Christians: ‘Don’t be a Turd’ About Chris Pratt’s Acceptance Speech

Christians: ‘Don’t be a Turd’ About Chris Pratt’s Acceptance Speech June 20, 2018

Earlier this week, American actor Chris Pratt received a “Generation” accolade at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Award Ceremony. During his acceptance speech, he offered viewers 9 life lessons, or rules to live by. These 9 rules were a mixture of humor, character development advice, and simple expressions of his Christian faith. All of which were met with cheering and applause from, what I assume to be, a usually hostile crowd towards Christianity. This response was anomalous, but not entirely shocking. What I found to be more shocking was the repercussion from many within the Christian community.

You can watch his speech HERE; it’s only about 4 minutes long.  However, for summary sake, I’ve listed the statements related to faith/Christianity:

  • Rule #2 – “You have a soul, be careful with it.”
  • Rule #5 – “…reach out to someone in pain [and] be of service. It feels good and it’s good for your soul”
  • Rule #6 – “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do.”
  • Rule #8 – “Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s good for your soul.”
  • Rule #9 – “Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell 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. If you’re willing to accept that you will have grace. 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. God bless you.”

The consensus among his Christian critics is that his gospel presentation was weak and shallow. Some say he didn’t offer biblical Christianity, but some warped, American version instead. I’ve even heard terms like “garbage” tossed around. While there may be some truth to a few observations that address the lack of content required for a full gospel message, it’s ridiculous to me that the “Christian” gut-reaction is criticize Chris Pratt as if he is a seminary educated pastor speaking from a pulpit – like Andy Stanley or Steven Furtick. This backyard, Christian backlash is absurd and disheartening.

Many condemning Chris Pratt would do well to heed his 3rd Rule: “Don’t be a turd”.

It’s my opinion that Mr. Pratt spent time carefully writing out his acceptance speech. I say this because his approach seems deliberate, rehearsed, and cadenced.  The scattered nature by which he sprinkles in items related to faith, between jokes and outright silliness is meant to balance and maintain a young audience’s interest, lest we forget his demographic was MTV-aged viewers. The point being: he wasn’t speaking to mature, well-read adults. Chris Pratt, whom I understand to be a relatively new Christian, was instructing a younger generation that God exists, they have souls, they should seek him in prayer, and grace exists for their imperfections. To me, that’s great. As he matures in Christ, I hope he elaborates on the changes Jesus is working in his life.

Do I wish he had said more about Jesus and offered a complete gospel presentation? Of course! But, I will not condemn him for not doing so in that moment. He wasn’t giving a sermon. He’s not a professional evangelist. He wasn’t asked to give an account of his faith. Rather, he was accepting a youth-driven accolade based on his work in a secular, professional career. The award was secular. The crowd was secular. The expectations should be secular.

Why is that when famous Christians have a public stage, we act as if its a requirement to walk everyone down the Roman road?

I have received a handful of awards over the years in the secular workplace and I have never been criticized for not using the moment to give a crystal-clear gospel presentation. Why? Probably because I’m not famous. The American culture elevates the lives and voices of celebrities as something unique; celebrity Christians are, sadly, not immune to this.

It’s as if we shoehorn their fame and influence as justification to promote their secular, vocational calling to that of clerical-like responsibilities. We forget celebrity Christians are normal people like you and me. They hold a job just like you and me. They’re broken and in desperate need of grace, just like you and me. Chris Pratt is under no more obligation to share the gospel in his workplace than the Christian plumber you see on Sunday mornings. These misplaced expectations are unfair and, frankly, hypocritical.

I suspect many who are vocally holding Chris Pratt to this standard do not utilize every professional meeting, presentation, conference room engagement, and coaching/mentoring interaction to offer a complete account of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian lives must echo the gospel of Jesus Christ and that absolutely includes public confessions of faith. However, we need to keep all of this in perspective. Often, gospel-sharing takes place over many conversations and is woven within relationship-building.

All Christians, regardless of vocation, are to bear witness about their Savior, Jesus Christ. We are to preach the gospel to lost, to the ends of the earth. This, of course, includes Chris Pratt. But before publicly reprimanding him, let’s make sure we are not adding words to Jesus’ Great Commission.  Jesus never said we have to offer a complete gospel presentation every single time we open our mouths. Rather, He’s instructing believers with a life’s missions statement. For some, this calling is fulfilled on the mission field and others in a secular workplace.

In closing, I am reminded of the powerful words often attributed to the great reformer, Martin Luther, on vocation and how we glorify God in a secular workplace. Though they were not likely spoken by Luther, the points stands equally well. The individual writes, “The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors.  The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”

Christians, can we not just rejoice there is some truth being voiced in a dark place, and pray for Pratt’s continued influence and growth? Let’s ask God to use him in powerful ways for the advancement of the kingdom and perhaps, that we not be so needlessly critical.

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  • Cyndi Weeks

    I would say these turds are in the minority. It is unfortunate that there are any but considering that most of what we hear from Hollywood deserves plenty of scrutiny, I think these turds forgot to turn it off and rejoice that a message of hope was shared from an unlikely platform. Guaranteed if anyone googled God, blood, freedom that Ephesians or some other helpful verse would further the gospel message. I say way to go Chris!

    • Mr. James Parson

      They would probably get a bunch of YouTube videos refuting the Gospel message

  • Ungodly Sweet

    There is a time and a place for everything, preaching to people all the time or at inappropriate times is a sure fire way to turn people away. There was nothing wrong with him stating his beliefs, if he had of banged on and on about it then he would have not only been insulting and disrespectful but also very off putting.

  • Paperboy_73

    Reminds me of the response to the royal wedding homily. Literally anything less than a Fire-And-Brimstone Salvation Message Complete With Altar Call is unacceptable to some. I presume these people find Christianity so painful that it bugs that to see other people who seem happy about the whole thing.

  • John

    I really liked what he said. That’s more boldness than almost all of the church-goers I know. As much as I really like his openness about his faith, its his actions that stump me = divorce, profanity, sexual innuendo, casual approach to drinking. What to do with those?

    • Roger Morris

      Why not burn him at the stake? It’s worked in the past. Or perhaps just get your own house in order and stop obsessing over the ‘sin’ of others.

  • Roger Morris

    American Christians, especially American Evangelicals, seem to slip into “turd mode” with the greatest of ease. Perhaps it is a reflection of the poisonous and life-denying Christian doctrines they hold so dear.

    • Tiny J

      Bad troll. No biscuit.

  • Robin Laber

    While I don’t expect seminary level theology out of Hollywood, can all the Christians who are keeping score for God whenever anyone of prominence invokes the word God, quit chocking it up as a win for our Lord and savior? Because it’s not. When you call God “a force” who created mankind as imperfect, you are simply wrong and any Christian of 15 minutes knows how wrong that is.

    If I want theology, I go to church. If I want entertainment, I consider Hollywood.

    And to clarify, if an ordinary non-public figure were to use a local community public speaking opportunity to give the message that Chris Pratt gave, their pastor, if he was a decent one, would take them aside and graciously correct them. I pray that Chris Pratt has such a pastor, because he said nothing uniquely Christian outside of his comparison of the perfect shed blood of Christ with the American soldier’s shed blood for political freedom. Those two facts are not even in the same category.

    I think we all need to repent of celebrity-ism and give little attention to any of them, one way or another.

    • Carson Christensen

      Totally agree if “god” isn’t spoken of as the Lord Jesus Christ, more often than not more damage is being done than if “god”, “gods”, or other spiritual forces were ever mentioned…

  • HpO

    Your clericalism is showing, in a repressed sort of way here. Not to mention the secular-versus-religious dichotomy in you that’s rather patronizing, actually, when it comes out. All that’s what that is when you said:

    (1) “[Those without] clerical-like responsibilities … are normal people like you and me … The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God … The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty … by making good shoes … We [must] not be so needlessly critical [of] others [like them] in a secular workplace. … [So it’s worth it to] criticize … [but if and only if it’s directed at] a seminary educated pastor speaking from a pulpit – like Andy Stanley or Steven Furtick”!

    (2) “[Expect] a complete gospel presentation … [only from] a professional evangelist … [because] Jesus never said we have to offer a complete gospel presentation every single time we open our mouths”!

    (3) “[Because of the] work in a secular, professional career … the Christian plumber you see on Sunday mornings … is under no … obligation to share the gospel in his workplace”!

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Pratt in the dictionary means idiot. Not much more to say, other than some people dont like being preached at or to. I am certain a Christian would not be thrilled to have their preaching turned on its head by a non believer.

    • Santo R

      He was not preaching, he was giving his point of view, his opinion, very good advice regardless of his religion. What is it that bothers you? If you are not satisfied with something you said it is fine, you are in your right, refute it, contradict it whatever you want, you are in your right. But what you do is say that he is an idiot, and why? by the way he is not trying to convince anyone of anything, he is only giving advice from his point of view from his belief only that, for God.

    • Statistics Palin

      Turd.

    • Patrick

      Prat, with a single t, means an incompetent, stupid, or foolish person; an idiot. Mr. Pratt’s name does not mean that. I have no problem with Mr. Pratt’s speech. Your mistaken application of the definition to his name however . . . .

  • Marshall Ray

    If not for this article, I would not know about ANY Christian who criticized Pratt’s speech. Everyone I know was delighted with it, almost to a fault.
    It’s no less turdish to take the ravings of a few and present the entire Christian community in such a negative light. I know Patheos is not a “Christian” sight, but it used to give voice to positive representations of the faith. It seems to be rapidly becoming a place where Christianity, or at the very least Christians, can only be mentioned with criticism.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    It is telling to me that you don’t think rule #3 “don’t be a turd” is not related to faith. If you think so your faith is dead, because, as James says, you cannot claim to love God if you do not love your neighbour.
    If you think that, any quibbles over Chris Pratt’s theological exactness are seeing the speck in his eye whilst ignoring the plank in your own.
    “Don’t be a turd” needs writing in 10ft high flashing neon letters at the door of every church. If you can’t manage that, everything else is just so much trash.

  • Carson Christensen

    The problem is that America is suffering from a spirit of believing in a “god” or “gods” that are not the true Lord Jesus Christ.. An “american Jesus” with no commitment or hard work requires in one’s faith. Believing in Christ is the hardest thing anyone can do and Chris Pratt just got finished mocking the idea of serving The Lord in His new movie infinity war in a scene where he says “What do you want me to say? Jesus?” He also is known to attend very wicked events spiritually such as the gladiatorial Bellator MMA where anyone with slight experience could see he was under the influence of cocaine and/or other drugs. I am not against all actors in Hollywood but Hollywood is a stronghold in America with a lot of demonic activity twisting the spiritual. The mention of “god” is not always a good thing and in a lot of cases it confuses the lost further moving them away from JESUS, who is the only True God and deserves to be addressed as such when speaking of who God is. The real God, not opening up a gateway of believing in one or many of the hundreds or thousands of demonic gods and powers present in this world. Be cautious. Lord bless you.

    • Tiny J

      I appreciate how concise, clear, and to-the-point you are.

  • tabnab

    Chris Pratt did in fact share the gospel properly with Jesus, MTV edited the video. We wrestle not against flesh and blood…

    • Jack Lee

      Do you have a link??

  • Patrick

    Y’all all missed his point #4:

    “When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger, they won’t even know they’re eating medicine.”

    That’s exactly what he did.

  • Jeff Hinkle

    It’s not christianity without obsessive cannibalistic focus on the mangled dead body of da lord, who was killed by his dad, Sky Hitler, so he wouldn’t have to kill US lol. God was SOOO mad, !, but one dead son makes him calm down. Cool, yeah…..that sounds like a guy I’d love to spend forever with hahaha……

  • George Spencer

    The issue to me is not whether Pratt claims to be a christian and even promotes some Biblical themes like prayer, grace, etc There have always been celebrities who give lip service to God. The real issue is that now he is clearly self-identified as a Christian and a high profile one because of his celebrity status, what will his lifestyle be. Will it be one of holiness or worldliness? Will he begin to use his platform to speak the hard truths our culture doesnt want to hear? Will he be willing to sacrifice the fame and money to follow Him? This is always the issue with celebrity Christians. We now have kanye and kim, beiber and hailey, selena gomez, kevin durant and others claiming to be followers of Christ. They each have their celebrity pastor. Yet, if their behaviors dont reflect the character of christ and their words dont go beyond sweet little Christian phrases what value are they to the cause. Are they going to call people out of sin and darkness and then lead the way by example. Will they give up the foul language, the half naked selfies, the love of money, the lure of fame. If they continue to sell out to the world while being held up before the public as representatives of Christ, it will do great damage to the Name. Remember, in the case of beiber and pratt and a few others, they were raised christian and have always claimed to be christian but it hasnt stopped them from living and acting like real heathens at time. Like Elvis or Whitney Houston, they just acknowledge their need for God and grace to get through the fallout of their bad choices but there is no lasting transformation. Do they really serve God or does God just serve their needs? WE DONT JUST COME TO THE CROSS TO GET FORGIVENESS AND GO BACK TO THE WORLD. WE GO THROUGH THE CROSS TO A NEW LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE. THIS IS ONLY ACCOMPLISHED BY DENYING OURSELVES, TAKING UP OUR OWN CROSS AND FOLLOWING HIM, REGARDLESS OF THE COST. THAT IS MY PRAYER AND THE ONLY HOPE FOR ANY OF US.