“If the church could just recapture that vision and embrace God’s design for family,” says Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, “we could revolutionize our society.” Daly says that was the thinking behind Irreplaceable, Focus on the Family’s new documentary film (and its companion small-group experience, The Family Project). When his team first started work on these initiatives, they had three concepts at the forefront of their minds: recover, renew, and reclaim.
I recently corresponded with Glenn Stanton, co-author of both Irreplaceable and The Family Project and director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, about these projects and the current state of the family.
Focus on the Family is not known to be in the film business, but you are now. Tell us about what your film Irreplaceable is and why Focus decided to create it.
We realized there is a great need in evangelicalism for a fuller, more robust theology and anthropology of family. And this is what we hope to accomplish with this project—Irreplaceable, a feature-length documentary released in theaters. This film serves as the introduction of the 12-part small-group DVD curriculum entitled The Family Project. We have been working on this film for about four years, so this release is the culmination of great deal of hard work. I had the honor of serving as the co-author of the film and curriculum with my good friend Leon Wirth.
How would you describe the state of the family now, and where does Irreplaceable and The Family Project engage this?
Few would disagree with the fact that family has undergone tremendous change in the past four or five decades, perhaps more than all the millennia prior. And only a few think these changes have been good save for those who believe anything that challenges the “mom-dad-and-the kids” model is a positive development. These folks are few but unfortunately influential. Their fruit has spoiled.
What we do know, indisputably from the social sciences, is that none of these changes with the form of family—divorce, cohabitation, fatherlessness, sexual expressiveness—has provided personal or community well-being like the married mother/father model does and has. In fact, they each fall far short in dramatic and harmful ways. This is not acceptable for anyone who thinks the “love your neighbor” ethic of sociability is desirable.
We start by examining the most basic needs for every human—intimacy and the need for a sense of significance—and how these are clues to understand both God and his gift of family. And we hope people will learn much about God, themselves, their neighbors, and families from there.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition