At The End Of The Day: A Journey Towards Affirmation

by Kevin O'Brien

I’m sorry! I had no idea.

How could you? You only answer questions. You never ask any.

This bit of dialogue from the film At The End Of The Day gets to the heart of its message. At The End Of The Day a dramatic comedy about a conservative Christian professor who experiences a profound change when he finds himself in a gay support group to foil their launch of an LGBT homeless teen shelter. It is about asking questions. Then listening to and honoring the answers. The film is also about the highly sensitive topic of sexual and gender orientation within American-Christian social circles.

So why is a straight Christian guy making his first feature film about tensions between the church and the LGBT community?

I am also a father. This parenting thing is something that has wrecked my life in the most amazing way. When I became a parent, life was no longer about me. As my children grow, developed personalities and preferences, I found life was really never about me.

One question that compelled my wife and I to re-examine our Pentecostal “love the sinner, hate the sin” upbringing:

What if one of our kids came out? What would unconditional love look like in our family?

This sent us into years of research, questions, and listening. We met new friends and read new books and heard new stories. We realized that those stories had just as much validity as our story did. We continue to learn, but one thing has been very clear to us: there is so much we had wrong.

We committed to lean into love and grace – and slowly moved toward a fully affirming theology.

If the hypothetical question about our kids coming out started us on this journey, another question wouldn’t let us quit:

If we were adults during the civil rights movement, would we have stood up and marched?

My wife and I are white. Our biological son is white. Our two other children are adopted and are brown. Race is a very real dynamic in our family. We see the world through a different lens now than we did growing up with our white privilege. This is neither good nor bad – it is just a reality. I have been haunted by a fear that I would have lacked the courage to stand when my friends and church might say to remain sitting.

So now that we see the world of sexuality through a different lens, we must stand and speak.

We have to tell this story of redemption – not from a sexual perversion, but from a position of arrogance and marginalization. I have been a part of the church who doesn’t want to ask any questions. I understand it. But I cannot stay there – and I cannot leave quietly.

I have long been an opponent of “safe” stories. Stories that try to package life or faith or anything into a simple “A + B = Jesus Loves You” message. Through all my short films I’ve tried to infuse a motto of “Why tell a story if it’s safe?” This is the motto my family and I take into creating At The End Of The Day.

For too long the Church has treated the LGBT community as “less than” members (and member is probably too strong a word). Fear, ignorance and pride have perpetuated our leadership. We’ve spent decades trying to provide all the answers.

Sadly these “answers” we were giving were way off, often destroying families, relationships and lives.

I think it’s time we ask questions. And then take the time to listen to and honor the answers.

It’s time we say “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

And this film is my way of doing that.

Click HERE to find out more information on the film and how you could help to spread it’s message!