Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Celebrities & Prayer

Yesterday the world celebrated the birth of the new member of the Royal Family but I'm still reeling from the death of Cory Monteith.

This talented guy, a main character on the hit show Glee, was found dead in his hotel room last week from a heroin overdose. I'm a huge fan of the talent on Glee while not a huge fan of its moral premise. Something in my heart aches--and it hasn't gone away.

I feel grieved. Connected to him. It's not because I'm a rabid fan and have posters hanging in my office. Maybe it's my writer's mind. The idea of anyone passing away alone is heart-wrenching for me, even if they were high. It's not because I grieve the loss of talent, or the waste of a young life, or even the fact that Season 5 will go on without him.

It's because I grieve for the pain and struggle he bore. The upbringing that left him without the guidance he needed to avoid the demons of heroin. I grieve for the pain he probably felt, the guilt he had when he disappointed himself, the emptiness he tried to fill.

Most of all ... I am moved to tears because of his soul. Cory Monteith still exists--very much so. The questions plague me. Literally. Plague me. Did someone reach him? Did anyone tell him of Jesus, share with him God's sacrificial grace? Did he understand the walk of faith? Did he know he was in need of a Savior? Please don't argue that his lifestyle didn't show it, nor does the show on which he acted. There are varying levels of depth for every Believer. I'm sure if my life was spread on a tabloid you see it riddled with public sins. Be careful of casting stones. Yet in the scheme of things ... the odds aren't in his favor. And the whole argument that he lived a good life sort of goes down the tubes with the heroin overdose. So if you're one to argue the theme that we're all good and that justifies our way to Heaven...it fails here.

I am poignantly reminded that "for by grace are we saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God. Not of works lest anyone might boast". Was Cory saved by grace? Had he recognized his need for a Savior, maybe even in the last desperate moments alone? Or had the world who adored him ... ignored him?

Hollywood has got to be a sucky place to find Jesus. He's there, but who puts celebrities on their prayer list? Who targets them for prayer? Who sees them as needy people with personal pains, struggles, and tragedies? Eternity isn't something to mess with and yet, do we as followers of a grace giving Lord think these leaders of  culture are beyond saving? So liberal that we're disgusted and turn our backs? Do we not see them as people but as characters on a TV show or in a movie? Are we outraged because they champion gay rights?

I learned something when I was kid. It was a valuable lesson that to this day, I hold dear to my heart. I watched a movie with Mickey Rooney in it. I fell in love with Mickey Rooney that day--in a Spiritual way. I asked my Dad if he was going to Heaven. My Dad replied he would if he knew Jesus and had submitted his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Even as a kid I knew this was a high calling. Mickey needed to meet Jesus. He didn't need his political views corrected first, he didn't need to set his life straight first, he didn't need the Bible slammed against his forehead first ... he just needed Jesus first. So at eight years old, I began to pray for Mickey Rooney. I've prayed for him quite often through my life. And Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson, and Angelina Jolie ... and ... I never did pray for Cory Monteith. I grieve that opportunity lost.

In the end, Biblical principles are Truth. But grace isn't given once you've changed your heart. Grace is given  as a heart is changed. We all fall short of the glory of God, yet the judgment celebrities fight so hard against is the dismissal we so easily give to them. I rarely agree with their moral stands, I believe God has laid out principles for us to follow for His glory. But they are souls--PEOPLE that God created. He can throw the stone, for He is without sin, not me. 

I will pray ... for other famous sinners just like un-famous me, who sit in their hotel rooms on a dark night and fight the haunting temptation that will take their breath and bring them to stand before GOD. Will they know Him? Will HE know them? 

Do you pray for celebrities? What famous person has God laid on your heart?


19 comments:

  1. Wow Jaime, you brought tears to my eyes and it's only 6:20 a.m. Love this challenge. Perhaps my own prayers will need to start with repentance--for using these people as objects of my own entertainment, without regard for their lives. I believe that makes them idols in my life, and cheapens theirs.

    I'll start with Vince Gil. We have tickets to see him tonight at the 4-H Fair. The next one that comes to my mind is Jauquim Phoenix. Not sure why, but he looks so hauntingly empty. Perhaps it's the empathy we have as writers, and the deep need to want to redeem our written characters, but we are talking about REAL life, and REAL people. Thank you for the challenge.

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    1. Real life -- real people... absolutely!!!

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  2. This is great Jaime. We do need to stand in the gap for celebrities too. I love the talent on Glee and was sad by his death. It must be a terribly hard place to find God.

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    1. No kidding. I can't fathom the struggle.

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  3. I regularly pray for Eminem and Pete Wentz. For whatever reason, they've both been on my radar for several years. Thanks for this post. I thoughtI was crazy for doing so.

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    1. Never crazy to enter into prayer for ANYONE!!!

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  4. I was really shaken by Cory's death as well. Like you, I'm not sure exactly why. It just woke me up a little to the depth of despair some deal with in this life. And it made me really, really sad. But there IS hope and His name is Jesus.

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  5. Did you know that Mickey Rooney is a believer?

    I love this post, and am saddened about Cory Montieth, and he died in my hometown, in a hotel I've been to. When they say "was discovered past his check out time" it was most likely by a hard working, underpaid housekeeper, or her and the concierge coming to check on him. If they knock on the door and say "housekeeping" and no one answers, they go into the room. Because he was most likely in a secured area of the hotel, she wouldn't have gone in alone. VERY sad.

    I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to interview Jay Tavare for my blog, and yes, I am praying for him. And I had a chance to share my faith with him. He has Christians in his life, which is good. But holy cow, Hollywood is HARD place to find Jesus.

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    1. No really?!? Didn't know that about Mickey Rooney. Maybe my prayers all these years were a part of that? :) Nice to think so.

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  6. I've often prayed for celebrities. Justin Bieber often comes to mind. I think its because I read his mom's book and I feel for her and what her son is going through right now. It must be tough for those few Christians in the celebrity world.

    I also read Scott Stapp's (lead singer of Creed) autobiography and it really gave me insight into the world of celebrity and the darkness and temptation there. Thank the Lord Scott is moving forward in his faith. I pray for him and his family too.

    A few years ago my daughter asked me if it was weird to pray for a celebrity. I smiled and told her I often do and the relief on her face was priceless. She had been praying for her favorite actor (Tom Hiddleston) and was embarrassed to tell anyone. We now often include them in our prayer time together. : )

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    1. that is so awesome! And way to encourage that sensitivity in your daughter too. So glad to know there ARE prayer warriors for the celebrities out there!

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  7. I do, Jaime. And don't laugh...lately its been David Tennant and his family. I loved his acting on "Doctor Who", and after learning that his dad was a pastor of a church in Scotland, and his grandparents were staunch Presbyterians, I've been praying that their influence would take root in his soul and lead him and his wife to the Lord. :-)

    Cory's death is heart-breaking. He was so young. I was also grieved when Heath Ledger died from mixing drugs. He was such a talented actor, and I think that in his zeal to perfect the joker's character, it opened doors to some spirits, hence the nightmares. I'm sad just thinking about it again.

    And the death that has impacted me more than any other was a co-worker's. Melissa--I still remember her name. She made fun of me all the time, and added to my workload. I never complained, but avoided her because I didn't know what to do with her hatred. She died of an aneurysm one ordinary evening back in 2010. I grieve deeply that I never said a word to her about Jesus.

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    1. life is SO fragile, isn't it? and it's difficult to look through eternal glasses especially in the face of difficult relationships. hugs!

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  8. I'm not sure I ever felt the call to pray for a specific famous person, at least not in a long-term way as you've expressed. It tells me a lot about your heart! I sometimes feel my circle is too small.

    Our prayer list at church includes the president, our senators and local leaders. Do I really pray for the president's soul? generally I skip to the people I know. Can you imagine? I recall a newspaper article about Barack Obama many years ago where he said he was a Christian. I began to realize that meant he was going to a church in Chicago. (and not a mosque or synogogue) I so wanted to think he meant a personal relationship with Christ. You've inspired to me to put that into practice instead of expecting the worst. I pray for his safety and that of his family's. Maybe I gave up on his soul.

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    1. I appreciate your vulnerability! I think it's true. As Christians we do seem to give up on people's souls even though God never gave up on ours. But I think we also forget the "soul factor" and eternity in view of our dismay at rampant sin.

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  9. Yes, I still ache for his death too! For the opportunity of redemption missed and for his girlfriend, Lea Michele. I just listened to my first Glee song since it happened (coincidentally "Keep Holding On") and even though listening to it was a total accident, it was healing. I will be praying for Lea and other celebrities for sure!

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  10. Hi, Jaime. It grieves me too to hear of so much unhappiness in the lives of these rich and extremely unsatisfied people. I've prayed for several of them, especially some of the young people who seem so lost. Great post.

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    1. Thanks for praying for them! There is so much "lost-ness" in this world, it's heartbreaking!

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