MTV’s Generation Award goes to the the comical theologian, Chris Pratt!


(Click on Image to view CNN Article of his full speech)

Where to start, the lighthearted or the deeper things of life? He does both. Of course mixed in with lines of comedy, which comedians and actors do all the time. They mix their message with humor, and Chris Pratt nails it. You can read the funny points in the article from from CNN by clicking the image above.

#2 “You have a soul. Be careful with it.”

In his “nine important tips for young people to remember.\,” his second point is the lighthearted and theologically sound point.

Here in lies your deepest importance in life which is that you have an existence beyond yourself. You or are more than just a body, you are a person with a spirit, an essence that makes you more than human. “Be careful with it.” This could be so many things, guard it, protect it, understand it, where does it come from, what are you to do with it, what happens to it if it exists beyond our body? These questions are rooted in a lot of religious beliefs, but for the Christian it is fundamental to recognize we have a Soul and there is a purpose for it. We could argue if there is a difference between our heart and soul, I think we are two parts, body and soul and therefore when we read of the heart, the soul is implied. To Pratt’s point, being careful with your soul would also mean your heart because it impacts everything you do.

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version (NIV)
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.”

#3 “Don’t be a turd.”

I don’t know about you, but if Chris Pratt tells me not to be a turd, I certainly don’t want to be one.  He defines one as someone who uses their weapons of influence and strength to “wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully.”

Everyone has the ability to lead, either by strength or by influence, therefore everybody has the ability to impact someone around them.  Evil people prey on the weak but good people protect and are humble toward those who are weak.  This plays out in all avenues of life but keep in mind his audience is “young people.” Bullying is rampant in school from Pre-K on up to 12th grade and I see it every school day.  I tell my students, you have a choice of how you want to be perceived by others around you.  If you have a bad reputation than change it.  If you have a good reputation make sure you have integrity.  If we all looked out for each other we would have no need to look out for ourselves.
Isaiah 61:1b New International Version (NIV)
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”

Jesus quotes this in the Gospels about himself.  God is for the weak and against the bully.

#5 “It doesn’t matter what it is. Earn it. A good deed. Reach out to someone in pain. Be of service. It feels good and it’s good for your soul.”

Five points in one, a five-for-one deal.  Work hard, do good, reach out, serve and it with nourish your soul.

Point A: Work hard which is found all throughout the Bible and here it is to the laborer. The one who is given a job, work at it, earn it.

Colossians 3:23 New International Version (NIV)
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”

Point B, C, D and E in one verse Hebrews 13:16: Do good and share with others. This as seen as a sacrifice that is pleasing to God. A sacrifice is also an act of service. If God is pleased then you will be pleased. When the creator is pleased then the created will share it that same blessing.

Hebrews 13:16 New International Version (NIV)
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

#6: “God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do.”

His strongest point by far and to the point. I’m not sure why he did not specifically use the name Jesus in any of his theological points, but I’ll take this one to the bank. Before you can understand anything about life, you have to accept that God is real as the author of Hebrews explains.

Hebrews 11:6 New International Version (NIV)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

He exists and he loves you and this primary function is through Christ. As Paul says to the church in Rome.

Romans 5:8 New International Version (NIV)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

He wants what is best for you? Of course, he will not force or coerce you, you have to bring your faith, your belief that God is real first.

Psalm 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Pratt makes it evidently clear that he believes, or has faith in God’s love and as Christians we can connect the dots for others that his love is directly tied to Jesus. In a culture of people who judge Christians, and a lot of well intended people in their speeches say, “I would like to thank Jesus,” but don’t really seem to make it sincere. A few years back, everyone thanked Jesus as if it was a running gag among all the award recipients. Pratt makes sure to leave his well intended speech to be spoken about by bloggers, preachers and teachers to make this connection to Jesus.

#8 “Learn to pray. It’s easy, and it is so good for your soul.”

Notice how he doesn’t say meditate, or have positive vibes, he says prayer. To go along with his earlier point, praying to the God you have to believe exists. Talking to him, recognizing him, inviting him into your every day life. It is good for your soul that God created. Our prayers are only accomplished because of Christ’s work on the Cross by the power of the Holy Spirit. Learn to pray, it takes practice, it takes being taught, it invites people to ask someone else to show you the way. Always point them back to scripture. For the best way to pray we would have to defer to Jesus, who himself said pray to God the Father. You have to believe in God the Father to pray to him.

Matthew 6:9-13 New International Version (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

#9 Ending his speech with a bang is the resounding statement that, “Nobody is perfect.”

I will push back a little here with the word choice where he says, “there is a powerful force that designed you that way.” Maybe what he meant to say is that God has accounted for our imperfection, but as far as scripture is concerned he originally created us good, and we made ourselves imperfect by sinning. However I digress, his point is to the culture we live in. Our culture says you are perfect the way you are, as if to try and fix the brokenness that is so evident. When we try and fix our hurt and brokenness on our own, apart from the God who made us, we get an empty philosophy. Simply trying to tell yourself you are perfect doesn’t fix your brokenness or the fact that you are “imperfect” as Pratt points out. This is the strongest message that we should take away from this speech that is directly aimed at being counter cultural. Here is why he is right on several levels.

First, If everyone thinks they are perfect, then everyone is right and no one needs to change anything. This has lead to a great divide in our society where everyone thinks they are right. Believing you are perfect brings pride and arrogance.

Second, the bible makes it very clear that we are imperfect and are in desperate need of saving. This is where he was trying to land the plane, on the necessity of grace. If you can accept that God exists, you are broken and in need of grace then you will find God’s love for you at the cross.

Did he need to spell it out in the clear words that I just did? No, everyone would have rejected it the moment it came out of his lips. It takes Pratt’s brothers and sisters in Christ to interpret his message so that people can understand it fully. It’s the reason Jesus spoke in parables, to make people think and truly decide what they believe about life, our soul, our state of existence and where we go from here.

I will leave you with this, the culmination of Pratt’s message is found in many places, one of my favorites is in this passage.

Romans 10:9-10 New International Version
“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

In Truth & Love,
Matthew Diaz

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