While the ongoing U.S. political campaigns bring some attention to pressing social problems, many of the toughest global challenges remain mired in gridlock, ignorance, or just plain hopelessness. The eight U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are one attempt to name some of those challenges-reducing poverty, and improving the health of mothers and children, for example-but it's still hard to know where to start.
Being in the story-telling business (as well as personal believers in the story of Jesus), we wondered what stories out there might help us not only understand these goals better, but prod us toward solutions. So we asked film writer Donovan Jacobs to compile a list of documentaries that tell the stories of communities around the world that are wrestling with these challenges, many of which overlap. The films he mentions in "Seeing is Believing" would make excellent fodder for your worship or community group.
One issue we'd like to see added to the list of MDGs is nuclear proliferation-as in, let's end it. In "Sleepwalking in a Nuclear Minefield," former Canadian senator Douglas Roche outlines the always-present danger of nuclear weapons, no matter how "improved" or "revitalized" their technology. As long as they exist, there is a danger that they'll be used. Such instruments, Roche writes, "are a violation of life itself," yet the U.S. and other major powers continue to stockpile weapons-and cry "foul" when other countries seek to do the same. In this season of Easter, a joyful celebration of resurrection and life, let us press our leaders-religious and secular-to end our reliance on weapons that destroy, rather than affirm, life.