My Little Secret Revealed: Part 1
Image by Shavar Ross
1997. The Hard Rock Cafe’. Hollywood. My son’s 4th birthday party. Lol, only in Hollywood will a 4 year old have a birthday party at the Hard Rock Cafe’. You probably already know who had more fun! Don’t worry, Chuck E. Cheese came the next year. To the left of me is my wife Jacqueline. On the right of me is a guy I ran into named Rodney Allen Rippey. When I first came to town he was already a kid tv star and veteran in the business! Back in the day, Rodney was "tha man"! He’s famous for those old Jack In The Box commercials. Hmmm…I wonder if he still gets free food from them. Really nice guy.
Behind me is Sean, Tyler’s dad! Y’all remember Tyler, right? Out of all my photos on Flickr, Tyler’s is my second most viewed. Ah, but this is my favorite one I took of her. Kids…they just grow up too fast!
Anyway, many of you don’t know this about me but this was somethin’ I used to do on the side, lol…
In 1992, instead of going to USC’s film school, I attended bible college instead. Many of my peers thought I was crazy for practically leaving the acting business and dedicating 8 years of my life to the ministry.
I finally completed 4 years of biblical studies at The Ministry Training Institute, an auxiliary of one of the largest churches in Los Angeles. After graduating, I founded The Alive Church, a non-denominational church in Hollywood in which I pastored for 4 years.
I taught and preached the bible to my congregation every single Sunday for 207 "straight" weeks (4 years) until I literally got sick from exhaustion and could not go on. I tried so hard to impress the overseers of my "home church" but my little church never seemed to grow "big" enough for them…so, after realizing and finding out that the "business" of the organized church was very political, I opted out. In many ways, the "church world" was worse than the very place I deserted 8 years before; Hollywood.
All in all, I have not one regret about the choices I’ve made! It was one of the most exciting times of my life! I still believe in the local church very much so today so you church goin’ folks stay, don’t leave. However, know that the "real" church is inside you.
Finally, if there was any church cooler, it was The Alive Church! It was the place where I learned to write and direct. Lot’s of cool, contemporary plays…with really great actors! Except for Rodney, these were some of my first church members.
The exciting part is, now, thanks to Podcasting technology and iTunes, I now get to bust out tons of my old preachin’ tapes and upload them to my new podcast feed! Maybe I’ll start speakin’ again, I don’t know. Encouraging and speaking positive things to people gave me strength to live.