By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Amy Nicholson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Stephanie Zacharek
By JOEL BEERS
DiSabatino:And God forbid you slip back into the other stuff; if you do, they'll throw you away.
Bremer-Murray:As a woman, you worry about bread. You worry about meals. I'd see all these people eating when Calvary's coffers were full. And we were poor. [Calvary founder] Chuck Smith never paid Lonnie. One day, Lonnie came home and said, "You'll never believe it: they hired somebody full-time to help pastor Chuck." That blew him away. Chuck and Kay Smith never came by to ask if I needed food. I went to the same grocery store she did; it's just that she went through the front door, and I went to the dumpster in the back so that I could feed people. There was a disparity between what people believed to be happening and what was happening. I think Lonnie paid a huge price for that disparity. But it's not like what happened to Jesus on the cross. It's like we used to say: we haven't bled yet.
DiSabatino:I'm getting them every day.
Bremer-Murray:I showed it to my daughter, and she couldn't stop crying. She said, "It literally took my breath away, Mom. I can't believe I'm crying like this." And she's not overly spiritual. It really affected me.
DiSabatino:I'm amazed at the ability this has to reach out to people who are not really religious.
Bremer-Murray:People would come from all over the world to sit in our living room and talk to us like we were some kind of gurus. Lonnie and I would look at each other and break out giggling. They would come all this way to hear us say love is the door you open to reach God. But how about feeding them? How about loving them? Churches lock their doors. My heart goes out to gay people. Lonnie would say he got saved from that, but when you walk out of the world of the spirit, you walk into what you were in before. But that's no more of a sin than making the children of God live on the lowest rungs. This is the thing people have to be shaken up over. I hope it happens with this film.
DiSabatino:I recently interviewed Ted Wise, who was Lonnie's mentor from the House of Acts in that first hippie Christian community, and he talked about this. He said, "I used to think, from the way I saw Christians talk and act, that Jesus was like a guard in the merchant marine. Or at the very least a Republican." He told me many of the Christians he came into contact with were so worried about "where I stood on the issues." Wise admitted that he never read the New Testament because of this, but when he did, he was "completely surprised." He commented that "Jesus was so cool and totally different than I'd been told."
Bremer-Murray:If you read the whole New Testament, you don't go back to being a slave; it sets you free.
DiSabatino:This movie grabs that authenticity of the spirit and conveys it in a way writing it down in a book never could. Somewhere along the line, every renewal movement in the history of the church gets calcified. Looking at 30 years down the line, it had the verve, but now it's something different. The arteries have started to harden. And the Bible talks about always having to open things up again.
Bremer-Murray:It's not like I stayed the true course. Lonnie never left me; I walked away. I came in line [with Christian fundamentalism]. I blocked abortion-clinic doors. It seemed so right. But after the third or fourth time, God jerked me by the collar and said, "Would I do this stuff? Would I do this anywhere?" You need to walk with him to get those messages. The enemy comes as an angel of life, appearing as good and right. Don't expect the enemy to have horns and steam coming off him. I believe the enemy will come right out of the mist of the religious-right movement.
DiSabatino:Some of us are upset that that's who people think of as Christians today. I think people [from the Christian right] are seduced by the same thing Christians are supposed to rail against: power and money. Those things have nothing to do with Jesus. What's even worse is they use fear as a motivational tool. Fear has nothing to do with faith. What scares me to death is their image of judgment. Some of these people are going to come up, say they did all these things, and God is going to say, "You're not on my team; you didn't get it."
Bremer-Murray:When Jesus looks at the religious right-wing of this day, he's going to say they have ears attached to their heads, but they don't hear. When they say gay people are all sinners and they ought to read this passage of the Bible, they don't get it. You're supposed to read it as if it's written as a personal letter to you, not for you to impose on everyone else. There are more atrocities done in God's name—more than in Hitler's name. It's what God calls fornicating the truth. And when you mix that with lies, that's called deception. God hated that more than anything.
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