Having now lived in Los Angeles for over a year now, I’ve started to adapt to the culture and the lifestyle of my environment. Now I’ve started to take a lot more notice on presentation of outfits, the way people act and also the ways of Hollywood.
Hollywood to me has always been a fantasy. Growing up in the Bay, I always viewed Hollywood as celebrities living a lavish lifestyle, getting everything handed to them and to a point, a separation from the real world.
It still is in a lot of ways. Especially with TMZ rolling around, their lives are so high-profile that anything and everything done is big news. It’s kind of neat but also very scary. For some people, they get so absorbed in their own falsehood of reality that they lose touch. It’s what drives people away from Hollywood.
And I’ve come to realize that Hollywood is exactly what churches have been all my life. I’ve visited churches and heck, I’ve even been part of churches for a long period of time where I have seen it gone Hollywood.
The Hollywood lifestyle is a mask. These celebrities at times struggle through so many things that sometimes we understand. Sometimes we don’t. They have to battle leechers, pressures, addictions and things that we sometimes call “rich people problems.” In a sense, they are just as human as we are, but with just different kind of problems.
But every day, they go out into the world, put on a smile, make an album, film a commercial or do whatever they do to cover up their struggles. The Hollywood lifestyle is supposed to look glamorous. They hide the dirt, the ugliness, the TMZ-worthy part of their lives.
Church has become that. That’s what these churches have done with their Hollywood approach. I enter church and I see a perfect, presentable performance. The worship is perfect. The preacher is perfect. Everything around me is like a red carpet premiere. Everyone is here to see how good things are.
But that’s not what church is really all about is it? It’s not Hollywood. It’s built up of imperfect people with problems. Nobody is supposed to be able to mask their problems. Church is designed for people to present their shortcomings so they can be built up by the church family and God.
And here we are, trying so hard to look great on Sundays. Even we try to so hard to wear our Sunday best clothing. It’s fine wearing good clothes, but why do we do it? Is our motivation to look good for ourselves or is it to show others that our lives are good despite the pain underneath that suit.
That’s the image the world gets of church and in a bigger picture, Christians. Christianity is so Hollywood that some people are afraid of it. Some people don’t think they can ever achieve it. Hollywood is so out of touch, so fake, so plastic that the church has become that.
It’s scary how far away from Jesus the church has become. I’m not saying all churches are like that, but it’s a dangerous slope that any church can easily slip to.
But the scary thing about Hollywood is that it’s not all bad. In fact, there is a reason why I still enjoy things that are Hollywood. From the music, movies and especially fashion, there’s something about it that attracts my attention.
What about it is so appealing? It’s the celebration.
Celebrities are just that: a celebration. As a celebrity, there’s a certain style, swag if you will, of their approach to life. They are proud of what they do. They know that what they have achieved is great and should be celebrated.
Is it conceited? Probably yeah, but it’s not all that bad. It’s not cockiness, but it’s confidence. There’s a belief in one’s own self.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on a red carpet premiere of a film and have everyone trying to snap a photo of me. I’ve attended these before but I’ve never actually been that subject.
To me, that’s what the church and the kingdom of God is to me. The kingdom is Hollywood.
If heaven had a red carpet premiere, and I just so happened to be walking down the red carpet, God would be the first person pushing in front to snap a picture of me. I would be celebrated. I would be someone who people would want to see. Like the prodigal son story.
In a way, that’s kind of how I wish churches would be more like Hollywood. Not that fake, plastic stuff. But the way Hollywood celebrates their celebrities. I like the way where everyone can be themselves and it’s still worthy of attention because every person is worth it.
God celebrates all of us, so how come we don’t celebrate each other?
I know it’s a fine line kind of comparison I’m using. It’s a dangerous one too. There are aspects of Hollywood that we can’t want but there are some that we should strive for.
And in reality, churches are missing the point — and sometimes it’s both.
What are we hiding? Has our TMZ-like life become so embarrassing that we hide it? We’ve treated our church like TMZ where we want to avoid having any kind of conflict. That’s not the Hollywood Christian lifestyle we should have.
I’d rather have the one that I know we would have with God. We are a celebration. Sure we are sinners, but we aren’t defined by our sins. We are defined by our salvation in God. And that’s what makes us a celebrity in God’s eyes. That’s what should make us celebrities with each other. We want to see the greatness in each other. People should be celebrated for who they are and what they are in Christ.
I’m sure I’ve kind of rambled in this blog post and it might not make the most sense. But in a way, that’s how our lives are. Our life is Hollywood. It’s just a matter of what side of Hollywood do we want it to be. The dangerous mask to hide the pain, or the celebration of the awesomeness we have?
I’d like to believe that we can all realize that our lives are worth celebrating no matter how ugly it is. Because our salvation in God makes our lives great and it trumps the bad. And that is a great inspiration to live a better life everyone can notice and celebrate.