On Famous People Converting

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shia-labeouf-fury-v3I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning (who reads Saturday blog posts?) thinking about the news that Shia LaBeouf apparently found God on the set of Fury. Jokingly, I told a friend of mine while I’m genuinely happy for him finding God, I am now concerned that I’m going to have like Transformers 1-3 (I still shudder when I think of the second film) and the last Indiana Jones movie. Here are a few thoughts I’ve penned…

My mind flashes back to other “stars” who revealed they had some conversion experience – BJ Thomas, Bob Dylan, Mel Gibson (well, I think he had some religious background prior), Anne Rice, and Jane Fonda. Christians love it when those who live and breathe in the wasteland of liberal thinking called “The Arts” come to their senses and join “our side”. It’s kind of like a way of validating our existence and that we’re not so irrelevant after all! Certainly some, maybe all of these “conversions” of famous people were real, not spurious, or used as a way to stay in the headlines and not fade away. But I do have some concerns.

First, while I want to be charitable, I’m not sure what “finding God” means these days. If the move is from agnosticism or atheism to theism, I’m in his corner! If the move is from a general spirituality to belief in Christ, I’m thrilled. What I groan over is the excessive, “I want to thank God” speech at the Oscars or even the parasitic statement, “I’m so blessed” with no real visible belief in God evidenced in every day life (when the camera is not rolling), as hard as that is for someone in the entertainment industry.

But I also groan over what Christians tend to do with famous people. Listen, I’m as thrilled as the next person but there are certain things that we do with and to these people that feels like we are using them. What we forget is these are real people, who come with a real history and have real needs. To prop them up as one of “us” and use them for public appearances to give their “testimony” and to represent us in the industry is neurotic on our part and sad. No one likes to be used so when we use athletes, performers, and literary figures as representing “us”, we are doing to them what we dislike about people doing to us. Then we justify it by saying something like, “they are public figures who have a public responsibility.” We like it and embrace Mel Gibson as one of “us” when he produces an epic movie on the passion of Christ but we disown him when he’s connected to virulent anti-semitic statements. These are real people, not objects to be loved when they do the good, and then thrown away when their usefulness to us is done.

So a word to those who think this is the best thing that’s happened in Hollywood since The Passion came out , pray for Shia LaBeouf and then leave him off the pedestal. Let him live a “quiet” life to get anchored in his faith. And now a word to Mr. LaBeouf…

Most importantly, get grounded in your faith through someone who can mentor you. In fact, I would highly suggest that you find two mentors. One who is in the industry who knows how a Christian should navigate through the industry and be the best actor you were created to be without selling your soul and without coming across publicly like an unintelligent goof. There is a way that you can learn from countless people, really good at what they do, who have learned how not to give away their Christian identity. Second, I would find a mentor outside the industry who can help you over time to learn how to read the Bible, learn how to pray, learn the importance of the church, learn how to talk about Christ with others that is winsome, as well as learning how to care for your own soul (that’s what a lot of Christians need to learn!). Ok, my last bit of advice is (like you really care about what I have to say), please don’t let your agent tell you that the best way to go is to star in some cheesy Christian movie or some remake of a movie that is about a rather disputed theology that has to do with some end times scheme. That’s the quickest way to being dismissed as irrelevant…

4 thoughts on “On Famous People Converting

  1. TyHoad

    You are wise.
    Also, parenthetically speaking, I’m glad 40 bajillion people weren’t watching MY every single move after I professed faith in Christ… I mean, yeeeeesh. Not pretty.
    Ps: I read Saturday blog posts :p
    So there.

    • jonnitta

      I am going to pray that the two of you cross paths and fall in love! Who know… you might even get some bit parts in his upcoming movies!! I loved the comment!

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