Actor Mark Wahlberg is making news, not for a movie he made but for one he regrets making.
Wahlberg, a committed Catholic Christian, was recently in Chicago to support Bishop Blase Cupich’s work in drawing young people into the church. The actor admitted: “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past.” Asked if he’d ever prayed for forgiveness for any particular movies, he added, “‘Boogie Nights‘ is up there at the top of the list.”
For those of us who have not seen that movie (and I hope that’s all of us), the film is a pornographic depiction of the porn industry. Wahlberg is right to ask God’s forgiveness for making it.
But that’s not the reaction his confession is receiving in the secular press. Esquire calls Boogie Nights “an excellent movie” and claims that Wahlberg should seek forgiveness for “about two dozen” of his other films first. People magazine agrees, professing surprise that Wahlberg chose this movie over some of his other films.
Meanwhile, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have published a new report stating that the universe shouldn’t exist.
The current scientific model for the birth of the universe claims that equal parts of matter and antimatter were produced by the Big Bang. However, matter and antimatter annihilate each other. Since they were produced in equal amounts, nothing should exist today. This new study made the most precise measurements ever, but could not find an explanation for this mystery.
Of course, Genesis 1 offers a different approach.
In life, as in carousels, where we get on is usually where we get off. If we embrace a naturalistic worldview, we will not consider spiritual realities. The “law of the instrument,” as explained by psychologist Abraham Maslow: “It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
It’s not surprising when secular people exclude the supernatural from their thinking. It is tragic, however, when Christians do the same.
How Christianity became an enterprise
I’m reading Psalm 119 these days in my personal Bible study and noticed this perceptive prayer: “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works” (v. 27). The psalmist repeated his petition: “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart” (v. 34). And again: “Give me understanding that I may learn your commandments” (v. 73). And again: “Give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!” (v. 125). And again: “Give me understanding according to your word!” (v. 169).
If a writer inspired by the Holy Spirit repeated an intercession five times in a single psalm, we can assume that his prayer is worth emulating today.
Two principles are clear. First, we can ask God to help us understand his word and will. Second, we must ask God to help us understand his word and will.
Human reason cannot comprehend divine revelation. If we do not ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand biblical truth, we will miss or misunderstand God’s word for us. We will follow our fallen wisdom rather than our Father’s will.
And our lost culture will wonder why they need what we have if we don’t have what they need.
Former Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson: “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.”
How’s our religious enterprise doing today?
A prayer that changes everything
I’d like to suggest a prayer to offer before we make our next decision, or begin our next conversation, or take our next significant step. Seven words we can memorize easily. Seven words I resolve to pray before I write my next Daily Article. Seven words that will transport us from the secular to the supernatural:
“Give me understanding according to your word” (Psalm 119:169).
Will you stop and pray these words now?
Janet Denison notes in her latest blog: “All of us have a circle of influence we can use to serve God and others. The people we influence with God’s Word can then use that knowledge to impact others. But first, we need to pray for God to open our eyes and show us the truth he wants us to see. All of us are probably missing some ‘stories’ that God would choose for us to know. The point of this life is not to do good things we think of. Instead, our goal should be to do those things God has chosen for us.
“It may not seem like a big difference, but it is everything.”