October 12, 2017

Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood's Redemption

"...but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more," (Romans 5:20b ESV)

Harvey Weinstein’s daughter called 911 on Wednesday morning out of desperate concern that her father was "depressed and suicidal" as sexual allegations continue to mount against him. We should probably pray that Weinstein has an epiphany about the reality of God and the need for salvation in Christ. Hollywood in general seriously needs an awakening and this is something that only God can do. As an extremely powerful producer and partner of Miramax, it is believed that Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg regarding entrenched sexual abuse in this industry. And it is well known that Hollywood has a history of suicide and drug overdoses. But a recent film about Steve McQueen and testimonies by other actors show another side of Hollywood, a side of redemption.

While there was a lot of hypocrisy displayed at the Oscars in the vilification of Donald Trump as their own idols of misogyny were being protected, along with much worse behavior, this does not negate the mercy of God, the greater good of salvation, and the need for healing for everyone ravaged by sin. The rape allegations are very serious, and justice should probably be sought by victims. And while there is a need for justice for crimes that can be addressed, we can pray that God will use this environment and these people for his glory, as God clearly has been doing.

Meryl Streep accepted her 2012 Golden Globe award by jokingly referring to Harvey Weinstein as "God" with this quote: “I just wanna thank my agent Kevin Huvane and God, Harvey Weinstein, the punisher, Old Testament, I guess,” -and only now after serious public allegations have come out is she publicly denouncing his behavior. Streep's comment is perhaps more profound than she realized. We are all created and designed to worship something. If we aren't worshipping the true God that holds metaphysical primacy, then we may likely be worshipping Hollywood stars, fame, money, and pleasure.

The exposure of Weinstein will probably not hinder the idolatry of sex in Hollywood and the glorification of promiscuity in films, but it may help individuals to question idolatry and to seek the truth. The metaphysical reality of God is far beyond anything that 'Tinseltown' has to offer as an object of worship.
The recent opening of a film about Steve McQueen's conversion to Christ, titled "Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon" shows that Hollywood icons and idols are not outside of the mercy and power of God. Pastor Greg Laurie, who was a close friend of Steve McQueen, first wrote the biography and then basically put this film together and is narrating it. McQueen is known as one of the top actors in Hollywood. His film, "The Great Escape" is one of my all-time favorites. God is doing something in Hollywood. McQueen made the ultimate escape from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and this testimony is going out into all the world. Mel Gibson offered a quote on the testimony of McQueen:

''When Greg Laurie shared the story with me of Steve McQueen finding faith and hope at the end of his life I was deeply moved. Everyone knows Steve as an American Icon, but few know of this chapter in his life and I'm glad Greg is shedding light on it.'' --Mel Gibson

I won't give away the narrative of the new McQueen film, but suffice it to say that Steve's wife was shocked when one day out of the blue Steve told her that he had a desire to go to a church and to learn about God.

Denzel Washington is an example of a Hollywood movie star who is becoming more outspoken about his faith and is using his influence more and more to share the good news of Christ at such venues as motivational speaking events, as described at the Christian Post:

"Although he did not become a pastor, Washington has become quite the motivational speaker in recent years. The New York native's words first made headlines when he appeared as the guest speaker for Dillard University's graduating class in spring of 2015. Instead of delivering the standard "the world is your oyster" speech, Washington encouraged graduates to "put God first."

"There's never been a time where God didn't direct, protect, and correct me."  -Denzel Washington said. And he offered another good quote:

"There may have been times where I was less than faithful to him, but he had faith in me."

The 61-year-old has maintained his Christian faith throughout his successful mainstream career. His life is an excellent role model for young people everywhere:

"Washington is a devout Christian and has considered becoming a preacher. He stated in 1999, "A part of me still says, 'Maybe, Denzel, you're supposed to preach. Maybe you're still compromising.' I've had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I've been given seriously, and I want to use it for good." In 1995, he donated US$2.5 million to help build the new West Angeles Church of God in Christ facility in Los Angeles. Washington says he reads the Bible daily."

Examples of faith and altruism like Denzel Washington are rare in Hollywood and on TV. The climate is more geared towards censoring those that affirm conservative biblical values, as was likely the case with Tim Allen and his show "Last Man Standing" that was highly profitable and yet terminated. Tim Allen suggested that ABC canceled his show because he was a Trump supporter and not in keeping with the politically correct values of Hollywood, stating: “There’s nothing more dangerous right now than a likable conservative.”

Tim Allen is a professing Christian and he described the struggles he had with drugs and the death of his father by a drunk driver as a basis of finding a close relationship with God. These days Allen refers to God as, “The Builder.” He says “I always do ask… The Builder, what did you want me to do? And I do ask it.” And then the dynamic relationship with God kicks in: “But you got to be prepared for the answer.”

The history of the Bible shows clearly that God enjoys working in unlikely places, with unpredictable people, and through unexpected circumstances. Consider King David, for example, who murdered and committed adultery, and yet because of God's amazing grace was referred to as 'a man after God's own heart' in scripture. One of David's writings, Psalm 40:2, outlines that God can save from the deepest, darkest pit, probably a good metaphor for a life lived based on Hollywood's usual secular and hedonistic values and hidden culture of abuse:

"He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm."

A quote from Corrie ten Boom comes to mind with regard to Weinstein and the needs of Hollywood in general. She was a watchmaker that survived a German concentration camp and then summarized her message of hope with a quote:

"There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still."

Tags: Weinstein suicide watch, HarveyWeinstein, Hollywood, Steve McQueen testimony, new Greg Laurie film on McQueen, Mel Gibson, redemption in Hollywood, salvation in Hollywood, Christians in Hollywood,  Denzel Washington testimony, Tim Allen Christian testimony

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