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Tim Sisarich, executive director of Focus on the Family New Zealand, purposely left his family at home to tour the world in search of answers to two critical questions: “What is family?” and “Does family still matter in today’s society?”
Along the way, he found something he says is truly “irreplaceable.”
Sisarich’s journey is chronicled in “Irreplaceable,” the new film presented by Fathom Events, Focus on the Family and Pine Creek Entertainment coming to theaters in a one-night only event, Tuesday, May 6.
“Every day in the media, the life choices of my neighbors and even in public policy, I seem to be told I’ve got it wrong,” said Sisarich of his dedication to the traditional, nuclear family. “I have to ask the question, does culture have it right or is there something better?”
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly told WND “Irreplaceable” meets society right where it is, at a place where the old black-and-white photos of Mom and Pop are being replaced by ever-changing relationship “status updates” on Facebook, where lifelong commitments are being phased out for “temporary marriages,” easy divorces and “hooking up.”
What, he asked, can we reasonably expect to see when society trades away the traditional family structure? And is that what we really want?
“As a culture we want to cease traditional sexual morality or the way to do family or the way to do marriage,” Daly said, “yet in our hearts, it’s a different matter. Television viewers a few years ago were part of a research survey where 93 percent of MTV viewers said they really would like to meet one person and be happily married to that one person the rest of their lives. That’s pretty profound.
“It’s like there is this imprint in the heart of all of us,” he continued, “and I think that’s God’s design; He put it there. We know what is desirable and natural. Yet we fight it, so I think at the core, we are fighting against our very nature when we fight against the family and against what God has put in place.”
“Irreplaceable” invites audiences to explore the consequences of the path society has been taking.
Daly continued, “I think can we educate and inform the viewer to say, ‘OK, wait a minute, do we have to go down this road of deconstructing the family in order to come to point where we go, whoops, we had a wrong: Actually a mom and dad committed to each other and raising their children actually is the best family structure that society can encourage in order to have healthy families and healthy culture?'”
Helping to answer those questions are interviews in “Irreplaceable” with George Mason University Professor of Law Helen Alvaré; National Center for Fathering CEO Carey Casey; radio host Michel Medved; speaker and radio host John Stonestreet; author Eric Metaxas; neuropsychologist Dr. Anne Moir; philosopher Dr. Roger Scruton; authors Gabe and Rebekah Lyons; scholar Nancy Pearcey and others.
Daly told WND the goal of "Irreplaceable," however, is not to make an argument or apologetic for family values, but to begin conversations about where people really want to go with their lives.
"How do we show the roadmap to the culture to say, if you're in pain, if you're lonely, if you're depressed, many of the things that many in this culture are feeling right now, there is a way out, there is hope?" Daly asked. "For us the emphasis on the family is critical because we learn love in the family, we learn judgment in the family, we learn so much in the family context, and so many families are in an unhealthy place and I think that's one of the reasons we have so many issues within the younger generation.
"'Irreplaceable' on May 6 is really the kick-off to ask the question, 'Why family, who designed it and is it working?" He concluded.
The next step, Daly explained, is to invite others to join in studying a new video discussion and small group resource being created called "The Family Project."
Inspired by the success of Focus on the Family's "The Truth Project" with Dr. Del Tackett – which Daly says has been seen by about four million people – "The Family Project" follows a similar format of 12 DVD sessions and discussion guides focusing on the major ethical, philosophical and worldview issues behind our concept of family.
" I am excited about it," Daly told WND of "The Family Project." "I think it gives a deep dive into the question why – Why do we need to behave in the ways Scripture asks us, requires us, to behave? … The curriculum does the deep dive into each of the areas of sexuality and marriage and divorce and parenting to really, hopefully, come to some conclusions that motivate people to live in a way that is healthy."
And what did Sisarich find on his journey that was so "irreplaceable"? He found the power of family, of fatherhood, of forgiveness, but to answer the question might also spoil the movie.
Daly told WND what Sisarich did find couldn't be more timely.
"It seems in our family relationships we're floundering; we don't know what is true, what is it a dad should do – should we pull back, should we engage, all those kinds of questions many men go through – and a frustrated mom who doesn't actually know what to do either," he said. "I think when you leave 'Irreplaceable' then go to the 'The Family Project,' you hopefully will conclude the answer to why I need to be a better dad, a better husband, a better mother, a better mom, a better wife and have a better understanding and a higher motivation to live a life of a higher calling, of sacrifice, of doing the right things in order to hopefully place your family in the best possible position to honor God. And that's a good thing."