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Actor Shia LaBeouf has found God while working on the film, “Fury” and is now a saved man! (And he gives credit to co-star Brad Pitt) Wow. Shia getting born-again because Brad hooked him up with Jesus? Well, that was unexpected. Yet good news indeed. The Good News indeed.

I’m not a big fan of his acting. I dislike The Transformer Trilogy and that’s what made Shia famous. But last week while on retreat, I decided to connect with God by going to the movies and watching a war film by myself. I had low expectations for “Fury” but I wanted to get away from the spiritually loaded schedule and focus on guns and blood and stopping the Nazis (again). I had a great time-sharing popcorn with myself, and the movie did not disappoint.

75% of the action was inside a WWII tank. Brad Pitt was lead actor and did great as the manly/broken tank leader. Michael Peña played the needed “minority” role and was hilarious as the Mexican tank driver. But the guy who got my attention was Dear Brother LaBeouf. He played a devout Christian facing the ugliness of war. The other soldiers called him “Bible” while he acted as second in command. He was the voice of ethics and faith inside the tank. Now, I don’t want to spoil the movie for you but the best scene was when he came face to face with death and discovered the beauty of God’s word in the darkest place.

He said last week to Interview Magazine,

“I found God doing Fury. I became a Christian man, and not in a f***ing bull***t way — in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can’t identify unless you’re really going through it. It’s a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control.”

With that foul language it would be hard to ask him to share next Sunday morning. But his words sound like salvation – If Jesus is truly Saviour and Lord, then meeting Him invites the exchange of heart and the surrender of control that Shia talks about.

Unfortunately we identify “conversion” with behaviour management. We want new Christians to do less  _____________ (drinking, cursing, fornication, etc.) and more _____________ (praying, tithing, posting Bible verses on Facebook, etc). But those behaviour changes are the product of a relationship. The fruit of a new reality.

So I am not in the slightest offended with his cursing. I’m excited with his statement.

Jesus was comfortable being around “cursing men” – Mat. 26:74. In one occasion Jesus was called a “Friend of Sinners”. But in zero occasions was He called, “A Bible Believing Christian”.

He seemed to enjoy the company of the broken more than the debates of the religious. And if you read trashy celebrity magazines (while you wait at the check-out in Target) then you know that Shia is a broken man. With multiple arrests, anger issues and lots of public shame, he sounds like a guy Jesus would be comfortable around. The kind of rock that could change the world.

Welcome to the family brother Shia. You truly are a “Gift of God” (his name in Hebrew). Please forgives us (the church) ahead of time. It’s possible we demand things of you that the Holy Spirit is not convicting you of. We might also try to use your fame to validate the coolness of our faith. But we promise to be as kind as possible, and keep you in our prayers.

We are just as sinful as you are – we just don’t have the paparazzi exposing our crap for the world to see. So we hope you enjoy the mysteries of the gospel, the walk of dependence and the radical acceptance only found in Christ. And if we don’t see you at church on Sunday, we shall see you in eternity.

Peace.

 

*For more Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Other articles of Jesus in Hollywood:

When God Speaks to Katy Perry

The Christianity of Brad Pitt