Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From Teen Heartthrob to Worthy Role Model

He was a teenage heartthrob upon whom all the girls had crushes and all the boys wanted to be like. I should know, heck, I dressed like him and even had my hair styled like him. Now, some odd 25 years later, you could still do worse when picking a celebrity to pattern yourself after.

Fame is a tough gig, it usually chews up and spits out its childhood stars, but every once in a while there is a surprise. During the 1980s there was no bigger child star than Kirk Cameron who played Mike Seaver on television’s Growing Pains. Cameron played the typical teen leading man: cool, cute, and mischievous with a penchant for trouble and a teenage libido for the ladies. Behind the scenes however Kirk Cameron was also living a typical life…the typical life of a Hollywood teen star. By his own admission Cameron was making more money than his parents and with that money came a freewheeling lifestyle that was very self centered. He had never really given much thought to God, but the fact that he could not see him, nor really had any need of him lead the teen idol to be a self proclaimed atheist.

All that changed during his late teens when Cameron started doing a little soul searching. He had been enjoying a lifestyle where he had everything he ever wanted, yet, he was not happy and he began to wonder if there was something more to life. At age 17 Cameron became a Christian, but he struggled at first with denying himself and truly following God. As he strengthened his relationship with Christ, Cameron began to change the way he related to Hollywood too. He began to ask that certain lines be removed from his scripts. He began truly living the Christian lifestyle. It was not easy.

“I have had people tell me, well Kirk you sure picked the wrong religion in Hollywood didn’t you,” Cameron said when relating how he has often been blacklisted from acting parts due to his Christianity. Indeed, Hollywood is more than willing to allow you to worship God, so long as it is not “THE GOD” of the Bible Cameron suggested. Cameron is quick to point out that he didn’t find God, God was not lost. Instead, God found him and he is very thankful that he did.

Today you can find Cameron on the big screen as the star Buck Williams from the ultra popular Christian series Left Behind. Or perhaps you are more familiar with the efforts he has put into trying to save the American family in his encouraging and uplifting movie Fireproof. And while we are on Fireproof, perhaps there is no better example of the stark difference between Kirk Cameron and the rest of Hollywood than when he refused to kiss his “stage wife” during the movie. In one of the final scenes where Cameron kisses his wife, the director was forced to bring Cameron’s actual wife in and turn her back to the camera so that Cameron could truly perform the kiss scene. Now that, my friend, is conviction.

As if making Christian movies isn’t enough, Cameron also has become a fixture in Christian television with his award winning evangelism television and radio show The Way of the Master. And he even managed to be a burr beneath the skin of the Darwin crowd when he reproduced Darwin’s On the Origin of Species with a creationism slant. Copies of the work were then distributed free at numerous universities.

In a day and age where Hollywood teens grab the press for all the wrong reasons, Cameron is an inspiration. He is also an outcast. Cameron wouldn’t have it any other way. He has had all this world has to offer, now he is putting up his treasure in another world.

1 comment:

  1. His wife was his co-star on Growing Pains for a time and I've read that she was the one who brough him to Christ.