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Two Great Documentaries

May 8, 2008

Maxed Out

I’ve had the chance to see two marvelous documentaries (thanks Netflix!) and both have made me think and re-evaluate things in my own life.

Maxed Out is a deep look at the effects of debt in the lives of Americans.  It has a personal touch with some great vintage video footage.  If you have the chance to rent it or borrow it from a friend, I say watch it!

Amazon.com says this about the film:

In Maxed Out, author/director James D. Scurlock (Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders) takes on America’s debt crisis. Consequently, he touches on related issues like race, corporate malfeasance, and political subterfuge. Scurlock’s multi-media approach incorporates statistics, news excerpts, and interviews, but it’s rarely dull (comedy bits from Louis CK and tunes from Queen and Coldplay don’t hurt). Speakers include economic professors, debt collectors, pawn brokers, investigative reporters, beleaguered consumers, and even Robin Leach (Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous). Instead of New York and Los Angeles, he concentrates on mid-size cities, like Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, and Seattle. Plenty of small towns also come into play. Though he never presses the point himself, Scurlock allows his subjects to note the similarities between the credit industry and the drug trade (others use such incendiary terms as “rape”). One thing he neglects to mention, however, is pride. If house payments are ruining your life, selling that property may be the only solution. In most cases, however, it’s hard not to feel for those individuals who didn’t know what they were getting into before they signed their lives away. For some viewers, this will be a dispiriting documentary–three subjects recount the suicides of relatives who found their debt too much to bear–but in explaining exactly how lenders and creditors make money, Maxed Out can help others to avoid some of their most egregious practices. In other words, debt may be a downer, but knowledge is power. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

Maxed Out hits very close to home for me.  I, like many fellow Americans, am in debt and I hate it!  After seeing this documentary, I feel like I’ve been played like a chump because the credit card companies know how to exploit us like nobodies business!  This documentary would be perfectly family friendly but for about 1 minute of a comedian using some adult language.

This film was a great kick in the pants for me.  I have read Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, but I need to re-read it again.  Maybe I’ll blog about that as I read through it.  Ramsey does a great job revealing the myths of debt and gives the reader real world steps for getting out of debt.

On a different note, the second documentary I viewed was called “For the Bible Tells Me So“.For The Bible Tells Me So   Two years ago I never would’ve watched this film.  I had the same mindset as presented in this documentary.  The Bible says homosexuality is wrong and therefore gay people are evil and willfully sinning and want to destroy Christianity.  I never really thought about the individual and their struggle to find out who they are and why they feel the way they do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a Christian and I still think homosexuality is not God’s design for us, but I’ve lost most of my self righteous attitude towards the people calling themselves gay and lesbian. 

This documentary is very tastefully done and honestly tells the story of how the American Church has persecuted the homosexual community.  I was actually embarrassed as I watched because I used to feel exactly the same way as the Christians presented here.  The American Church has tagged homosexuality the bane of all evil and that gay marriage will ruin civilization as we know it.  I honestly think that if Jesus were here on earth in this day, He would love and minister to gay people, not marginalize them.  His attitude would be far from the prevalent attitude shown by the American Church.  He’d be less concerned about gay marriage and more concerned with being friends and loving the homosexual community.

I’m very glad that I carved out some time (well, mostly driving time as I worked) to watch and listen to these two films.  Both have challenged me, as all good documentaries should.

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One Comment
  1. May 9, 2008 2:20 pm

    The wife and I should check out these vids soon. They sound like good viewing and very informative.

    We had a lot of debt problems in the past. We’ve been very blessed to come as far as we have through persistence and family support in dealing with that issue. Credit cards are supposed to be an asset but, for many, they are a very painful learning lesson. Now we use them for small purchases from time to time and only when we are sure we have the funds to cover the charge. My first advice (maybe I should write a blog entry, or a YouTube vid on this!) to all would probably be NEVER sign up for a credit card through a minor bank or lender, especially those “starter cards”. Those cards have exorbitant APRs and monthly/yearly fees attached! Better to go through your own bank, as they can work with you and know your financial history.

    Like you, we are Christians as well, and we also have some gay/bi friends and co-workers that we talk to sometimes. We feel the same way; even though the Bible states that homo lifestyles are not God’s plan for us, Jesus would have the same love and ministering to their hearts if He is accepted in their lives and would offer salvation to those who accept Him. Slight sidetrack: I would love to debate with a Christian theologian or pastor about what God’s plan is for people who are born with both sex attributes (hermaphroditism). Aren’t they God’s creation as well, or are they to be treated as a blasphemy and cursed simply because of how they were created?

    A good post, as usual. Keep it up, man!

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