Engaging CultureChristian Media

Yes – The Virgin Mary is Pregnant All Right

Reports are true that Keisha Castle-Hughes, the star of “The Nativity” film, coming to theaters for Christmas is pregnant out of wedlock.  I’ve already heard from some upset people, and I’ve been asked by a national magazine for a comment.  I would love to hear your responses on this one, and in case anyone cares, and thanks to a couple insights from friends – here’s mine:

The fact is, we are all fallen creatures, and there are plenty of TV evangelists and fallen pastors of recent years to show us that people make serious mistakes in life – even in the best of circumstances.  But this is a situation with a secular studio with actors of whom most are not believers.  But I am thrilled that the world recognized the power of the Biblical story and brought together great filmmakers to give it life on the screen.

I’ve always wondered about Christians who never question the beliefs of plumbers, lawyers, or car dealers.  But when it comes to making movies, they expect the actors to be believers.  It’s a bit of a double standard.  After all, these are actors playing roles.  Making a movie is no different from building a house or even a church – do you want all Christian construction workers with average abilities, or do you chose an excellent but non-Christian builder who will build the best building possible?

Hollywood is a business and films are the product they build.  I’m sure it was nobody’s first choice (including hers) to get pregnant, but she made the right choice in keeping the child. If there’s one thing the bible teaches us, is that God has chosen time and again that His story is told through imperfect people.  Such is the case here.

Frankly, I think this is a huge opportunity to make a great statement about the grace of God.  Remember that loved film “Chariots of Fire” which told a remarkably Christian story.  But the lead actor that played the Olympic athlete that eventually became a missionary was gay in real life.  Likewise, the most successful “Christian” film of all time was directed and produced by a man recently arrested for an alleged  drunken, anti-Semitic rant in Los Angeles.

God has now given us a wonderful opportunity to present our case to the world.  Obviously, pregnancy out of wedlock is not God’s best for a young couple.  But we’re all sinners saved by God’s grace.  Rather than condemn, and resort to the legalism and perfectionism the Pharisees exhibited, we can embrace her with the love of God and show the entire culture the power of forgiveness and grace.

Today’s Pharisees have controlled the discussion for far too long.  I’d rather follow his example with the woman caught in adultery.  Her sin was obvious, and condemnation would have only been redundant.  Better to welcome, embrace, and tell her “Go, and sin no more.”


  1. Thanks, Phil for helping us flip the script on the standard Christian response
    to others’ mistakes. The only sin that seemed to really bug Jesus was thinking
    we are
    somehow above others or beyond reproach.

    Here’s a weird theological comparison/twist.

    While Protestants would generally look down upon Catholics for needing a priest
    to deliver their sacraments, the theology behind the priesthood and the black
    robes is that the soul/belief/practices of the priest have NOTHING to do with
    the efficacy of the sacraments.

    In other words, God works through us, despite our sinful nature (and ways).

    Interestingly, I think Protestants may deify our leaders even more. Pastors
    (particularly with our emphasis upon preaching) become the word of God to us
    so if they fall, the whole church falls.

    A priest falls and people become cynical about priests, but somehow the Bread
    and Wine just keep on delivering. (Because it’s not about us….).

    Same question with actors and film.

    While our personal indiscretions may not helpa situation (or make a film better),
    we must give God more credit and more power than that…

  2. Great! I like your response. The only other argument is that plumbers and carpenters don't affect millions of people with what they do. Actors and movies do. The same as authors and journalists, can influence a lot of people. So their job should be looked at differently I think. Pastors and priests as well. Doesn't the Lord tell us they will be judged more severely? Let's try and encourage film makers and actors to do excellent work and to hold themselves and what they do to a higher standards, both publicly and personally,  and let's get them hired and placed in those positions to set an example to other "Christians" and non believers. I think this is what Christ is calling us to do?

    Kathleen Cooke 

  3. I so appreciate your heart in defending a poor actor who is being blasted for being human! We must love the sinner, though we may hate the sin. And we must remember that David killed a man, stole his wife, had an affair and lied. Stephen killed Christians and harrassed the church leaders. God used prostitutes, tax collectors, liars, cheats and broken people. He actually even uses you and me. Oh, please may we stop pointing fingers at the actions of people and start reaching out with unconditional love to heal their hearts. The Christian church must stop trying to make people act like Christians and start loving them so that they want to become Christians. Let’s go crazy in practing grace and stop judging. That’s not our job. We’re trying to be the Holy Spirit and we’re really bad at it! And remember, the only people Jesus ever got mad at were the religious leaders, not the un-believers. Maybe we should use Jesus as an example of how to treat others. I will bet my life that it will work.

    Karen Covell

  4. Kathleen,

    Very well put… I believe we were all saved by grace, but it appears Christians have taken it too far.  

    Phil, you forgot to run your article by Kathleen before you posted it!!!:)

    You two are an amazing couple, thank you for the influence you had in my life!


  5. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how critical we can be as Christians.  I am so grateful to have the grace of God in my life.  As Christians I think it is just as important for us to emphasize forgiveness and the unconditional love of Christ if we are to be a light.  I pray that we attract ALL who are willing to listen to the gospel or our testimonies so they may know the love of God in a real way.  

    Thankfully, I have made many mistakes and others can see that you do not have to be perfect to be a child of God. In a world full of attractions that do not lead to eternity, as Christians, we need to be extra diligent in being practical, honest, joyful examples of Christ's love. 

    Film is a very powerful medium.  Ask anyone who bought a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses after watching Top Gun or those who bought Reese’s pieces chocolates after E.T. premiered. Frankly, our focus needs to be on being excellent storytellers so that the world can witness God's amazing grace.


  6. What are some of comments made about her by Christians? I don't understand how this can be an issue if she's not saved. Is it another boycott?:(


  7. Hi Karen

    Thanks for the reminder to stop trying to be the Holy Spirit.

    God has not had anyone perfect working for Him yet.


    WinW from Canada


    BTW. I think you meant Paul rather than Steven.

  8. As Christians we are called to be Christ like and Christ is forgiving. We have to remember that we too were sinners and if we judge others we are not being forgiving as the Lord is and was to us. There was a movie called "Fighting Temptations" with a lot of secular actors/actresses, and majority of them were saved after the film was made. I do beleive that the actors who are not Christians can and will be open to the things they are hearing and seeing around them.  It's up to the actors and actresses who are saved to show them the joy we have. With her playing Mary she has a mighty big role to fill the story might touch her in a way that we can not describe. We have to remember that we cannot save anyone it's Gods love and His saving grace through us that shows others what it means to truely be a BELIEVER!

  9. I agree almost entirely with Phil's comments.

    This is a film about the story of Christ, yes, but as far as we know, it is written, produced, and performed by secular people or people who are not claiming to be born-again Christians.  Why would we expect that they should cater to Christian ethics or laws?  Give to Caesar what is Casar's. 

    If Christian's were doing this movie, it might be a different thing.  But honestly, Christians have produced movies using non-Christian actors.  So what is this about? 

    Yes, actors reach or impact a lot of people, but so do medical doctor's.    When you're in the emergency room do you ask the attendant where he is an adulterer or not, or if the attendant is female and she's pregnant whether she's married or not?

    It's exhausting and frustrating and unhelpful to have 'ambulance chasing Christians' – people hunting down an emergency or looking for a reason to fight so that they can spew out "charitable" venom.  If these Christians really had a life or LIFE which is Jesus, they'd find better ways to spend their energy like looking for positive things to champion rather than giving publicity to things that are negative and that in some ways have nothing to do with Christ's love.

  10. What do you mean you agree ALMOST ENTIRELY with Phil's comments?    🙂

    Thanks for the post.  Excellent points…..  phil 

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