Brief Review of God in America, 2010 documentary

Today is a day off for me, so this morning I just finished watching the six part series “God in America,” and I don’t think I have ever seen a documentary that has impressed me more. The series was remarkable for its historical balance as well as its pacing. If it were a book, I’d say “it was a real page turner, well-written as well as informative.” Documentaries can get bogged down and lost in their own details. That is the drawback of filming (or writing) history. “God in America” was as close to watching a drama as a documentary can get.

“God in America” covers the entire spectrum of U.S. history, highlighting the major religious movements, their cultural contexts, and their influence on the nations politics and society. The film series really stuck with showing the forest and at no point found itself lost in the trees. Certainly the drawback to such a project is that many events get left out, and I’m sure that there are many legitimate complaints about what events and historical theories are missing from the film. Yet as an introduction to U.S. religious history (and simply as a piece of entertainment for historical junkies such as myself!), “God in America” cannot be beat.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a infomercial, I am going to say, “But wait! There’s more!!” The series is available to view online. So, there’s no excuse. “Buy now!” If nothing else, watch Episode 5 and 6, which cover the 1950-60s and our contemporary religious context, respectively. Episode 5 was particularly fascinating because it juxtaposed Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr., two major religious leaders who led it two quite different ways. Graham represented and ministered primarily to the white establishment, often friends with Presidents, and his gospel message was focused on saving souls for eternity. King, on the other hand, worked outside the establishment and his gospel focused on social justice for those deprived of basic civil rights.

God in America

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

3 thoughts on “Brief Review of God in America, 2010 documentary”

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.