Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hollywood Conversions

Most of the world is enamored with big-name celebrities. This is, of course, tempered a little for the average Christian. We pray for their salvation, not just for their sake, but because we know that their conversion could potentially influence millions with the gospel. But such conversions are very few and far between. It is not that God is not willing to save the really big-name celebrities. He's just not aware of any, because God is "no respecter of persons." 

There may be another reason for the dearth of Christians among top celebrities. God resists the proud, and Hollywood sure is filled with puffed-up people. Actors crave the world's praise. Of course, a self-centered pride isn't unique to Hollywood. It's human nature to want to be the center of attention. But celebrities have an even greater strike against them. Successful actors are usually talented, good-looking, and very self-assured. They are therefore not the sort who will naturally gravitate toward the humility of Christianity. So if you are looking for a group of people who are far from God, don't look to the primitive tribes of the Amazon with bones through their noses. Instead, look to the proud and godless tribes that inhabit the dark jungle that is Hollywood. 

Greg Elsasser is a good friend who was recently invited to attend a Hollywood dinner, given in honor of the very gifted Barbara Streisand. She was praised that night by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Faith Hill, Prince, President Clinton, Bill Maher, BeBe Winans, Herbie Hancock, LeAnn Rimes and more. Clips were screened showing highlights of her many contributions to film, theater, and music. It took ten minutes just to list all her awards and accolades. 

Finally, after several hours of worship and praise, Barbara Streisand stood up, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was blasphemy. She not only neglected to thank God for her many gifts, she used His holy name in place of a cuss word, and added, "I love music for what it does for the soul. It lets me express myself when I have no other outlet." 

She did acknowledge an afterlife, saying that someday when we stand at the gates of Heaven, our acceptance won't be based on "how much we've been loved but on how much we've loved others." 

Let's imagine for a moment that Barbara is right. How deep must our love be to merit everlasting life? Is it God who is doing the daily love-measuring, from which He will make a judgment as to whether or not we get in? 

If she's right and a deep love for others is the criteria to earn eternal life, then few Hollywood celebs will make it. Their love seems to be a little shallow. Most have left a trail of failed relationships and ruined marriages, and been involved in angry, bitter divorces.

Still, I can't help but think how wonderful it would be if this talented, aging Jewish woman stood up and told this world that she had found the Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth. That would certainly squash the praises. And how good would it be to hear her say that everlasting life has nothing to do with our deeds but comes only by the mercy of God, and that's available only to those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone! 

For further information about Hollywood and God, see Hollywood Be Thy Name and What Hollywood Believes.