It happened again this year, it happens every year, Good Friday to be exact.
"It's Friday....but Sunday's coming!"
Over and over as I scroll this phrase is repeated and repreated. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram the platform doesn't matter but the words repeat over and over.
Tony Campolo was and still is a big presence within the Christian fold. The longevity of this line taken from an often told Campolo tale is testament to that. I remember witnessing it first hand at Sumer Madness many years ago. This charismatic, evangelical preacher had us all laughing, crying and had us hanging on every word, it was hard not to be won over by his infectious charisma.
His son Bart was at one time a preacher too, very much involved in his fathers ministries he travelled far and wide spreading the Good News and changing lives as he went. Over the years however, he began to question his faith and it was with some suprise in evangelical circles that Bart announced he had walked away from Christianity in favour of becoming a secular humanist.
Far From The Tree documents a conversation between Bart and Tony on how this change occured, why it occurred and the impact it has had on their relationship.
The documentary is wonderfully well balanced and gives both a platform to explain their positions without declaring an outright winner in the debate. Both of the subjects are excellent communicators and it's clear they have both told these tales numerous times but they still maintain the true emotion of this unforseen change. In one moment we can tell the exit wounds are not fully healed for Tony as he closes his eyes in an almost painful flinch from the tale being told. Despite this pain the relationship and conversation between the two is loving, gracious, heartfelt and sincere.
This documentary shows that although differences exist and are debated between the pair, it is possible for a relationship to be maintained and mutually nurtured. So often when conflicts in thinking like this arise, angry arguments and unconquerable chasms can develop. Far From The Tree allows for both of the Campolo's story to be told and acknowledges that while their ideologies now differ, some bonds can withstand even the tougest of trials.
To steal another quote from Christian social media timelines, Far From The Tree proves that love wins.
You can find out more about the film at www.campolofilm.org.
Special thanks to Peter Rollins and Seedhead Arts for screening access