I don’t know how one little Oscar speech has gotten to be such a study of social and spiritual dynamics for me, but the more I pondered Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance at the Academy Awards last week, the more I began to make some interesting observations about what was said, both on stage and in the media.
I don’t usually last through awards shows. I tune in here and there for the fashion, and I didn’t hear that Mr. McConaughey happened to mention God in his speech until it was online the next day.
“First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to,” he said. “He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand.”
That’s the clincher line, but here’s his whole speech:
I don’t care for the spoof on heaven and I don’t get the whole “chasing me” thing, but overall it is an articulate speech from an actor who is obviously very comfortable in the spotlight. I’ll get to more about his words in a minute, but what I find intriguing are the comments that Conservatives and Christians have made in light of his nod to deity. They are mainly two:
Now, I think it’s great that he mentioned God. I think it shows a deep-set awareness that there IS a higher power, an awareness that God Himself put within each of us. (Romans 1:20). I believe acknowledgement of that awareness is commendable and it shows humility.
However, that is about as much as I can commend him for his statement. I can’t say much more because he didn’t tell us who His God is. Is it Allah? Is it Buddha? Is it the “Great God only summoned with bongos while dancing in the buff”?
I’m even more confused as to which god he is thanking for the opportunity to star in a movie, which (according to pluggedin.com ) contains explicit sexual material, heavy drug & alcohol use, violence, and over 100 f-words.
In this world of relativism and tolerance, the mention of god can be nothing more than the nebulous accolade to the wonders of the Universe. Anything or anyone can be “god”, and any god can fit what you want him to be.
As a Christian, I have a different perspective. Christianity cuts through the fog by defining God as the God of the Bible. He is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and makes the specific and exclusive claim that Christ, and Christ alone can save and is the only way to eternal life.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
When you say that to someone, you get disagreement. You get defensiveness. It may be divisive, but it is what the Bible says. This exclusivity is why so many are not vocal about the full gospel story.
My point is, let’s have some discernment and not be so quick to jump on the bandwagon and praise anyone and anything that happens to mention God if we believe Christ is the only way, especially if the speaker’s work or representation doesn’t match Biblical values.
I’ve also read other Christians and Conservatives getting on the bandwagon, all up-in-arms saying how Matthew McConaughey was “shunned” by Hollywood by the lack of applause he received.
While I definitely believe there are many who seethe at the mere mention of God, I also believe there’s more “tolerance” for this vague god, based on his speech alone. I doubt that he is going to be singled out for persecution in Hollywood. I wasn’t in that arena so I can’t say, but I’ve played the video a few times and I did hear (and see) applause.
My second point is this: Could it be that Christians and Conservatives can (at times) be quick to cry “oppression” at the first opportunity?
But let’s just say, hypothetically, that he was “shunned”, left to play in the Hollywood sandbox all alone.
Why are we surprised? Is it really a shock that maybe you might not get a standing ovation at the mention of God in a room full of people that work in an industry that celebrates running from God?
Yes, we live in a world that mocks and attacks the Christian faith. I cringe at what I hear on TV and yes, I believe in standing up for Godly values.
But am I supposed to whimper and cry because godless men don’t applaud the mention of god?
Ok, I should get off my soapbox now… really ya’ll, I just tuned in for the fashion!