Passed along in email this evening was "The Jesus of Siberia," a three-part little film about a group in the Russian boondocks led by a man who seems to be god in the eyes of his followers. The photography is as good as the reporter is Stepin-Fetchit irritating.
Why it is that journalism feels it has to lie down and spread its legs for the spiritual life I really don't know. A reporter's job is to know the questions his or her readers/viewers might ask -- and to know as well the questions s/he might want answered -- and then just ask those questions without fear or favor. It doesn't have to be rude, but it doesn't have to be simpering or slavish either.
This reporter in this instance seemed to feel he was doing his job by mentioning the fact that outsiders sometimes characterized the community as a "cult." But was it? If so, how? If not, why not? Wouldn't a reporter want to nail such things down a bit?
If a man like "Vissarion Christ," formerly Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, a traffic cop, allows others to set him up as god and claims to be an incarnation of Jesus, how does he see himself and in what way is arrogance not in play? It is lovely to go to a lovely distant setting and give rein to the better angels of our nature, but how can the devils be absent when geography seems to be a part of the cure? Don't people want some evidence one way or the other -- is it true or is it bullshit? Ask, find out, adduce evidence ... or get off the documentary circuit.
It is interesting and touching to see people reaching out for something nourishing and peaceful in themselves. I would guess there are many who feel such whispers within. I wouldn't fault it for a minute ... but I wouldn't let it go unexamined either.