Well, yesterday was interesting. I wrote a post and put it out there as usual, expecting my usual 150-ish people to read it, and somehow it got passed all over the world. I generally don’t write for all over the world. No, I write for my friends and family, and I consider them my true audience.
I started this blog because I wanted to leave something of myself for my children to read when I’m gone. I wanted to leave a legacy of faith in Jesus, and a testimony of how real God is and how He has worked in my life. Despite all of His work on me through the years, I am still plagued by plenty of weaknesses. But, I’m learning to depend on Him and trust that where I am weak He is strong, and He can take my okay-ness and do something good with it. I am trusting that is what He is doing with the Matthew McConaughey post from yesterday.
If you’ve read the comments, you know that I was not a popular person in lots of different circles yesterday. Many people felt like I was judging Matthew McConaughey. I was certainly judging the content of his movies. I think that it’s okay for me to do that, as a Christian. I didn’t watch the movies, but I get information about the content of movies and television shows from a great website called pluggedin.com. I don’t enjoy watching movies that are filled with sexual content and foul language, even if the overall message is good. I think explicit sex scenes are spiritually harmful to Christian people.
Yesterday’s post was not about whether Matthew McConaughey is a Christian. It wasn’t about whether I am better than him or worse than him. It wasn’t even about him thanking God in his acceptance speech. The post was a reaction to what I was seeing on the internet in the hours following his speech. What I saw was Christian people reaching up to that stage in Hollywood to cling to Matthew McConaughey’s nice tuxedo jacket, to hang on to his coattails and excitedly exclaim that he is one of us. That he validates us and he makes our God more acceptable, and if Matthew McConaughey is going the praise the Lord, then that must make our faith worth more. I didn’t want us, as Christians, to feel like Matthew’s speech somehow legitimized our trust in Jesus.
This is my little corner of the internet, and I try to fill it with truth. I certainly don’t hold myself up as an amazing example of Christianity. I fail. A lot. But, this is my place to be honest with fellow Christians about the wonderful things and the difficult things about being a Christian in our current world. And, that’s all I was doing yesterday. I was trying to speak the truth.
One person asked what I thought Jesus would think about my blog post yesterday. I don’t presume to speak for Jesus, but I pray that He, knowing my heart, has taken what I said, in all its imperfection, and done something good with it for His kingdom. I know that He can bring beauty from ashes, in my life, in Matthew McConaughey’s life, and in this little blog that suddenly got big for a day. It was an interesting experience.
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I understand that you weren’t intending to come across as being judgmental of Matthew M. However, in re-reading the original post, it did come across to me that perhaps the people expressing support for his speech were being scolded and maybe even “judged” a bit for doing so. As a Christian, I’m not trying to ride anyone’s coattails to heaven and I’m not looking for anyone on this earth to validate my faith. Having said that, I’m not looking to criticize or judge anyone else for the joy or disdain they may or may not have experienced in hearing an actor or anyone else thank God for anything they deem worthy of appreciation. I thank God that isn’t my job. IMO, if anyone is going to post a public blog, Christian or otherwise, then they should be prepared for any and all viewpoints. Otherwise, if my only audience was to be my close family and friends or a very select group who I felt would always see things from my perspective, I would stick to journaling or private social media.
After reading both articles and the comments contained on this particular post, I think it’s best for all of us to agree to disagree. I don’t think the author was trying to be a perfectionist or overly judgmental. As she said, she was just calling it like she sees it. Matthew is not her hero, nor should he be to any of us. What kind of commentary does this have on our society? What happened to praising the heroics of people who truly make a difference? Unless Matthew undergoes some marvelous transformation and starts doing good for all of mankind, then what is he but yet another “gifted” actor receiving an award? The point of all of this is that we shouldn’t make role models/heroes out of people we are not intimately acquainted with.
On a spiritual level, the whole thing didn’t register with me. I’m one of those types who focuses on God and God alone. It’s me and him, and I don’t allow anyone (celebrity and churchgoer alike) change my thoughts on him. A friend linked this post on Facebook and it was news to me that some Christians had started touting Matthew as the next Christian role model. My first thought was really? The dude who has admitted to playing bongos naked and stoned? Wow. That is not to say that he hasn’t changed. That was quite some time ago. As was having most, if not all of his children out of wedlock. While he did end up marrying the mother, which is awesome, it’s still not the best example to those who are looking on. I don’t believe that God would have us live our lives the way that Matthew has lived his. But God still loves him, and we as Christians should love him as well. I have to remind myself, it’s not for me to judge. That is God’s job. In which case, I truly hope that Matthew is striving towards an authentic relationship with God and that he will model his life and work choices on God’s word. We have to remember not to base anything that is going on with Matthew on his movies up to this point. He could have recently given his life to God while it takes months after finishing a film for it to actually show up in the theatres.
As for the movies, I haven’t seen “Magic Mike” or “Dallas Buyer’s Club” though I am familiar with the premise of both. God can use anything, even those things meant for evil and turn them around for his glory. While my first indication is to say ‘no’, I suspect that He could even take “Magic Mike” and make something good from it. I remember a lot of blow back about Christian women going to see it together and how could they since it was a glorification of a lifestyle that doesn’t glorify God? Maybe some of those women were convicted of lust. Maybe prostitutes or strippers (both male and female) went to it thinking only of escaping their lives for an hour or two, but walked away thinking about their lives and maybe they should change them for the better? That’s a small stepping stone that God can turn into a rock sized change. And that’s a good thing. As for “Dallas Buyer’s Club”, telling the true story of man who turned his life around and devoted it to those who were helpless and cast out seems is a worthy subject. Yes, it obviously contains some lewd material that may be offensive to some. But maybe some viewers walked away with a new perspective about people who are persecuted? That new perspective may be small but it may change into something bigger. I’m not making excuses for Christians to go watch things that don’t glorify God. But we do need to think a little deeper about things.
My apologies for being so long winded.
Best comment yet Caroline!
Please don’t be discouraged. I hear your heart and felt that what you wrote yesterday was needed. Many claim to be God-followers but if we really know Him, then our life choices and actions will reflect that we belong to Him (through acceptance of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ). I read your entire article from yesterday and said “Amen.” I wasn’t judging anyone, just was reminded that I need to be discerning. But in the end, we don’t like to feel uncomfortable or convicted, do we? So we shoot the messenger instead of accepting the truth that you so eloquently expressed. Thank you for your humble and sincere words.
When all is said and done, we must look at the art form of movies with Christian discretion. But it seems that the original blog (which I read) went beyond that. I would just say, leave it alone. Only God can presume to know hearts. He is at work possibly in Matthew’s life. Conversion (if there is any), does not happen all at once and change of behavior does not often happen in a sweeping form. So I would not dare to presume to know the hidden meaning of what this particular actor said at that particular moment in time. There is so much more to be concerned about other than whether this individual (who Jesus loves with all his sin), is truly living up to his words which at their worst gave lip service and at their best gave glory to God. So much more to concern ourselves with.
The original post was spot on. No need to explain further. Those who are in the true walk will understand. Those who aren’t, will one day. Godliness doesn’t require popularity.
I try to live a life according to God’s word and I might meet your criteria Ann for “true walk” but I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate that term. My experience has shown it to be what is used by the self righteous to elevate themselves before God to others.
It is most unfortunate that is what you have experienced. There are people who attempt to elevate themselves – but, there is nothing but truth with the statement. Being in the walk with the Lord doesn’t mean perfection or even above others. Although, as you give your life to God and walk according to His word, your life will change. You have no choice if you are truly in the WALK! There is no sugar coating anything. God never changes, no matter what our situation is or how much we hate any term or much it may require OUR life to change. BTW, what term do you use for your life in Christ?
Ann, I don’t use a “term”. How do you reduce an all encompassing relationship with Christ to one singe word? I do have a verse though that captures it and it’s Galatians 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live. Jesus Christ now lives in me.” That said….I am simply NOT allowed to be an example for Christ I am at my job and neither would I bet is anybody else other than clergy. I have had to follow through with procedures that I didn’t feel were very Christ like but I do it because it is my job. And because in the long run, some good may come of it. Isn’t it likely that Matthew McCounaghey could feel that way too? Could the typically dire consequences of his character’s reckless behavior be a lesson to others? I would hope that none of the people I have had to lay off over the years even though they were financially destitute, look solely at my actions at work as an indication of my faith.
Hi, Melissa. I saw a post on Facebook about your blog, and I loved it. It was from your heart, and it saddens me that others were so harsh with you. I know my own mother, who loved The Lord devotedly, worked hard to teach me and my siblings to always be careful with what we watched on TV, listened to on the radio, ect…. She knew, as I see now, that what you allow into your mind, takes root in your heart. I’m so thankful that my mom taught me this.
I understand why non-believers would defend an actor or his movies, or take offense at what you wrote; but I don’t understand a Christian doing this. Especially, if they love The Lord and want to serve him. They would know that we are supposed to be separated from the world. The trouble is there are so many versions of Christianity, when there is only one true God. I understood your blog. I got your intention, and you’re right. We give away a little ground in our moral standing every time we accept a little sin here, a little less standard there. Where do we draw the line? Eventually, nothing will be wrong, everything will be acceptable, and I don’t believe that The Lord would be pleased. I know he’ll judge me someday by my works, not my intentions. I want to have something to give back to Him.
Anyway, I say press on. Fight the good fight. You have one supporter here who appreciates what you were trying to do.
I totally agree with what you wrote! Amen sister and thanks for saying what I couldn’t articulate.
Kudos to you on your article and response. Both were very well written. To put things in perspective, it’s not as if he confessed to being a Born-Again Christian, he just said two words that we hear thrown around causally everyday, e.g., “Thank God I remembered to check to see if the oven was turned off.” or “He called, but thank God I recognized his number and didn’t answer.” Do we get excited when we hear people say things like that? Do we assume they must be Christians? Of course not. People say ‘thank God’ all the time in casual conversation and don’t even think twice about it and, conversely, we don’t (or shouldn’t) instantly label them as being followers of God. I wonder if he had instead expressed his sentiments as “I’d like to give a big shout out to the Man upstairs!” if this conversation would even be necessary.
I can watch any sports program during the championship trophy ceremony and see someone giving thanks to God for the opportunity, even if that person was busted for possession of illegal drugs not two weeks ago. And does anyone remember a guy called Prince (or is it formerly still, I can never remember) [watch this clip for reference to his Oscar speech where he, too, thanks God: http://tinyurl.com/k8nhh52%5D Do we think that he was a role model for Christian values because he thanked God in his speech? Anyone who’s listened to the lyrics of many of his songs would tell you that they do not glorify God nor Godly living, far from it.
And while it’s great to acknowledge God, Matthew 15:8 says “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”. And Matthew 7:16-20 tells us that we will know the sincerity of people’s words by the fruit produced in their lives. (it’s a bit ironic that both of these verses are in the book of Matthew in this case) He also mentioned that he looks up to God (not even sure what that means, but those were his words). James tells us, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19) As anyone who’s been saved for sometime, we all know this and are quick to apply it to any who profess God but party like the devil on the weekends. Like you, I’m not saying that he’s not a great guy. I mean, what’s not to like? He’s fit, attractive, clean-cut, has a great smile and a wonderfully charming Southern accent that makes him instantly likable. But, I am not going to get excited just because someone acknowledges God with their words, I’ll wait to see it play out in the roles they refuse because it goes against Christ-like values they hold sacred.
Enjoyed the original post! I love how open and honest you are! And you have said what I would have said, but you said it better. 😉 It’s sad that when we blog, people suddenly see that as an invitation to be rude and downright mean! Keep being you! God knows your heart.
Guess what? When you write a “little blog” for your friends and family to read it gets published ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB. So sad that mommy bloggers like you don’t take that into consideration when writing about a topic that affects the way people feel about and view Christianity. So sad that this is the legacy that you wish to leave your children. Shame on you.