp really is the best work of journalism dealing with contemporary Christian conservatism.

Then why is it that 9 out of 10 Christian conservatives I’ve talked with, or read, say that the film is far too narrowly focused on one extreme corner of the map of Christian conservativism? Why is it that I can’t even get through the preview without feeling rather sick to my stomach and thanking Jesus’s Father that I never attended Sunday schools like that one?

I mean, yes, this kind of activity does go on, these people do exist, and this kind of teaching does take place. But if anybody watches Jesus Camp and comes away believing that they’ve got a good idea what American Christianity is about, well, that’s kinda like tasting Bud Lite and then claiming that you’re now an expert on beer.

If this is “the best work of journalism” on the subject, perhaps that says more about the state of journalism than it does about the subject of Christianity. Where is the great journalism about the kind of Christianity that I’ve encountered in a lifetime of Christian education, Christian community, and, yes, for all of its ups and downs, Christian conservativism? So far, I haven’t seen it in the mainstream press.

Just asking.

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