Monday, December 14, 2009

Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi (2007) (The Film's Title)

The title of the film comes from the song “Friend of God” by Israel Houghton. Perhaps I am wrong, but my impression is that Ms. Pelosi chose the title in order to insinuate that the Christians featured in the film were self-righteous people who believed themselves to be God’s chosen people and/or to have special insights as to God’s will. Again, that subtle message does not serve the purported aim of the film to help the rest of society to better understand Evangelicals. Moreover, it distorts and misrepresents the song, from which the film’s title is taken.

Israel Houghton’s song is not a boastful song. Quite the opposite. The song begins with humble questions that are typically sung softly:

Who am I that You are mindful of me
That You hear me when I call?
Is it true that You are thinking of me?

The chorus rejoices in the answer to these questions:

I am a friend of God
He calls me friend.

The song is based on James 2:23, which references Isaiah 41:8. The point of these passages is that the Creator of the Universe loved Abraham so much that He called him his “friend,” a term that denotes intimacy and love. As the spiritual descendants of Abraham, God loves us all in the same way. This is a beautiful, powerful concept to many if not most Christ followers. It is the essence of the Good News of Christ—that God loves each us very deeply and personally.

If one listens carefully to the lyrics, it is clear that Houghton’s song is not at all boastful or self-righteous. Instead, the song actually expresses great humility and awe that despite being relatively powerless human beings our omnipotent Creator loves each of us so ardently and intimately.

James 2:23 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness , and he was called God's friend.

Isaiah 41:8 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
descendant of Abraham, My friend

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