Last week we watched a film detailing the lives of Fundamentalist Baptist constituents in a Massachusetts congregation. This was a really interesting film to watch because I felt that it portrayed an extremely truthful description of the church itself. I was surprised to see the honesty of congregants during their interviews, who chose to relay both their feelings of happiness as well as feelings of disappointment with their church, where it would have been easy to highlight only the positive aspects of their congregation.
One of the most interesting relationships within the film, for me, was the relationship between the married couple who had recently split up, as well as the pastor’s engagement in the conflict. Despite the fact that the husband had treated his wife very poorly, because the wife had chosen not to return to church, the pastor chose to support the husband in his decision to restrict their children’s access to their mother. I found this relationship to be very interesting because, while watching the film, I found myself sympathizing with the wife, rather than the husband. This was indicative of how my own upbringing and morals affected my view of the situation. I also found it interesting how the husband chose to leave the church after his wife filed for divorce. In this sense, I found that the church’s emphasis on how the text of the Bible can explain and resolve issues ultimately did not resolve the husband’s situation. As a result, he left the church because he felt that it could not fulfill what he desired in his religious life. This was really interesting to observe because, on some level, this mirrored my own relationship with religion, as I left because I did not feel that religion is something that would contribute to my life significantly. In the case of the husband he felt that the Fundamentalist church in Massachusetts could not fulfill his spiritual needs because the Bible text did not resolve his relationship issues.