October 26, 2014

A volunteer wonders: Will we accept the challenge put forth in I.O.U.S.A.?

Although I.O.U.S.A. was not graced with the honor of an Oscar nomination this morning, the movie's power and message is undeniable. The filmmakers did a great service to the issue of fiscal responsibility and the country's dialogue about generational stewardship. 

This was eloquently brought home to me in a letter I recently received from one of my Midwestern volunteers. Strong in her Christian faith, she was instrumental in bringing a screening of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A." to her church in order to encourage others to see the parallels between Christian values and the stewardship practices needed now to ensure a good quality of life for future generations.

She starts out with a quote from Martin Luther King:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

And continues:

"A diverse group of people at our church gathered expectantly one Sunday afternoon. We shared a potluck meal together and then shared the challenging film, I.O.U.S.A.. I thought I knew what to expect, but there was so much I was unaware of about our economy and how we got to where we are now. I was stunned by the graphics expressing what many stories could not: this is a mess, a financial fiasco, there is plenty of blame to go around and we are all part of it. I was likewise relieved to hear speakers such as Warren Buffet, a man of great wealth but of modest needs, expressing his take on our financial status and future.

As we viewed the film, I reflected: As Christians we should be dismayed by the socio-economic circumstances we have created and are leaving to our children: we have increased disparity while over-consuming and leaving fewer (or much less valuable) resources--worse yet, we have built up debt that they will assume. 

What can we do about our long-term challenges? Our faith should inform not only how we accept Christ's challenge in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, comfort the sick, visit the prisoners, clothe the naked, but also how we view and use our earth's and our family's resources. For one thing, we can take steps that indicate that we recognize our responsibility as Christian stewards. Our finite natural resources should prod us to decide what kind of world we plan to leave our children and grandchildren? Are we wise enough to value the Native American concept of considering what the effects of a decision will be on to the seventh generation? 

Will we accept the challenge presented by I.O.U.S.A.?"

J. Down
Iowa City, IA

I appreciate greatly her sharing these sentiments with me, and look forward to working with her and other faith, civic, or business groups in the Midwest. Educating the public on these issues is the heart of what we do at Concord, so if you are interested in organizing a movie screening or a budget talk or an educational exercise, don't hesitate to contact us.

--Sara Imhof