Being a Christian in Hollywood
Written by 1079 Life on February 11, 2021
Hollywood is a lot of things. It can be inspirational, it can be wonderful, it can tragic and it can be downright dirty. Above all, it is complex.
It’s not unusual to hear religious leaders condemn Hollywood, and the entertainment industry as a whole, for a wide range of offenses. However, the fact is that within Hollywood there are many people of faith who are able to work comfortably.
Jonathan Jackson is one such actor. An actor, musician and author Jackson has joined Anglican minister and former politician Rev. Dr. Lynn Arnold for a chat about his new book The Mystery of Art- becoming an artist in the image of God which details his life and his journey of faith.
Starting from the tender age of 11 in the TV show General Hospital Jackson has lived his life in the entertainment industry, though this was never planned.
Asked by Lynn Arnold about how he coped with being a young guy, just moved to Hollywood, to start a career in the cutthroat entertainment industry Jackson gives credit first to his family,
“My parents gave me a really strong foundation… I grew up in a family that didn’t simply call themselves Christian by name but I saw a beautiful example in both my father and mother growing up”.
Jackson also credits the influence of an Australian minister by the name of Dr Desmond Ford whose sermons he listened to on cassettes at the age of 12. He describes one particular sermon titled The Pride of the Human Heart and the Holiness of God as opening his eyes to his relationship with God.
Asked whether it was hard for a person of faith to exist in Hollywood, Jackson concedes that there was a lot of spiritual tension within the Hollywood environment. But ultimately Jackson states that it was good to be challenged in this way and that God kept him safe.
“It was the grace of God that kept me sane and kept me from those pitfalls [of Hollywood]”.
Jackson also notes the role of his General Hospital co-stars Anthony Geary and Genie Francis (who played his onscreen parents) in not only nurturing his curiosity professionally but also sheltering him at times.
Though an orthodox Christian Jonathan Jackson was born into a non-denominational Christian family. He credits his identity as an Orthodox Christian to his journey of faith, starting from the age of 12, and his desire to learn more about the Christian faith. A key moment of this journey was a trip to Rome during Palm Sunday at the age of 26, an experience that Jackson tells Arnold was eye opening.
This journey of faith is present in his artistic work. When approaching dark roles and dark storylines Jackson believes his faith allows him to turn darkness into something positive, and that it can be used as a form of healing for the audience.
Jonathan Jackson is married and has 3 children.
The whole conversation between Lynn Arnold and Jonathan Jackson can be heard below.