Talking Faith with Melissa Joan Hart
It’s pretty fair to say that people in show business have the acumen to go-with-the-flow. Script changes, scene set-ups and personality disputes are often part of the territory. So when Risen called Melissa Joan Hart for their preset interview in 2016, she graciously kept the appointment in spite of the snow day she was in the midst of with preschoolers at her house. In between her popcorn making and the arrival of her older kids coming home, Hart didn’t miss a beat. She talked with the magazine about her faith journey and how her faith influences her life and career.
Hart shares about her own personal faith journey.
MJH: I always have. I took my [studies] very seriously as a young Catholic. It never really got deeper than the lesson and I didn’t really get the answers I needed. I bought the Pope’s book and never read it, I carried my Bible, I was always a praying person and seeking more, but never really finding it or figuring out how to do it. Once I had kids and became a real church member, I became a Presbyterian, my husband is a Baptist, and I wanted to learn more. I look at each experience I have and try to further my relationship with God. I try to educate myself on the Bible and it’s so funny because I memorize lines for a living, but my Bible study ladies make fun of me because I can never remember a Bible verse. It’s so weird, but I think it’s because the language isn’t really language we use today so it doesn’t stay in my brain – it’s the hardest thing for me.
I’ve been doing CBS [Community Bible Study] for a long time, six years now, and once I had kids and moved to Connecticut, I had time to spend three hours on a Wednesday morning and be more part of a church community. Now I’ve studied, Luke and Deuteronomy, and Romans so I’m really understanding and doing cross-referencing and such. Also being on the set of the film was really amazing, because there were all these apologetics’ professors. I think we did nine days in the courtroom and while we were sitting backstage waiting to shoot different testimonies and other camera angles, we were asking every question we could. I feel like I got a Ph.D. in apologetics all of a sudden.
It was amazing and we talked about everything from the shroud, to gay marriage because that had passed when we were there in the courthouse and there were marriages going on downstairs while we were filming. We covered the division of inter-religion like Judaism and Muslim and where the branches go off in different directions. Things I never learned about, or asked, or even had the guts to ask. I found myself asking every question and trying to remember it all too! It was an incredible experience and I feel like I learned a lot.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Hart opens up about how her faith influences her life and her career.
“Prayer is always a big part of my life and I use it to guide my everyday life and my career. I don’t necessarily choose a role because of my religion, but I do pray on it. I want to make sure it is the right project for me, and my family. Whether it has a Christian message or not isn’t really a part of that. It’s more about me relating with the material and determining if I can do something great with the movie. I think flawed characters are really interesting, I mean somebody has to play Judas in the movie. I think anyone in any career that is a believing Christian uses prayer whether it is regarding a new job, a change in boss, unemployment, or whatever it is.
Allow your faith to influence you. It can be difficult to live our faith out on a daily basis. Sometimes, we face criticism from our peers, co-workers or classmates and sometimes even our closest family and friends. Often, it can be easier to keep our relationship with God confined to Sunday mornings and the occasional Bible study or ministry meet-up. Try to allow your faith to be infused into your daily decisions and activities. Ask God to guide and direct all that you do. Whether it is a simple decision or difficult one, ask God to give you the wisdom and boldness you need to
Allow your faith to influence others. God wants us to share our faith with others. Pray and ask God who He wants you to share your faith with and how He wants you to do it. It might be a one-on-one conversation with a co-worker or teammate. It might be sharing your testimony or faith journey with your small group or a ministry group. Ask God to give you the boldness and words to share. Sometimes it can help to take a class on sharing your faith. Grab a friend or your small group and take the class together. If you are in a situation where others are challenging you to compromise your faith and integrity, stand firm even if it means there might be consequences. Remember that your integrity is more important than pleasing others.
Become a part of a faith community. Whether it is a small group Bible study, ministry or group of friends, find a faith-based community that can challenge you in your relationship with God. From going to worship concerts to praying together when times are tough, this group of people can challenge you to go deeper in your relationship with God. If you are having a hard time finding a group like this, pray and ask God to show you where you can connect with others.
To read our entire interview with Melissa Joan Hart, click here.
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