Dear Angus … can I call you Angus? Do you go by Gus?
I apologize if that seems too forward, but as I watched your video testimonial, it felt like you were one of my friends. Not because I’ve watched the show — I’ve only seen a few moments in passing before I tune into Person of Interest. But because you remind me of so many of my friends when we were just entering adulthood. I really felt like I knew where you were coming from, not so much of the making-six-figures-on-a-hit-TV-show thing, but more of the realizing-the-truth-and-needing-to-speak-out thing.
Which is why I was tremendously impressed with the substance of your testimonial interview. I found it to be a refreshing example of candor and courage. That you were doing this of your own initiative and volition — as opposed to having been brainwashed, as some are asserting — should be evident to anyone who watched both videos in their entirety. Also, as a Black man, I couldn’t help but smile at your desire to be sensitive and not offend while you claim your affinity for Black people. On that issue, your friend Chris was right; you get a pass.
Nevertheless, your subsequent apology is an indication that you’ve realized the gravity of the situation — that words like that have wide-ranging consequences. As Jesus told his disciples, the cost of being a disciple is immense. However, I fear that the smoldering flame of your Christian convictions might be snuffed out by the pressure of external forces pulling you to and fro. And yes, I realize that by writing this letter, I’m one of those voices. Though I may not know exactly what you’re going through, I truly desire God’s best for you.
Consider these the suggestions of a new fan who’s been around the block a few times.
Suggestion #1: Pray about whether or how your faith can mesh with your current profession.
Christians around the world struggle with the question of how they can honor God in their current situation, and you’re not the only one in Hollywood trying to live out that challenge. You might want to have your people reach out to Yvette Nicole Brown of the NBC sitcom “Community.” She’s no stranger to being a Christian in the context of a contentious sitcom workplace. (You had Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre, she had Chevy Chase and Dan Harmon.)
I don’t know how God will lead you. It may be that God doesn’t want you to do the show. Or maybe he wants you to stay and be a light to your costars and/or the writing staff. Maybe God wants you on another show. Maybe He wants you to step away from the limelight for awhile, and He’ll bring you back later. I can’t pretend to know what’s best for you, but I do know that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Suggestion #2: Keep studying the Bible — all of it.
Like many, as I watched your interview I found myself intrigued with the dude next to you asking the questions, Seventh Day Adventist pastor Chris “Forerunner” Hudson. In general, I favor websites like his Forerunner Chronicles, sites that try to spread a biblical message.
But in this case, I’m concerned about that message getting distorted.
See, Forerunner Chronicles is specifically about spreading the message of Revelation 14:6-12. Fear God, worship Him, give Him glory, et cetera … these are all great, biblical, God-honoring ideas. But there’s a reason why the other parts of the Bible exist. God reveals Himself just as much through the Psalms, through the Penteteuch (a.k.a. the Torah), the major and minor prophets, and the gospels and epistles of the New Testament. The book of Revelation is meant to be a culminating crescendo; it can’t be fully understood without the rest of the Bible as context.
Now I’m not claiming to fully understand it, either. But if you’re wondering why other folks might be put off by your association with Forerunner Chronicles, it might not simply be that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” It might also be that there’s a part of Christ’s character that’s underrepresented (and subsequently misunderstood) when Christians position themselves only as adversaries of worldly corruption rather than allies spreading God’s message of peace and chesed. The world’s system may be opposed to God, but the world is also populated by people made in His image, people for whom Christ paid the ultimate price.
So you might want to expand your circle of fellowship beyond guys like Forerunner, because it seems a lot of folks are stuck on what he is against, rather than what he is for. Not saying you should throw him under the bus, or leave your church, or anything like that.
Mostly I’m just saying keep studying the Bible… all of it.
Anyway, that’s probably enough for now.
Blessings to you and your family, and keep Christ first.
Oh, and if Charlie Sheen calls, feel free to tell him that you don’t have any tiger blood, but you were redeemed by lion’s blood.
Jelani Greenidge is an UrbanFaith columnist based in Portland, Oregon. A writer and musician, he blogs at JelaniGreenidge.com.