We must be active conduits of grace and love instead of consumers of the pain of others.
Brad Pitt was raised in a Christian Southern Baptist home. In 2011 he was asked about his beliefs and responded by saying, “Many people find religion to be very inspiring… Myself, I found it very stifling. I grew up with Christianity and I remember questioning it greatly.”
In his new GQ interview Pitt described growing up “First Baptist, which is the cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity.”
He says when he was in high school, “[his] folks jumped to a more charismatic movement, which got into speaking in tongues and raising your hands and some goofy-a** sh**.”
Relevant Magazine wrote, “Obviously, from the tone of the answer, it’s clear he didn’t embrace church, but when asked about speaking in tongues, he said, ‘I know they believe it. I know they’re releasing something. God, we’re complicated. We’re complicated creatures.'”
Brad’s greatest Christian influence is Jane, his mom. Back in 2011 she wrote in a public letter to the Springfield News-Leader, “Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama – a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”
You have to remember that I am a born-again, Holy Spirit-filled, Bible-believing-preacher in the South, but I feel more connected to Brad Pitt’s questions than Jane Pitt’s certainties. I am 100% convinced in the sufficiency of Christ and believe in Jesus as the only way to the Father, but I doubt our system, our ways and the politics of our religion.
I can easily imagine (because I have seen it multiple times) that Brad’s mom and dad had a high value on sharing Biblical truth with their children. That there was a demand for morals and personal righteousness.
But the story is both painful and predictable.
Well intended parents create a religious atmosphere where standards cannot be questioned, and questions cannot be the standard. Yes, our responsibility is to train our kids in God’s ways, but that way is always and foremost: LOVE. The life experience needs to be one where the individual is valued more than their principles. For that is precisely what Jesus did, over and over again.
I don’t know for sure if that was the case in his home, but Brad said in an interview, “I’d go to Christian revivals and be moved by the Holy Spirit, and I’d go to rock concerts and feel the same fervor. Then I’d be told, ‘That’s the Devil’s music! Don’t partake in that!’ I wanted to experience things religion said not to experience.”
I know that his beliefs and actions are his responsibility.
It would be unfair to blame his parents.
But we can learn.
In Luke 15:1 it says that a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. So I have to ask, Why is it that the world is not hanging around us? (The body of Christ) And why is that people like Brad have stopped listening intently?
What would happen if our main message was one of actual hope, peace and joy? What if we preached adoption instead of abortion, forgiveness instead of anti-homosexuality, unity instead of politics?
It’s not what we’re against. It’s what we’re for that matters.
I agree with Brad, “religion IS stifling.”
However, an actual relationship with God is the most freeing thing there is!
It can heal marriages. It can transform relationships. And it can sustain us through our failures.
I know that Jesus is giving attention to everyone who is struggling with their faith. I know that there is hope for all who are going through a difficult transition.
So I’m praying for Brad (and Angelina and their kids).
And I’m believing for a new encounter with God’s love that is beyond the stifling religion of Brad’s youth. What do you think?
* Read more: Justin The Believer. The faith journey of Justin Bieber.