12 October 2008

what is your response?

Friday night i went to watch a new documentary that was recently released named "Call and Response." This project was created by a musician named Justin Dillon. Justin found inspiration to create this film when he unexpectedly came face to face with the truth of slavery in our world. He found out the overwhelming fact that there are approximately 27 million slaves are in our world today.


in our world.

i have to admit, i really had no idea what to expect when i sat down in my chair friday night at the cute little draft house theater in virginia. i had watched the trailer and it completely blew me away. i knew that this film would be unlike any other i had ever seen. i, myself, have become increasingly enlightened about the truth of this pain and oppression happening in our world over the past couple of years. i have seen things first hand in romania and mexico that, on many days, i wish i could erase from my mind...and i had no clue how the film would tackle the issues.

'Call + Response' has been deemed a sort of "rockumentary" because of its marvelous cast of musicians. Justin used his influence within the music scene to ask many artists to contribute to this collaborative response against the injustice. some of the artists involved were Moby, Switchfoot, Natasha Bedingfield, Talib Kweli, Five For Fighting and many others.

my favorite song was by imogen heap. it left me feeling breathless.

Even more than all the great music was true content about the three types of slavery that exist today: Sex Trafficking, Forced Labor, and Child Soldiers.

"Call + Response goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2007, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined."

Throughout the film advocates and abolitionists were interviewed concerning the issue of slavery. Dr. Cornel West (who was phenomenal!), Madeleine Albright, Daryl Hannah, Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd, Nicholas Kristof, Gary Haugen (founder of International Justice Mission) and many other prominent political and cultural figures offered first hand accounts of the 21st century slave trade.

one of the most compelling parts in my mind was the recount of the story of William Wilberforce and his fight to end the british slave trade...an incredible awe-inspiring story.

i know that this film could possibly leave you feeling devastated and helpless. it is hard to hear this information and not feel a heavy weight of sadness. though you will most likely feel intense emotions, my hope and prayer is that you will also be encouraged to reach out with compassionate action. i think the heart behind the film is to remind us as an audience that we CAN do something. we might can give 5 dollars (or much more) to an organization that is on the forefront fighting slavery. we might gather a group of people together and dedicate time to learn more about the injustices happening around the world. (i recommend 'Good News about Injustice' by Gary Haugen) we could raise awareness or fund raise by using our talents: art, music, writing, etc. we can communicate this message to our friends and family.

in our eyes we might not think we can do all that much.

but i can't help but be reminded of the all too familiar story of Jesus when he fed thousands of people with a little boy's sack lunch.

Matthew recounts the story... "As evening approached, the disciples came to him [Jesus] and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat."

They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"

"What do you have?" he asked. "Go and see."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said.

first, we see the disciples overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problem: thousands of hungry people. then, we see jesus simply not agree with their idea to send the people away. instead, jesus commands the disciples to do exactly what they felt was impossible. the disciples, assuming that there was obviously no way to feed the people, wanted to get rid of the problem. jesus seemed to have a different perspective. in the midst of their concentration on what they lacked, jesus asked them a simple, yet profound question...

"what do you have?"

he then said,

"Bring it here to me."

i think God is asking us the same question. What do we have? What can we do?

if you are like me, the immediate answer to those questions seems too small. too little. not significant enough to actually make a difference in the fight against such big issues as sex trafficking...

but what if we answered God's invitation to bring what we have to him. what if we really believed in the power of God, not the power of ourselves? what if we recognized that giving what we have today is all that God asks of us? God is the miracle worker, not us.

What can you do to help end this 21st century slave trade?