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Family Fundamentals

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Family Fundamentals
from Film Forum, 11/14/02

Denny Wayman and Hal Conklin (Cinema in Focus) praise the new documentary Family Fundamentals, a film that focuses on the experience of three homosexuals and their troubled family relationships.

"Documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong takes us into the world of three gay individuals who have suffered rejection from their Christian families. Viewed as 'living in sin' by those who are the closest to them, Brian Bennett, Susan Jester, and Brett Mathews each find themselves in circumstances conditionally cut off from those they love. It is hard to know who feels the greater pain, the parents or their adult children. Family Fundamentals neither condones nor condemns the gay lifestyles of these three adults, but it does focus on the paralysis and pain of lost relationships that have resulted. While the documentary may be about Susan, Brett, and Brian, the real story is about the difficulty we all face in truly loving our family and friends in the midst of our differences. There is no more 'fundamental' value in Christianity than loving each other unconditionally, and yet this is where we are all caught up short of the goal."

Wayman and Conklin also provide helpful questions for post-viewing discussion: "When we express the goal of 'hating the sin but loving the sinner' how should that look in our lives and churches? What is necessary to 'hate the sin'? Does this include shunning the sinner? And if we agree it cannot mean we withhold love from the sinner or shun them from our lives, then how do we live with the tension—how do we weave integrity and love into a single fabric of relationship?"