Tag: faith

Actor Chris Pratt, Believer: The Real Deal

Mega-star Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, Parks and Recreation) is not  your typical “Christian celebrity.” Jesse Carey in Relevant magazine writes, “Pratt’s references to his faith have endeared him to pop-culture loving Christians. But, there’s something different about the way he carries himself and talks about Christianity.

“Pratt has no agenda. His faith seems sincere, because unlike some Hollywood stars turned religious poster-children, Pratt’s faith isn’t political. It’s also not part of his ‘brand.’ It just seems to be a part of who he is.”

Although Chris has been open about his faith for years, he credits prayers for his infant son, born prematurely, with “redefining” his faith. In a 2012 interview with People magazine he described what he and his wife experienced during the month his son was in ICU: “We were scared for a long time. We prayed a lot . . . . It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it.” Since that time, he has been referring to faith on social media, even tweeting a prayer for one fan’s young son who was seriously ill.

Chris seems to be like a lot of his Christian fans who are conscientious about living out their faith day by day, despite making mistakes in behavior or moral discernment along the way.

“Faith is part of who [Chris] is, not part of a family-friendly brand based on exhibiting a certain kind of behavior . . . of how Christians are ‘supposed’ to talk or look.” (Relevant)

Our culture needs more of this kind of public persona from Christians in the media spotlight. Fans—believers or not—may not expect Christian celebrities to be perfect . . . but they want them to be authentic.                                    

Afflicting the Comfortable . . . at Windrider

“We’re called as Christians to give ourselves away, and that’s what we’ve got to work out.” These profound words from veteran movie producer Ralph Winter challenged students and filmmakers participating in a Windrider Forum discussion at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The panel was exploring the idea of “afflicting the comfortable” through thoughtfully crafted documentary films that may stimulate social action.

Winter, a Hollywood producer whose credits include blockbuster movies like X-Men and Star Trek, was asking, “How do we break out of [our natural tendency to want comfort] and discipline ourselves?” His insightful answer . . . “We’re called as Christians to give ourselves away.”

Craig Detweiler, professor of communications and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University, expressed his perspective this way: “Hollywood films comfort the afflicted—always happy, always a clean resolution, for the most part.

“Independent films afflict the comfortable. You come out feeling worse than when you entered. We don’t usually go to films for that. We don’t want to pay money to feel worse. But these are filmmakers with a prophetic gift who say, ‘This is what’s wrong with the world.’”

Detweiler says he comes to Sundance to cultivate empathy. “I come back here because I need to have my heart broken annually so I can go back to my comfort and work and minister out of that.

“That’s what the Windrider* experience is.”

*Mastermedia International is a sponsor of the Windrider Forum.

Off Camera . . . with Eric Close

Mastermedia CEO Dan Rupple chats with actor Eric Close who can be seen playing Mayor Teddy Conrad on ABC’s hit series “Nashville,” and recently in Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” Eric also starred for almost a decade on CBS’ “Without a Trace” and “Now and Again,” was  in the Golden Globe-nominated miniseries “Taken,” and guest-starred on “Suits.”

Dan: Eric, you are such a treasured part of the Mastermedia family, and it is a joy to call you “friend.” We all have so much admiration for your bold commitment to Christ in a very visible place in the media industry. What were the circumstances that brought you to faith?

Eric: At age 13 I attended Christian Jr. High School in San Diego, and that is where I first came to faith in Jesus. I remember it being the happiest, most joy-filled year of my life. However, over time I drifted away—not losing my faith entirely, but enough to where it wasn’t a priority in my life. Let’s just say that the story of the prodigal son resonated with me. It wasn’t until my 23rd year when I truly surrendered my entire life to Christ’s care and guidance. I had been pursuing a career in acting for about a year and a half after graduating from USC. Things were going fairly well, I was making progress, but I recall still feeling very empty and alone. One afternoon, sitting by myself in my apartment in downtown Los Angeles, I remember praying these exact words, “God, I don’t know if you want anything to do with me . . . but I miss you.” Words that changed my life forever. That was the beginning of my journey back to faith—and oh what an amazing adventure it has been! Filled with both highs and lows, victories and defeats, joys and sorrows . . . I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dan: So you came to faith, and you are pursuing a career in acting. Did you ever struggle with a disconnect between following the Lord and being an actor? Did you question whether these two things were compatible?

Eric: Honestly Dan, no, I did not. They are absolutely compatible. I knew beyond a doubt that God had called me to this career. It was 100% clear to me. I’m a storyteller at heart, and so is God. Just look at the Scriptures. The word “history” is “His-story.” My job is to honor God by doing the best I can with the skills and talents He has blessed me with. Whether you’re a writer, publisher, producer, director, cinematographer or an actor, you’re a storyteller. It’s a noble profession, and I am grateful to be a part of it. Plus, being an actor has given me the opportunity to make friendships and share my faith all over the world.

Dan: As an actor, which is an extremely visible profession, what are some of the most significant challenges you face in regard to your faith that a believer behind the camera might not have to deal with?

Eric: In my experience some people have a difficult time separating the actor from the character they see on the screen. They often perceive them as one and the same. In a way, it’s an affirmation that the actor is doing his or her job well, but the personal judgement that occasionally comes with it can be challenging. I’ve learned over the years that you can’t please everybody. Ultimately, I want the Lord to be honored and glorified by my choices. That’s what matters most to me.

Dan: Have there been times when taking a stand for Christ put your career in jeopardy?

Eric: One of the aspects I love about working in entertainment is the immense diversity of people and ideas. So many unique personalities and fascinating journeys. I can tell you that the conversations are never dull. I’ve found the majority of people I’ve worked with to be accepting and respectful of my faith. A little teasing here and there, but that’s to be expected. Yes, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions over the years, but my career has been in the Lord’s hands since the beginning. He is bigger than anything or anyone who could jeopardize that, and by His grace I’m still here.

Dan: Eric, thank you so much for sharing with us. With millions of people seeing your face on their TV screens, it is so great to know that behind the character there is a man who walks in a relationship with Christ. God bless you my friend, and please know that the entire Mastermedia community will continue to pray for God’s hand upon your career, your family and your life.

Eric: Thank you Dan. I can’t emphasize enough how important the Mastermedia family has been to me and my family over the years. They have stood with me through thick and thin. From the time Larry Poland and I became friends in 1995 to the present, their love, support, guidance and prayers have sustained me. I’m forever grateful.