Born Again

Director’s Statement

"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'." - Matthew 16:24

I spent my first 20 years steeped in religion as a born-again Christian. It took me the next twenty years to fully get out from under it. I loved my family, I loved God and I believed that Jesus was my personal Savior. Born Again reveals how difficult it is to untangle the ties of religion, especially when mixed with family and early childhood experiences. Each step I took away from "approved" doctrine and beliefs was accompanied with guilt and self-doubt. Was I betraying my family? Was I betraying God? Would I go to hell? The act of separating from parents, church and friends to lead a "sinful" life apart from God and eternal salvation was very painful and would take years.

I return to each of the places in my life that were seminal to my development away from religion. I use journal entries, photographs, home movies and my student films as evidence of my journey out of religion. I retrace my steps back to Wheaton College, Princeton Theological Seminary, to Berlin, Chicago and New York. It was first in Berlin where I was finally free enough (and far enough away) to consider the possibility that I didn't believe in the Bible, in salvation, or possibly in God.

Finally, no longer an evangelical, I am shocked to discover that religion has divided not just my family, but the whole country. As the country tilts to the right, I am astounded to observe the transformation of my parents' religious beliefs into the reigning politics of the day. The film ends in New York City where I reside with my partner and witness the rule of conservative, "Christian" Republican politics in Washington, D.C.

As an integrated person, the divide now exists outside of me and while the split in my family is painful and the divide in the country is troubling, I have emerged from the holds of religion hopeful, secular and resilient.