I’m a Christian. And being a Christian and being an Actor sometimes lands me in interesting dilemmas. Like the time I was approached to play the role of Adam in a stage play about the Garden of Eden. Where’s the dilemma in a Christian playing a biblical role, you ask? Well, I had to be naked on stage for 3 acts and then wear nothing but a fig leaf for the 4th!
So recently I entered into an interesting Christian/Actor dilemma:
To pray or not to pray, that is the question.
When I have an audition, should I pray to get the part? Sounds simple enough, but the philosophical, moral and theological implications of this little question are really quite profound.
Now up until very recently, I have prayed earnestly that God would grant me a certain role. When my wife and I were up for consideration for a film together (click here for the story) I was praying like a Pharisee! I was begging, pleading, asking for favor and claiming every biblical promise I could think of.
We didn’t get the part. And I will thank you for not bringing that up again.
But truth be told, there is something about praying to land a role that just doesn’t sit well with me. Why, you ask? The answer has to do with the film Bruce Almighty…
Remember the two rules Morgan Freeman gave Jim Carrey as he became God in the film?
1. You can’t mess with free will.
2. I can’t remember the second one so read the first one again.
Does God mess with our free will? I don’t think he does.
This belief is fundamental to my faith structure. I don’t see God as a puppet master pulling all the strings. I do not believe that everything that happens is God’s will. Think about it- Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s will was being done on earth, we wouldn’t be praying! And note that God’s will for humanity involves acts of kindness, justice, love and compassion- all acts that require the free will of man to activate.
I believe free will is too sacred a power for the Sacred Power to meddle with. Love- the most noble purpose of religion- can only be born from free will. God has given us the ability to unleash evil on our neighbour- violence, hate, injustice and malice- all in hopes that we would choose love. He has given us the tool of free will knowing it can be used as a weapon.
With the sacred power of free will in mind, I ask one parting question:
Who decides who will star in the new JJ Abrams movie? The answer should be obvious… JJ Abrams. He has free will. It’s his decision. In light of that, I humbly say:
JJ- pick me!