September 2, 2010

Dear Alec

It's time for another assignment from Mama Kat. This time I chose the prompt, "write an open letter to a celebrity." My letter is to my secret celebrity crush. But, shhhhh, don't tell anybody who it is.

Dear Alec,

I realize this is probably not your wildest fantasy, to have a Christian woman who is about your age and who lives in a red state tell you she has a secret celebrity crush on you. Would it help if I told you I'm a purple voter who lives in a red state? Really, it's more of a periwinkle. (That's the closest I could find to periwinkle in Blogger's limited color palette.) And I have never voted for the guy who refuses to even entertain the possibility of climate change. Oh wait, there was that one time, but it was only once. Surely you can understand a person making a bad decision in a weak moment.

I wish I could tell you when I realized I had a crush on you. It wasn't when you were young. You were plenty attractive when you were young, but to tell you the truth, I thought you were kind of shallow. And cocky. Really cocky.

But life has a way of taking that know-it-all attitude out of all of us. Life, and the mistakes we make. And of course, you made a whopper. Isn't it funny how Mel Gibson can make a mistake that's just as appalling and we say, "there but for the grace of God"?  (Believe me, we're super miffed, but it's awfully hard to let Mel have it after that Jesus movie.)

You messed up - admittedly in a big way - and we jumped all over you. You may have noticed, we don't have much patience for non-Bible thumpers. We're okay with extending grace to our own kind, but gee, we have a hard time extending that same grace to people outside the club. Maybe that's why you look at us with such disdain. We deserve it.

I felt bad for you when I heard it. I can imagine the frustration you felt. The way you dealt with your frustration was unacceptable, but you know that. After all, you're brighter than average. You wouldn't be my secret celebrity crush if you weren't smart.

I think it was when my heart sank at the diatribe on the tape that I began to see you differently. You weren't cocky anymore. You were powerless and you knew it. As I heard the tape for the first time, I began to pray for healing in your relationship with your daughter. I began to pray for Ireland's healing from those stinging words that I'm sure you would have taken back if you could. I began to pray that one day, she would forgive you and you could begin to form a healthy father/daughter relationship.

There's something I've learned over time. I find I am less judgmental when I ask God to let me see those I'm inclined to judge through his eyes. Sometimes it takes years, but little by little, God shows me the hurts they carry around, the things that have made them who they are. He does something else, too. He shows me their good qualities, the things that make other people love them. But there's a trick to it. I have to pray for the person in order to see what God wants me to see. If I continue to condemn them without praying for them, I never get to see any of the things that God loves about them.

So maybe it was because I prayed for you and Ireland, but I soon began to notice that you're pretty darn funny. Were you always that funny? Maybe you were, but it was sure hard to see any sign of humor with all that anger that seemed to rear its ugly head at the slightest provocation. Oh yeah. The funny side of you is much better.

Gosh, you're quick on your feet. Some actors are lost without a script, but not you. You're hysterical in interviews. That twinkle in your eyes always give the impression that you have a secret joke that you're dying to tell the rest of us, but you've decided to keep it to yourself for now.

It seems to have been a bit of a jolt to you when Stephen took the evangelical turn. I gather you have kept religion at arm's length, so his conversion must seem a little extreme to you. But you have to understand why he's so enthused. It's hard not to be enthused when you realize that from the beginning of time, God had a plan for you. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, God knew you'd be a hoot on Letterman. When Noah was looking for dry land, God was planning to send a Savior who would bear the sins of the world, even the sins of a man who would one day unload all his own hurts on his daughter's voice mail. That's an overwhelming thought, isn't it? God was thinking of you long before there was a you. And he loved you then, as he loves you now.

You seem kind of fascinated by Stephen's faith, and yet I get the feeling it makes you a little uncomfortable. Do you fear what would happen if you followed the same path? Do you wonder if Alec would disappear entirely? Well, yeah, parts of you would fade away, but it would be the parts that hold you  back, the parts that keep you from being everything that God created you to be. Don't worry, the funny guy who is quick on his feet would still be around. And you would still be committed to many of the causes that are dear to you now. Some of your attitudes and priorities would change, but you would still be Alec, with more of the good and less of the bad. You wouldn't be Stephen on steroids, and you wouldn't turn into a Tea Partier. You could be a social justice Christian who drives you-know-who crazy. You would enjoy that immensely.

You've seen that Christ's followers often fail to be shining examples of who he is. Sometimes we forget that love is supposed to be our identifying trait and we replace that love with indignation. We call it righteous indignation but usually it's more of a self-centered indignation. We're supposed to be lights shining in the darkness, but sometimes we block the light, and that keeps people from seeing Jesus in us. That's just us messing up. But his grace is sufficient, and he reminds us that other Christians are not our role models. Christ alone sets the bar for our behavior, and he sets it high, but he also enables us to meet the challenge when we're willing to listen.

Once in awhile, when I'm laughing at Jack on 30 Rock or when I see you in an interview, I remember the prayer I prayed for you and Ireland when I first heard that tape. And I pray for both of you again. I pray that God will heal your hurts. I pray that he will give you a loving, healthy relationship with one another. I pray that he'll help you both to forget the bad stuff.

And I pray that you will make a new start with Christ, and when you do, that the light shining in you will be impossible to miss. That would be something to see.

Your secret admirer,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. for God did not end his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17


  1. I think folks found it hard to forgive because we all have said things to our kids we wouldn't have wanted to be recorded...and this public airing hit just a little too close to home.

    And when dealing with an ex and custody, you ARE allowed one outburst without penalty, because the entire divorce/custody/visitation ordeal is crazy-making.

  2. Ah... forgiveness... hardest thing for us eh? And I agree with June above... "one outburst w/o penalty"... I've been through that... SUCKS! And dude... I heart me some Alec and 30 Rock!

  3. Single&Sane, what a beautiful letter! Funny, honest - and wow, what you said? Could be directed to anyone. I like Alec Baldwin,too - and was sooooooo saddened when I heard his message to his daughter - all that anger directed to the wife, really - Great job!

  4. It's amazing how easy it is to judge others. And when you are a celebrity, it does seem you are "fair game" to the rest of us. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks-

  5. There is something about Alex isn't there? I like him more now than when he was younger as well. You're right, he seemed too cocky back then.

  6. I agree that it was the divorce process that was behind the words and I absolutely think that parent alienation was part of what made him feel so powerless. I know a lawyer who quit handling divorces years ago - not because he was judging people for divorcing - but because he felt that the legal part was all about keeping the couple stirred up and angry with one another and he just couldn't reconcile being a part of that with his faith. It's designed to bring out the worst in people.

  7. For what its worth, Alec is my favorite Baldwin.

    I agree that in his younger days Alec came off as cocky. It was hard to laugh with someone who seemed to take himself too seriously. I think the best humor cames with humility and it seems that that is something Alec has found.

    Great letter both to Alec and to use. Its so easy to judge people we don't really know anything about. Thanks for reminder that we all have said something (at least once) that we would never want to be recorded.

  8. I must be totally out of it here...cause I never heard that letter or anything else about him but I like Alec Baldwin and even though he is a celebrity, he's human. We all make mistakes and say things we wish we hadn't only most people's arn't publicly known. It is so easy to judge other people but we really just need to look at ourselves. It seems to me that many times when we judge another it is because there is something we may see in them that we don't like in ourselves (not always of course) Ok I'm rambling :)
    Great letter!
    Stoppin' by from mama kat's :)

  9. That was a very honest letter. I'm so glad to hear a red, or even "purple" voter admit that sometimes, some conservatives are wrong in their actions. I hope he reads this.

  10. i don't know how he could resist you?
    after i heard about the tape, i felt the
    exact same as you! after "complicated"
    i was smitten with his older, chubby,
    unself-conciousness. :0
    great post!!!!!

  11. I am sure glad cameras and tape recorders aren't capturing my every move! I, too, hope that Alec and Ireland can get past that conversation and see each other on a more respectful (WAY more respectful) plane.

  12. I think we're all lucky not to have to worry that all of our words and actions could be recorded and made public. What an awful way to have to live. Yikes.

    Now Lea, don't be calling my heartthrob chubby! ;-) I loved him in "It's Complicated" but he really had me at "Will & Grace".

    And you and Katy both hit it on the head - he has humility now, and he's lost his self-consciousness to the point that he really can laugh at himself. Boy, that's a lesson for us all, isn't it?

  13. What an interesting assignment you had to write Margaret. Beautifully done! You tackled it with tremendous insight.

  14. Wow lady you know how to write eloquently don't you? I've really enjoyed this beautifully crafted post. Thank you.

  15. Wow .. what a serious thoughtful celebrity letter!! I think he is hilarious on 30 Rock, and I think he has aged pretty well. It is weird to see old photos of him though ... he has changed quite a bit.

  16. Margaret, you are a wonderful writer. I hope Alec Baldwin sees your post. I felt very sorry for him when he had that awful kerfuffle with his daughter. You could hear the frustration in his voice and his unfortunate words. I think he has had a lot to deal with. I understand his ex-wife, Kim Basinger, was driving him completely insane. She has serious mental issues herself. So, yes, it's not for us to judge... I love Alec Baldwin too.

    "You've seen that Christ's followers often fail to be shining examples of who he is." That is a brilliant observation. I have found that to be the case more often than not. I work with someone who goes to church every Sunday, and the other six days of the weeks she bears false witness against her co-workers. She does not set a good example. I should get her to read your post...! :-)

  17. ...WOW...I wish I knew how to pate & copy...I would send this to myself & put it up ...not because I share your affection for Alec...funny as he is.....but because I often need to be reminded of the reason God loves us & why we need to show that love continually to others.
    p.s. please forgive my punctuation & spelling...I have adult children & we text!
    p.p.s. delightful blog!