Perhaps you have a little more time than usual for watching movies at this time of year. Perhaps you are looking for a good youth group or other small group activity. Perhaps you are looking for a selection for your congregation’s book and movie group. Here are some recommendations for movies that explore immigration issues. -Ed.
The Visitor (2007) 104 minutes, PG-13
In this fictional drama, an American college professor and a young immigrant couple grapple with the treatment of immigrants and the legal process post-9/11. The film makers are using the film to call attention to issues of due process, detention and deportation. Learn more about what you can do in response. (more…)
This is another in a series of posts exploring the wisdom Jewish and Christian scripture and tradition offer as we strive to faithfully respond to immigration issues. This is an excerpt from Rev. Lucinda Duncan’s sermon, “Taking Jesus Seriously,” preached at Follen Church Society in Lexington, MA on December 19, 2010- Ed.
In the Gospels, Jesus says:
Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
A more accurate translation would have said, Blessed are the destitute…
What is this all about? Was as Jesus saying that God actually blessed the destitute, the beggars? Was Jesus simply a romantic charismatic liberalwho thought everyone could be taken in and fed?
The reality is that Jesus was saying that Godblessedthedestitute, the beggars, because they were the poor who had then hit hard times. After struggling to eke out a basic minimum living, they were crushed by debt, disease, or drought and could no longer make a living. They needed to beg on the streets to gather enough coins to put some food into the mouths of their children. Now let me just say: We know these people. In modern times these are the people who, in desperation, pay a year’s wage to a mafia coyote for the opportunity to risk life and limb to be transported illegally into the United States. Once here these are the people who are hired by major corporations to pick crops for substandard wages, to pluck chickens for fast food chains, or to wait around in groups on empty city corners to see if someone might drive by to offer them a single day’s wage.
Do you get what I’m talking about here? Yes, it’s our immigration issue, and it’s not going away. Yes, I’m saying that the people Jesus would call blessed by God are these very people, the undocumented immigrants carted into the United States by crime rings who care not a whit for the life or safety of any of their recruits and who are now the cause for such a ruckus in states like Arizona who believes every undocumented immigrant is a criminal trespasser.
If we are to take the words and the actions of Jesus seriously, we need to look at and listen to the needs of the poor, the undocumented, and the impoverished in this nation. We have the resources to do this. We used to have the heart. Could listening to what Jesus had to say, and how he lived his life, help us to realize hope and dignity must be supported somewhere, by someone or some people? Does listening to the words and looking at the life of Jesus change any of your minds about our immigration issues, about the minor actions — like the DREAM Act – that could possibly affect some of those in the right age group to win legal approval from the land in which they were raised? Can we bring ourselves to see what is morally relevant about Jesus’ philosophy and work together to provide hope and dignity to those who are settling this land? How seriously do we want to take Jesus?
Rev. Lucinda Duncan is Minister Emerita of the Follen Church Society, Lexington, Massachusetts.
At the 2001 General Assembly in Cleveland, OH, delegates marched to the baseball stadium to protest the use of the name “Indians” as the team mascot. This effort was particularly cathartic for me. I was a relatively new UU and a long time fan of another baseball team with an equally racially-charged mascot, the Atlanta Braves. I honestly had never been bothered by such team names, and the march and rally challenged me to rethink the insensitivity and privilege of the dominant culture, of which I am a part.
As the delegates filed out of the hall and into a pouring rain, someone started singing “One More Step”, a hymn written by Canadian UU composer, Joyce Poley. No one had copies of Singing the Living Tradition in hand, and it appeared to be an impromptu decision to sing together as we marched in peaceful protest. I was moved to tears as I began a journey of bringing music to the cause of social witness. Although we were guests in that city, our music brought a calming, yet galvanizing, presence to the protest. (more…)
I love the Youth Caucus at General Assembly because of our community’s open-minded flexibility and fantastically positive energy. This is not to say that these qualities are exclusive to the Youth Caucus, but, as a youth chaplain to the Youth Caucus last year at GA, I had the privilege of observing my peers’ growth throughout the week, and I can assure you that their growth was astounding. Sure, we may be a bit rowdy at times, but our age also gives us a unique readiness to consider alternative opinions and perspectives.
A good example of this comes from an experience at last year’s GA. In addition to being a chaplain, I had the honor of being a member of the Right Relationship Team. Early in the week, another member of the Right Relationship Team pulled me aside and informed me of an issue with one of the games that was played at the Youth Caucus mixer the previous night. The game was called Ninja; to play, a group of people stand in a circle and take turns making swift movements to tap the hand of the person next to them. The last player to remain untapped is the winner. The game is a ton of fun, and very popular, but its name is also a serious cultural misappropriation. (more…)