Give Matthew McConaughey a break!
When God is mentioned at the Oscars, the earth splits in two. He is frequently mentioned at the Grammy’s; less frequently at the Emmy’s – an analysis of the reasons would make a good Master’s thesis. But the Academy Awards ceremony is usually a God-free zone. In fact, only Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson, and Forest Whitaker have referenced God in over a decade of recent Oscar programs.
So when Matthew McConaughey thanked God in his acknowledgment speech, time seemed to stand s
till. There was a smattering of surprised applause (most likely from those who either weren’t listening or thought he said, “Bob”).
The twitter world went crazy criticizing or dismissing McConaughey for introducing religion into the celebration. For example,
OK, so you really deserved it McConaughey. Just stop the stupid god-talk
I thought we could get through the Oscars without someone thanking god but no he had to ruin it. *** you McConaughey!
From others, there was a burst of praise and congratulations for his courage in revealing this “private part of his life” (which is private no more). Some were wondering if McConaughey will become the new darling of the Christian demographic. Jamie Grace tweeted:
that one time Matthew McConaughey thanked God and every Christian girl started shoutin!
But it was hard not to notice the professing Christians who took McConaughey to task for what they perceived as his incomplete knowledge of God (“he never mentioned Jesus”), his choice of roles and movies (“R-rated trash”), and his future self as his hero (“self-righteous, self-absorbed”).
But we need to give Matthew McConaughey a break. Where is he in his journey with God? He has been seen reading Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ. He and his wife have been attending church regularly – even while on vacation in Cannes. But even without these “clues” we should never judge a person’s entire life by a snapshot. This is even more important for celebrities whose private life is a parody of their craft – one snapshot after another. As Delirious? sings: “My life’s a show on God’s TV; The world an audience watching me.”
I have a lengthy list of celebrities that I pray for every day. It helps me to see the idols of our time through the eyes of Christ. I ask our Lord to bring people into their lives today who will show them what a real child of God is like; to see the truth, grace and love of God through Christ in ways that are compelling and personal; to hear and understand the Good News of Christ.
And it may take a long time.
It is exciting when some of them begin to indicate an interest in spiritual things, like when Howard Stern starting reading the Bible (“I’m always afraid to say anything about God. What if there is a God?”).
Or, how about the recent news that Angelina Jolie is going to direct the film “Unbroken,” the epic story of Louis Zamperini told in the bestselling biography by Laura Hillenbrand.
His story as an Olympic athlete and WWII prisoner of war only makes sense because of his conversion and faith in Christ. How will Louie’s life and testimony affect Angelina Jolie and her husband, Brad Pitt? Louie is one of the most passionate followers of Christ I have ever met. His faith infects everyone he meets.
Or, how about actor Shia LeBeouf who has made the news recently by rejecting the celebrity he has attained? He tweets regularly, “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” and “#IAMSORRY” and has participated in several bizarre programs, interviews and art exhibits, frequently with a bag over his head. While the national press describes him as inexplicably odd, the angst seems real.
Maybe there was a hint of LeBeouf’s anxiety a couple of years ago. In a Parade magazine interview given at the height of his Transformers success, he said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m living a meaningless life and I get frightened. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it’s a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it and I’d be on my way.”
Only God can fill a God-sized hole. It’s what He does best.
I read these news reports differently than many because I am praying for these dear people every day.
Matthew McConaughey has become one of the best and most substantive actors of our day. He spoke publicly of God in very personal terms. He did so intentionally and he knows he is on record for his commitment.
So let’s pray, believe and never forget that engaging the culture for Christ begins on our knees.
Who are you praying for?