Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Movie You Might Have Missed #50: The Overnighters

"The problem is we’re working with sinners 
and some people are fearful."

#50. The Overnighters

The Overnighters (2014)

This documentary focuses on Pastor Jay Reinke's ministry to homeless men who have flocked to Williston, North Dakota to work in the oil fields but found jobs are not as plentiful as they thought. In some cases, the men are fleeing former problems which catch up to them and leave them unemployable.

Reinke's Lutheran church begins by offering shelter during the winter. The congregation eventually becomes overwhelmed when the "Overnighters" program shows no signs of shutting down although good weather has come because the needy continually arrive in ever-increasing numbers.

We follow Reinke as he and his family struggle to continue the ministry against increasing opposition, including from local media and city government. I was astounded at some of the frank conversations caught by Jesse Moss with his one camera set up.

At first this looks like a straight forward case of Christian hypocrisy. However, no story is ever as simple as it appears on the surface. As the documentary continues we are shown further strands of the story which lead into challenging, thought provoking waters. By the end we are left pondering a morass of complex issues which embody themes that may lead many a Christian to say, "There but for the grace of God, go I."

I could see everyone's struggle. The pastor trying to live the Gospel, the overwhelmed congregation, the men who just want a chance to work, and even the neighbors and local media. That is part of the value of this piece. It reflects us in so many ways and leaves us thinking about how we serve when the "other" is among us.

1 comment:

  1. Just added this to my Netflix list. Thanks, Julie. You find the best stuff.