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Not So Much as a Wink

Now that we’re some two weeks past the Oscars, I guess any comment is definitely unfashionably late. But I’ve been reflecting on the excitement some Christians expressed over Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech, and it seems to me that a brief comment is still apropos.

What got people going, of course, was the actor’s ostensible thanksgiving to God in the course of his speech. Mind you, it was a rather strange sort of thanksgiving. It was vague and incoherent at best, and McConaughey unpacked his thanksgiving by going on to speak of having been taught that “whenever you have God, you have a friend.” Upon saying that, he pointed to the audience and added, “and that friend is you!” Which makes it unclear whether Matthew was ascribing deity to his audience or if some sort of substance was clouding the connections his mind was making.

It was in his ensuing comments that the actor best articulated his own religion. McConaughey continued by describing his future self as his personal hero, and his goals revolved around his own success. His speech was many things, but one thing it was not was a speech that glorified the sovereign God. Rather, it articulated McConaughey’s own commitment to the idolatry of self that best describes the religion of North American culture.

I guess the thing that troubles me is how quickly we Christians like to jump on the very slightest nod toward something vaguely spiritual, apparently forgetting that in Paul’s day, there were hundreds of gods being worshiped, and the only thing that satisfied him was the worship of and allegiance to the One true God and His Messiah. We are like the teenaged girl who is so hungry for affection that the slightest attention to our cause gets our hearts racing.

And on that analogy, Matthew McConaughey’s speech is not so much as a wink.

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