by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s simple: We’re fallen. We’re sinful. We’re lost. If we weren’t, the Gospel would be just another self-help plan, rather than the glorious, soul-redeeming truth. “You are forgiven” is a message grounded in the fact that there is something to forgive.
That’s why the culture’s counterprogramming, the endless recitation of the falsehood that you’re “perfect just the way you are,” is so pernicious. It not only inoculates a person against the Gospel, it helps immiserate them, as their beliefs are in a constant tension with the witness of their own conscience. At a deep level, it’s hard to believe a lie.
And that brings me to Chris Pratt. Yes, Star-Lord. Or, if you prefer, Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation. Or, if you’re going to the movies this weekend, raptor-trainer Owen Grady.
Pratt is one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. He’s also a Christian, and he’s not at all ashamed to share his faith. Not even at the MTV Movie Awards. …
… He shared his “nine rules” for life, and embedded within those rules were a series of powerful truths. “You have a soul.” “If you’re strong be a protector. If you’re smart be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, and do not wield them against weak.” “God is real, God loves you, and God wants the best for you.” “Learn to pray.” And then the kicker:
“Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you that you’re perfect just the way you are. You’re not! You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way. And if you’re willing to accept that, then you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”
Look, I know Pratt’s speech wasn’t exactly the message a Baptist preacher would share, but it’s an antidote against a lie. He’s speaking to a generation of young people who know that something is very deeply wrong. It’s a generation wracked by depression and anxiety in spite — or perhaps because — of the fact that they’ve been told time and again how perfect they are.