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Is comedian Russell Brand turning to Christ for help?


Russell Brand speaking at an austerity rally in England. Credit: D B Young/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Russell Brand speaking at an austerity rally in England. Credit: D B Young/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming. But is something spiritual happening to outlandish English comedian Russell Brand?

I am not sure how to describe Brand. He has worked as an actor, writer, stand-up comedian, MTV and reality TV host. He is or was an atheist, borderline communist and activist. He is renown for his outrageous and often vulgar behavior.

He was also briefly married for 14 months to pop-star Katie Perry.

But recently in an interview with Relevant magazine, Brand revealed that he may be going through a spiritual awakening. He said, “My personal feeling is the teachings of Christ are more relevant now than they’ve ever been.”

He continued:

“If Christ consciousness is not accessible to us, then what is the point of the story of Jesus, you know? He’s just a sort of a scriptural rock start, just an icon. Unless Christ is right here, right now, in your heart, in your consciousness, then what is Christ?”

So what happened?

Brand said that his divorce with Katie was the starting point of his change. Though for now Katie seems to be ignoring her Christian roots, her parents are Christian pastors and evangelists.

Brand, a self-professed heroin and cocaine addict, went into a 12-step program to recover from his addiction shortly after someone caught Brand injecting heroin in a bathroom at a Christmas party at his agent’s home.

He was apparently introduced to the program by an atheist and initially had to deal with all the “religious talk.” But despite his misgivings, he seems to have taken a second look at the Christian faith.

He openly admits that his “spirituality comes through addiction, so it comes from desperation and fear and this sort of defeat, destruction, annihilation of self in a very humiliating way…. I had no choice but to embrace spiritual life, but now I am grateful for this. It makes sense of my life.”

Brand even wrote a book entitled Recovery: Freedom from our addictions. Though reportedly laced with vulgarity, Brand says it has a Christian message.

AA’s 12-step program initially developed by Christians to deal with alcoholism is now successfully being used for drug addiction. At its core, AA states a person must depend on God, who they today describe as a ‘higher power,’ to break free from addiction.

But Brand seems to have progressed from ‘higher power’ to Christ.

Which leads to an interesting question. Is the Christian faith an instant conversion or a process?

I think it’s both. In its very essence Christianity is believing in Christ for your salvation. You become righteous through faith in Christ.

Does this instantly make you a better person? No it makes you saved from your sin.

But when you are born-again, the Holy Spirit resides inside you and becomes part of your life. While speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus described the Holy Spirit’s vital connection to the born-again experience this way:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3, 7-8 NASV)

Unfortunately, the born-again experience is belittled in our modern culture, but it is where the Christian faith starts.

Brand may have even hinted at a born-again experience when he said, “Admit you have a problem. Believe it’s possible to change, and ask Him for help. Invite Him in… Capital Hs, of course.”

With the Holy Spirit residing in you, God begins the slower process of transforming your life.

Has Brand begun this transformation? I don’t know. I do know we shouldn’t demand instant perfection and we need to give him some time.

 

Sources:

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