Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Paramount, Tom Cruise & God's Perspective

Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures are parting ways according to news reports yesterday. Movie industry analysts have described Cruise as a “cash cow” for Paramount, with his films having earned them $2.5 billion over the last 14 years. While his latest film, Mission Impossible III, was a domestic disappointment with $133 million, it has taken in more than $390 million internationally.

What’s the problem? According to Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone the problem has been Cruise’s behavior, which has included the Scientologist’s public criticism of antidepressants and his very public courtship of star Katie Holmes. Redstone said, “His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.”

As with most things Hollywood this is all about externals and marketability. There are plenty of big stars with outrageous behavior including drug abuse, prostitution, rape, DUI’s, imprisonment and so much more. Cruise looks like a “boy scout” in comparison.

So, don’t misunderstand Paramount. They are not taking some “high road on conduct” and raising the bar on behavior. If Cruise’s Scientology and courtship with Holmes had been well received by the public all would be well in Paramount land.

All of this brings me to God. He’s not interested in public opinion polls and doesn’t care about what is marketable. His focus is never on the externals, no matter how awful or how meritorious. God is all about the internal, the heart.

A sick heart produces sick behavior. A redeemed heart produces life-giving behavior where we have capacities beyond ourselves to love, to give, to forgive, and to bless others. There is considerably more “heart disease” in our world than ever reported by the American Heart Association because so many hearts remain disconnected from God.

Do you know how to connect your heart to the heart of God? Much could be said in response to that question but let me just mention one. You can’t connect your heart to God’s heart by first cleaning up your behavior. Being good is not the issue. You connect your heart to God’s heart with a humble admission that you can’t be good and with a simple faith request that Jesus save you from yourself and from sin. Only Jesus can change the root (heart) so that there is different fruit (behavior).

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