Faith in Hollywood with James Kyson Lee of Heroes
Best known for his role as Ando on the hit television show, Heroes, James Kyson Lee never thought that he would end up being an actor. When he was growing up in New York City, no one knew any actors. But Kyson Lee got his big break when he read for Heroes and is currently working on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, NCIS:LA, the new sitcom School of Rock on Nickelodeon, Fox’s hit series Sleepy Hollow and recurring on the FX drama Justified. Kyson Lee shared with us five years ago how he made his faith his own and how he got connected with others at church who helped him in his faith.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4
Kyson Lee opened up about how he went from being raised in the church to making his faith his own.
“We have an uncle who is a minister in the family, so it [church] was around when we were young. But you know how it’s like the family thing, you go to church together, but I think at some point my parents were like, ‘Why doesn’t everyone do their own thing and pursue it [faith] if it’s in your liking.’ Not because you have to do it. So that kind of happened and then when I was in college at Boston University there was a campus fellowship, InterVarsity, and I ended up meeting some people there and some of the leaders became influential in my life. I was in college and a little bit older and was learning what it means to serve and be connected to a greater purpose. So I feel like my college years were an introduction into that. Up until then I was just a boy trying to grow up.”
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. Psalm 19:4-6
Kyson Lee reflected on how he met lots of people in Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until he went on a retreat with Mosaic Church that he met like-minded artists and believers.
“It took me several years to really find that and establish that. I play on an ultimate Frisbee team and while I was playing I met some people from Mosaic, which is a church that is sort of an artist oriented, creative energy fostering place. And that led me to going to one of their artist retreats. They hold it once a year at Terra Nova. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It was like 200 artists, sculptors, painters, fashion designers, and songwriters and we went away for the weekend. They set up all these different workshops so you could try different things you’ve never experienced before…and then you got to join a family group of something that you were interested in. I joined a spoken word group, just because I wanted to try it. This was four years ago, right before Heroes started, and out of Mosaic, came this improv group called Monkey Butler and I’ve now been a part of that of the past couple years. We get together once a week and we play/rehearse for a couple of hours and then afterwards people stay and we pray for each other. People share what’s going on from praises to prayer requests. And then out of that whole kind of circle, organically came this Bible study that meets at my place once a week. It’s been good, we’ve been going through the book of Acts and it’s been really awesome.”
Feeling artistic? Ask your church to host an artist or creative evening. Invite spoken word, musicians, photographers, artists and other creative to be a part of the evening. Consider asking a well-known artist who is a believer to share their faith journey and how they incorporate their faith into their work. Give people the freedom to create. Ask people to donate items for others to use for their works. Create a space where anyone from any background would feel welcome to join the group. From that start a small group with people who are interested in studying the Bible and praying with one another.
Experience art. Even if you are not a professional artist, each of us can appreciate art. Take time this week to enjoy music, walk through a museum or look at photography. There are lots of ways to experience art. As you do so, ask God to reveal Himself to you through it. Read through the Psalms and reflect on how David worshipped God through music and dance. Whether it is prayer, song, dance or art, take time to praise God through a small expression of art that you don’t normally do.
Worship God. We are surrounded by living art through nature. Take time this week to slow down and enjoy the beauty of creation around you. Go for a walk, look up at the stars, do your quiet time at the beach or in a field. As you spend time in nature, look for all of the ways God reveals Himself through His creation. Look at the details of the flowers and animals. Reflect on Psalm 19 and what it means to you.
To read our entire interview with James Kyson Lee click here.