The other day I was reading an article featuring an interview of Mayim Bialik. She’s an actress that many may remember from the ’90’s show Blossom, she did as a teen. Other people may know her for her latest role in the long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory. In the article, she recounts her experiences of being an actress who juggles the task of being a mom, with being a woman who has chosen to use her celebrity as a platform. That also includes her championing causes that coalesce to her modest Jewish heritage.
Much of the article focuses on her thoughts about how she has faced great opposition for doing things pertaining to her Jewish roots and personal choices as a woman. In one instance, she points to how she is criticized about how she can have a degree in neuroscience and be a person of faith. As if those two things can’t co-exist. She highlights that ultimately people simply want to debate the whole things simply as a way of telling her why she must be wrong on one side of a particular thing or another.
Since Christians, like Jews, have often faced heavy criticism in the world of Arts and Entertainment, I’m left asking one key question. Since when has faith ever been a thing that was meant to be trendy? Faith isn’t something you involve yourself in as though it were some charitable organization, social club, or networking group. Faith isn’t about the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the neighborhood you live in. Faith is about how you choose to relate to God, regardless how you’ve come to understand that to be.
For Jews like Mayim, it is more about being born into a culture and heritage that traces its roots back to Abraham, father of the people of Israel. For Christians, it’s about finding revelation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was born of a Jewish virgin over 2000 years ago. Yet faith connects us to something that is higher than ourselves. We are aware that we did not make ourselves and must honor our creator and offer worship. Nothing about that has anything to do with what is hip or popular.
The mere fact that faith can be culture shaping seems to have in some people’s minds created some sort of ambiguity about the line that distinguishes faith as a culture shaper from something that culture chooses to shape. Faith shapes and transforms us. We determine trends by preferences and personal taste. Maybe people’s assumption that because there are various forms of faith, it means we get to choose it like we choose a pair of jeans or laundry detergent. I personally don’t see it that way.
It may be that people confuse faith with religion. Faith develops and is shaped by the individual that pursues it. Religion can be ritualistic and full of traditions, which may then be deemed popular or trendy as you choose or choose not to engage in it. Faith, on the other hand, challenges an individual to mature, to relate, and to reach heights and depths internally as well as externally.
Trends are born, die, and are recycled as people choose. Faith has never been this way, and I seriously doubt it becomes like this at any given time. Whether Hollywood ever understands or accepts people of faith as trendy, I may never know for sure. My true hope, however, is that Hollywood can appreciate that there are people in Hollywood who have faith and a conviction to live it out.
QUESTION: Do you believe that faith is, can or should be trendy?
- Big Bang Theory Star: Religion Will Never Be ‘Trendy’ in Hollywood Circles (mediaite.com)
- Mayim Bialik from ‘Big Bang Theory’ Says Hollywood isn’t Friendly to People of Faith (youngcons.com)
- Mayim Bialik reveals social media abuse (contactmusic.com)
- ‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress Speaks Out About Being Christian in Hollywood (patriotupdate.com)
- Mayim Bialik: Being religious isn’t trendy in Hollywood (jta.org)
- Mayim Bialik on Her Jewish Faith Not Being ‘Trendy’ in Hollywood: ‘I’ve Gotten a Lot of Negative Attention for Visiting Israel’ (people.com)