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Documentary sheds light on gray areas
First UMC to show 'Lord, Save Us From Your Followers'
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It’s not often people of varying beliefs are invited to weigh in on what they really think about religion and culture.  But that’s exactly what the Rev. Lenny Maxwell at First United Methodist Church hopes will happen Saturday night. The church will present a free screening of “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers,” a documentary by Dan Merchant, featuring interviews with well-known people on all sides of the “culture wars.”
He sees the country dividing exponentially to the left and right, conservative against liberal, Democrat against Republican, and is concerned about how this has filtered into local communities, churches and homes.  
“On either side there is a firm belief of what is right and what is wrong, and a fear that this belief is threatened by any who disagree,” Maxwell said.  “What concerns me the most is that God, or the name of god, seems to be invoked in defense by either side.”  
Maxwell recently celebrated his first anniversary with the church in Great Bend. Last fall, as he was planning the coming year’s sermons, he decided to have a series called “Culture War,” based upon Adam Hamilton’s book “Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White.” Hamilton is senior pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.
“It was while researching for this sermon series that I stumbled across Dan Merchant’s movie and thought, ‘he is asking the same questions,’” Maxwell said.   
Merchant delivers his documentary with humor and a desire to pull in views from both sides of the divide.  
“I believe this movie is a wonderful starting point to invite a conversation about the culture wars and a need to arrive, at least for Christians, at an ‘extreme center,’ “ he said.  
He believes this movie will speak to all generations, normal people (non-Christian), Christians of all denominations and people of other faiths. The conversation is real, so some of the language is questionable for children under 13, “so I would recommend leaving the little kids home with Shrek; however, our youth would benefit from a more centric viewpoint.”   
A preview can be seen at
The movie and popcorn will be free and open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 2123 Forest Ave.  It features interviews with best-selling author William Paul Young (The Shack), comedian/politician Al Franken, former “Religious Right” Senator Rick Santorum, noted “liberal evangelical” Tony Campolo, conservative radio host Michael Reagan, and racial reconciliation activist Dr. John Perkins. If that’s not divergent enough, other features include Bono, Rick Warren, Bill Maher, James Dobson, George Clooney, Jerry Falwell, Stephen Colbert, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Lewis Black, Tony Perkins, Monty Python, along with many others.