It’s already begun. Just days after the tragic death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, Christians are coming up with the “answers,” and (surprise) pitching their DVD’s in the process. The most widely promoted so far is Robin Williams: The Sad Truth The Media Won’t Tell You from over at “Good Fight Ministries.” In the article it states: “Robin Williams acknowledged that he had opened himself up to transformative demonic powers that aided him on stage.” I’d encourage you to read the quote that statement is based on.
Having worked in Hollywood for more than 30 years, I can tell you the idea Robin’s talking about in the quote isn’t “demon possession” but a common term actors use to fill a character. I’m sure writer Joe Schimmel is trying to do the right thing, but using that quote as a guide, he would have to (and perhaps does) assume every actor and comedian in Hollywood is demon possessed.
But even more important is the question – did this writer ever actually speak to Robin? Did he counsel him? Did he even have a lengthy personal interview? If not, how can he make such sweeping and insensitive statements – particularly within hours of Robin’s death?
We wonder why Christians are marginalized by the culture and wonder why non-believers aren’t interested in anything we have to say. Well go no further than this article (and I’m sure plenty from others that will be coming.)
There is evil in the world. There is demonic activity in the world. But there is also mental illness. Of all the people in the culture, Christians should be more sensitive than anyone during times of tragedy.
And I’ll no doubt get the “But Phil – we must speak the Truth” argument back. That’s true as well. But when that is required, it is a grave and serious responsibility – not an opportunity to pitch our latest DVD. And perhaps more important – when Christians make grand judgements and pronouncements, they should be based on rock solid evidence, not fragments of interviews or our own assumptions. I’m reminded of the quote from writer Anne Lamott: “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.”
Think about the bigger picture here. Do articles like this really advance the Kingdom? Do they cause readers to be so convicted that they want to turn to God? Or do they simply feed the stereotype that Christians are insensitive jerks, who are more concerned about condemning than caring?
During times like this, our hearts should burn. WE should be consumed with guilt that we haven’t done enough to share the Good News.
Not take an attitude that will simply drive away the very people we are trying to reach.