An Interview with Kirk Cameron

{By Ellery Sadler}

My phone buzzed on the kitchen table. I dropped my book and jumped to get it, feeling excited, a little jittery. On the screen was the right number – it was Kirk Cameron calling. I swiped to answer.

“Hello?” I said.

“Ellery!” I recognized the voice. “I’m so sorry for being late. I was just running around with Chelsea and the kids and got a little behind. Let’s get started!”

There is something instantly captivating about Kirk Cameron, maybe it’s the genuineness of his laugh or the depth of his wisdom or that crooked half-smile so many fell in love with on the silver screen. Or maybe it’s because he’s a man of such conviction and vision. But the minute you start talking with him it feels like he’s an old friend.

When you ask a man like Kirk Cameron – teen idol and quite the heartthrob during his days in ‘Growing Pains’, and today the top Christian actor in the country – what he thinks about movies, relationships and living life to the fullest, you know it’s going to be amazing. He’s a man who does it all, handles with grace both fame and criticism, and still seems like just a regular guy enjoying life.

So let me give you a look at life through the eyes of Kirk Cameron….

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MOVIES & CULTURE

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In his documentary, Unstoppable, he shows how throughout history God is weaving a beautiful and powerful story, the best story ever written. And how He uses all things, even the most horrific of tragedies, the worst of nightmares, the darkest of days, for His purposes and glory.

You just made two amazing movies, Mercy Rule & Unstoppable. What impact do you hope they have on society?

 KIRK: “You have value. You have purpose. My hope is to awaken that realization in people.”

And his films are doing just that. Mercy Rule focuses on family and rallying together even when the going gets tough. Unstoppable looks squarely in the face of the biggest question on earth: why do bad things happen?

KIRK: “You can only ask that question in a world where there is a God. Otherwise, a little boy dying of cancer would just be survival of the fittest: the stronger cells eating the weaker cells. And it wouldn’t be bad. It would just be nature.”

Does film reflect or direct the culture? 

KIRK: “Well, that’s a bit like the chicken and the egg question. Or in a relationship it’s like the wife saying why don’t you listen to me? And the husband saying I would listen if you treated me with respect. And the wife saying if you listened, I would respect you. It just goes around and around. So with movies it’s really a combination of both direction and reflection.” He continued. “But essentially, I think that culture leads. I believe that God created the world in such a way that His children ultimately shape the culture.”

Almost as if he could already hear my protest, with the church’s self-destructive tendencies and apparent apathy, he quickly added, “It may not always seem that way. When the church is apathetic and lazy, when the children of God listen to The Voice [NBC’s TV show] rather than the voice of God, then you have a culture like today. We’ve handed it over to other people. Today, everyone follow the media because the culture is lazy and looking for direction.”

LOVE & MARRIAGE

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Marriage is a subject near and dear to his heart. He and Chelsea started as high school sweethearts on Growing Pains and soon what played out on the TV played out in real life. And the teen idol turned into a wonderful husband and father.

In the Hollywood scene hardly anyone has a lasting relationship, but Kirk and Chelsea have been married for 23 years and are successfully raising 6 kids! He also does ‘Love Worth Fighting For’ marriage tours all across the country.

What advice would you give to young people today about relationships?

KIRK: “Know, love, and fear God. If you don’t you’ll become intimately connected with another authority – you’ll love a person, your lusts, an addiction – and ultimately they will let you down. They can’t fill you.” He added, “If you don’t fear God, you’ll fear something else. And that fear will paralyze you.”

What makes a true man? (Because we could use a few more of those, couldn’t we?)

KIRK: “Servant leadership,” he said. “In a world where most adult males aren’t really sure if they’ve ever crossed the threshold into manhood, it’s critical to know what defines a true man. I look to Psalm 1 as my guide, and of course, Jesus as a my role model.”

LIFE & THE FUTURE

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If there ever was a man who lives life to the fullest and embraces every opportunity, it’s Kirk Cameron. He began acting at the age of nine, married his TV high school sweetheart, adopted four kids and had two of his own, leads a men’s Bible study at his church, regularly witnesses to people, started a ministry for terminally ill children and their families, and of course, makes incredible movies. That’s quite the life. 

What do you think about living life to the fullest and embracing every moment? How do you do that?

KIRK: “Everything you see, God made. But sin always tries to pervert it. Every sin you see or hear about is a perversion of something beautiful that God made to be enjoyed in the right context. Whether it is food or music or relationships or parties – God made it all. Realize that there is no category of life you can’t dive into, understanding how God made it and what He made it for. Then enjoy all of it.”

What is your favorite movie?

KIRK: “I’m not really a movie guy.”

What? Kirk Cameron isn’t a movie guy?? I burst out laughing at the realization once again that people aren’t always what you expect them to be. 

KIRK: “My kids watch movies. But normally I just see half of one on a flight, and I usually don’t have headphones, so I only catch every other line anyway. I’m more of a book lover, actually. Most people think of me as a story guy, I mean, I make movies. But I really like non-fiction better. Although Pilgrims Progress is my favorite novel.”

He laughs when he says his mind works more in blueprints and charts and graphs. Who knew that one of the world’s biggest Christian Hollywood stars doesn’t even watch movies? Give him a book on systematic theology or the dating of Revelations and he’s happy.

What would you like to be remembered for?

He paused. “No one has ever asked me that before.”

The line went silent for a moment. I wondered if we had been disconnected. And then he answered.

“As a man who thought more about others than himself. As a man of integrity, and what I mean by integrity is staying true to my own personal moral code & convictions.

“That I lived what I said I believed.

 

Kirk Cameron’s latest film ‘Christmas’ is about recapturing the Christ in Christmas. We can’t wait to see it when it comes out winter of 2014!! 

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