Dennis Quaid & The Way to Heaven
Recently, I wrote an article about Chris Pratt's confession of faith and adoration of Jesus, "Chris Pratt & Defining Our Terms." If you're not familiar with Pratt, he's acted in Parks and Recreation, the Guardians of the Galaxies films, and The Jurassic World movies. He's gifted and hilarious! I'm hopeful God is using him in the film industry.
This afternoon my mother sent me a link about another actor in Hollywood with faith commitments. I had to look closer.
The link lead me to a music video of Dennis Quaid singing a moving and beautiful song, "On My Way to Heaven."
In a film behind the song, he explains he had been working on it for a number of years, but couldn't quite finish it until...he took the role of Arthur in the Erwin Brother's film, I Can Only Imagine (2018).
The Erwin Brothers are Christian filmmakers who have catapulted to notoriety due to the success of "I Can Only Imagine," based on the story of Bart Millard and the song "I Can Only Imagine." Watch the trailer here.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR MOVIE AHEAD
Dennis Quaid, who plays Bart's father, is a prolific actor, having actually starred as a father in many of his films such as The Parent Trap (1998), Frequency (2000), The Rookie (2002), and In Good Company (2004). But this role was far different than the other fathers he has played. Arthur is a cruel and abusive drunk who takes out his hurt on his son, Bart. Arthur eventually meets God and finds redemption.
Quaid, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, said that he was raised Baptist, baptized, but explores other religions too. He went on a trip around the world, led by a Baptist minister, and further explored other religions. His conclusion after speaking with many people of different faith perspectives was the following:
What I find is that we're all human beings and that it's all very similar, what we believe. At the bottom, there's really not that much difference between Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists. We all worship God.
As you can only imagine (ok, terrible choice of words), I think Quaid is mistaken. No, the differences are significant and ultimately eternal. I'm not denying overlap between religions (See C.S. Lewis' concept of The Tao in The Abolition of Man), but Scripture is clear: Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6).
But, as said earlier, during the time of filming I Can Only Imagine, the missing sections of "On My Way to Heaven" came to Quaid. And from what I pick up...so did a renewed desire for a spiritual life. It's not hard for me to believe this, if working on the film set is anything like the finished production of I Can Only Imagine.
The movie is God-centered. And while the movie isn't perfect it is the highest quality Christian film I've seen, and more importantly, it is effective. The musical sequences are rousing and the scenes between Bart and his father are gut-wrenching. No cheese here, my friends. The Erwin Brothers have crafted a fine film, brought in lots of money, and have set a new standard for Christian films. I recommend you all see it and support the cause for gospel-centered storytelling.
In conclusion, I don't know where Quaid's faith is right now (hopefully rooted in Scripture), or whether he still holds that Jesus is basically one among greats. But I do know one pretty important difference between Jesus and other gurus: Jesus is not, nor ever will be, six feet deep.
And so I pray the risen and eternal Savior shows the same grace to Quaid as he did to you and me and Bart Millard's father...for the glory of Christ and Quaid's joy.