Do you want to marry Tom Cruise?

Who would your preacher’s wife have chosen for your spouse?  Apparently Tom Cruise had some help before he married Katie Holmes.  The October edition of Vanity Fair reports that before Tom married Katie Holmes, he had seriously dated another woman.  His girlfriend was Nazanin Boniadi, a beautiful Iranian born actress and now-former member of Scientology.  She had been carefully picked by Shelly Miscavige, the wife of the current leader of the Church of Scientology.  Apparently when Tom was married to Nicole Kidman he wasn’t as attentive to the church as they wanted him to be.  When that marriage broke up, the church stepped in.  They wanted Tom back in the fold, and they thought a good Scientologist wife would help accomplish that.  Enter Nazanin Boniadi, a perfect option according to Shelly Miscavige.  Nazanin even lived with Tom for awhile.  (Can you imagine your preacher’s wife suggesting THAT???)  When Tom and Nazanin broke up, she reportedly did a little talking about her “ex.”  Unfortunately, that was a big mistake and supposedly she had to pay for her “sin” by cleaning toilets with toothbrushes and digging holes in the ground outside.  Nazanin Boniadi is no longer a member of the Church of Scientology.  No surprise there.  We had church members drop out when we changed the color of the pew cushions or the Sunday School hour!  They only thought they had been “persecuted.”  The church of Scientology is by definition, a cult.  How do people like Tom Cruise, Greta Van Susteren, Priscilla Presley and John Travolta find their way into a cult?  What, besides marriage screening, does the church offer, that these famous people find so attractive?

The church of Scientology centers its belief system around the idea that “thetan” is the life force or true identity of a person.  Thetan is completely good, omniscient and unlimited in creativity.  Thetans are reincarnated and found in people like Cruise and Travolta.  Both of these stars have been complimented for their kindness and their creativity by the media.  It is quite possible these stars believe they are who they are, because of Thetan.  There is a lot more to their beliefs than I could put into this post.  You can google the word Scientology and read as much as you would choose to.  The sad truth is, this church would easily appeal to those who want to be great actors and great people with great minds.  The church promises Thetan can make them all of the above.  I guess that Tom Cruise was able to believe that Thetan could give his preacher’s wife the ability to choose an appropriate wife for him.  But do you see why some people can think that all religions are the same?  Why should they feel differently about our religion than what Tom Cruise and other Scientologists believe?

Cults like Scientology offer the possibility that a human being can be like a god.  Does that offer sound familiar?  It dates back to the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:4-5: “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” It has always been true that people would rather “be” a god than serve the One who is God.  Cults offer greatness and Christianity calls for humility.  How then will Christianity survive a culture of better offers?  Our faith will survive in the future the same way it has survived since the beginning of time.  It is truth.  God is real and his grace is sufficient. 

I often teach that our Christian message is not the most attractive.  We don’t have as much to offer people who want to become gods on this earth.  Most of our rewards are not promised for this world, they are for heaven.  What do Christians have to offer?  Truth – and the love of God.  And we can offer them the chance to be adopted into the family of God.  Cultures come and go.  Other religions have come and gone.  But God’s truth has endured since the beginning of time and it will endure to the end.  Tom Cruise does not need a new wife – he needs someone to lead him to a new religion.  This preacher’s wife could choose some great people for that job!

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