By Bralynn Newby
Partnered with the glamour, mystique and celebrity of Hollywood are the dark undertones of corruption, perversion and evil agendas. It’s a mission field ripe with opportunity to bring God’s light into the dark places. The power of story brought to life through the arts and entertainment industry shapes minds and culture. For far too long the enemy has ruled this realm, and it’s time we join forces with the boots on the ground there to shift culture for the Kingdom.
Believers like Nathaniel Buzolic, Hacksaw Ridge (2016) co-star, have been commissioned and positioned to have influence where trust is difficult to attain. They are re-presenting Jesus to a culture where Christians are seen as judgmental, self-righteous, and condescending. The last thing we need to do is exercise the religious spirit that reinforces this stereotype. Instead, we need to reframe what it looks like to be a believer by rebuilding Jesus’ reputation.
Kingdom cultivating has made progress in the last several years, as Christ followers on the inside have shed bible-thumping in favor of building relationships based on loving others. Going to work every day as an actor is no different than any of us going to work in any other profession. We all have the choice to stand up for Christ, or hide our faith and just do what everyone else is doing. We each get to choose what our life is going to represent.
Buzolic’s analogy fits: “When you sit in an exit row on an airplane, all they ask you is, ‘Are you willing and able to assist in case of emergency?’ And that’s all we really need to do with God. He comes to us and says, ‘I will use you in the emergencies of other people’s lives, and the emergencies of communities, people in need, as long as you’re willing and able to assist in that.” There is a spiritual emergency around every corner in this industry. Thank God he sends those who are willing to assist.
Russell Wolfe, producer and founder of Pure Flix noted that movies need to “reaffirm with people why they believe what they believe.” Much of the unbelieving world sees Christianity as an outdated myth, a crutch for the weak. They don’t understand the power of a personal relationship with God because they don’t see Christians behaving like they have one. But a new boldness is rising up with young actors like Nathaniel, who sees the unique opportunity of his positioning.
Actors are particularly wired for story. They are readers and observers, and can articulate concepts, emotion and meaning in a captivating and winsome way. Hollywood is uniquely positioned to shift and shape culture as the secret demons of each individual are overcome by the personal testimony of their believing co-workers. They have the singular advantage of living out their “why” behind the scenes, as well as in front of the camera. We need to shore up the resolve and confidence of those called to this mission field, and keep them in prayer. Let’s love Hollywood back to a new Golden Age. We can give the famous searchlights piercing the darkness a whole new meaning.