Watch “The Line” and #TalkPoverty

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, tonight you can watch the world premiere of (what promises to be) a terrific, important and compelling movie: The Line.  I threw in that parenthetical qualifier because, of course, I haven’t actually seen the film. Hence the “world premiere” part. 🙂

But I absolutely expect The Line to be compelling. While we USAmericans almost always talk about poverty by way of statistics*, it is stories that move us. Stories, especially (though not always) well-told ones, grab us. Stories shake us up. Stories move us. Sometimes stories even change us. And that is why I have such high expectations of The Line – it tells stories.

The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. From Chicago’s suburbs and west side to the Gulf Coast to North Carolina, millions of Americans are struggling every day to make it above The Line. []

Once again, here’s the trailer:

In just a few hours, at 7:00pm CDT, you can watch the world premiere of the film at it’s site. Click over. Watch the film. Stay there for a panel discussion following the movie.

Then, if you want to be really, extra, super cool…come back here and tell me what you thought of the film by leaving a comment!

But most importantly, let’s stop demonizing poor and hungry people. Instead, let’s make reducing poverty and caring for poor and hungry people a focus of our national politics and, if applicable, of our faith.

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”

*Unless of course we want to disparage poor and hungry people. Then we almost always use an anecdote about this one person in this one place who really totally abused the system. So obviously no body anywhere should ever be helped at all.

Toeing “The Line”

I’ve written rather extensively about my involvement with and support for Bread for the World. I’ve been less vocal about my involvement with and support for Sojourners. But both organizations help me reflect upon a Christian commitment to social justice. Both organizations help me act on that commitment.

So you can imagine my interest when I discovered that both Bread and Sojo were involved in a new project together! Bonus: there are really two projects.

Now, I don’t know what was up with the “Middle Class First” signs at the DNC (though I suspect it was an appeal for people to think “we’re just folks.” Or more specifically, “we’re just folks like you!”)

But what I heard almost none of was what each party is doing and will do to fight poverty, to protect programs like SNAP, WIC, earned income tax credits. Which are all programs that literally get people from being hungry and lift people out of poverty. Isn’t that something both Republicans and Democrats say they want? To lift people out of poverty? Then we need a President willing to join the circle of protection around those programs.

From Bread: “We believe that this presidential campaign should include a clear focus on what each candidate proposes to do to provide help and opportunity for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.” Bread & Sojo asked, and President Obama and Governor Romney offered these responses:

But it seems to me, both responses more or less just parrot their already-determined platforms. Though I do appreciate the President grounding his response in his faith. How about really dealing with actual poverty? That’s the second awesome project: The Line.

A movie of stories. Real stories. Here’s the trailer. Woodridge UMC plans to screen the whole film in October. I hope you will join us.