Patricia Heaton is famous for her Emmy Award-winning role on Everybody Loves Raymond and her current role on The Middle. The veteran actor and outspoken Christian says that Hollywood is home to more believers than you might expect.
The actress explains: “most creative people have a deep spiritual well that they’re drawing from even if they don’t know it. . . . The arts are being creative—I mean, God is a creator, he creates constantly, and when you’re in a creative place like Hollywood, there’s a lot of opportunity to talk and share and find common ground.”
Believers are indeed more common in Hollywood than most people know. Did you know that Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno’s replacement on The Tonight Show, planned as a boy to become a priest? Or that Jimmy Kimmel, host of his own late-night talk show, was an altar boy who attends Mass as often as he can?
George Stephanopoulos, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, is the son of a Greek Orthodox priest and long considered entering the priesthood himself. Sean Astin, famous for his work in Rudy and Lord of the Rings, regularly meditates on the phrase, “Allow me to be an instrument of Your will.” Kirsten Powers, a political analyst for Fox News, says that “my whole life had centered on Democratic politics” before she became a believer and now stands publicly for Christ.
I’m convinced that God is calling even more believers into places of such visibility. Sociologist James Davison Hunter is right: culture changes when believers achieve their highest level of influence and “manifest faithful presence” as salt-and-light Christians (Matthew 5:13-16).
But there’s a caveat, according to Heaton: “If you’re on a set every day with 12 people, they get to know you and see how you treat number one on the call sheet and number 49 on the call sheet and how you act. Whether you act entitled or whether you are kind and generous and compassionate, and also, do you show up on time? Do you know your lines? Are you professional? All of that stuff speaks volumes.”
Abraham Lincoln noted that “actions speak louder than words.” Even his words, among the most eloquent in political history, would not have been effective if his life had contradicted his rhetoric. You don’t have to be an actor in Hollywood to influence people today. But you do have to live in such a way that your life illustrates your faith.
Excellence is a biblical imperative: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). So is glorifying God with your life and work: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
What influence has God entrusted to you today?