Conversations with Radical Empathy - Jubilee Media
In 2010, filmmaker Jason Y. Lee quit his day job to begin making films that he believed could invigorate social change, human flourishing, and radical empathy. Inspired by deeply held Christian beliefs, he has since produced a groundbreaking documentary available on Amazon, Save My Seoul, about sex trafficking and prostitution in South Korea, and is the founder of Jubilee Media.
Positioning itself as a digital brand producing content for millennials, Jubilee Media features (on their Youtube channel) a number of digital shows, with each committing in different ways to the same values out of which Lee began making films. One of these that may make for a helpful youth ministry resource is their 'Middle Ground’ series. In it, they select 6 individuals representing two opposing viewpoints on an issue. They then read off a series of statements with all 6 standing against a wall. Those who agree with the statement of the moment come together and sit, discussing why they agree. Those who do not join them after a pre-arranged time, commenting and discussing why they did not agree with the statement. Over time, the format shows how many with widely differing opinions can find common ground on some issues, while also finding empathy for opposing viewpoints such that even the positions they stick to are articulated with more grace towards the opposing side.
While youth workers will want to pre-screen any individual show before using it (the show is produced for millenials, and episodes have been produced such as ‘Sex Workers vs. Pastors’), its content is incredibly solid and could serve as a conversation starter for discussions on any number of hot button issues. Additionally, the show models active listening and the ability to dignify those who hold even beliefs one finds repulsive - something desperately needed in a social-media age where friendships are ended due to association with specific individuals or viewpoints regardless of the nature of the relationship as a whole. One method might be to view an episode (not already relating to Christianity) and then add a ‘gospel-centered’ side or two, affirming and challenging points made during the episode as the subject interacts with the truth of the gospel. Groups can also dialogue about modern evangelism - how difficult it is in a culture that prizes tolerance above all else, yet how Paul does this very thing (finding common ground) in Acts 17 in an effort to help explain the gospel. You can find Middle Ground on Youtube.