Friends star Matthew Perry’s memorable performances, sharp wit and outstanding contributions to the entertainment world have left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans worldwide. His untimely passing at just 54 years of age is a profound loss to the industry.
While there is widespread sadness around the world, there is also reason to celebrate the lasting legacy he leaves behind, reminding us of the laughter and joy that Matthew brought to so many through his unforgettable portrayal of Chandler Bing.
The Dangers of Celebrity Culture
David Robertson is a Scottish Presbyterian minister currently working in Australia with Sydney churches as an evangelist, having been the minister of St Peters Free Church in Dundee Scotland for 27 years. He is also a religious and social commentator, who runs the popular Wee Flea blog site.
David Robertson recently joined us on 20Twenty to share his insights on celebrity culture, and the changing nature of political correctness. He also cautions Christians to be wary regarding celebrities and the misconception that spiritual beliefs equate to being a Christian.
Like most people, David has watched Friends, and he says the show has been very much a part of every day life due to its enduring popularity. ‘The sad thing for me,’ says David, ‘is that the character Matthew played on Friends actually reflected his own character. He was someone who had deep personal pain but tried to cope with things by making everything into a joke.’
Encounters with God
In his recently released autobiography, Matthew Perry alluded to an encounter with God, and his own spiritually and faith. ‘I think he certainly had some spiritual experiences,’ says David. ‘He talks about an experience in his kitchen where he sensed the presence of God. But then he went on to live a life that just completely denied that.’
David believes we have to be cautious when people claim to have an encounter with God. The experience has to have some kind of context. ‘I think Matthew almost saw God as a kind of drug. And I think Christians have to be particularly careful when someone uses the word God. What does that mean? I don’t think for Matthew Perry, it meant the God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ.’
In his book, Matthew writes, I’ve seen God in my kitchen of all places, so I know there’s something bigger than me. ‘Matthew Perry’s God is, I think, a vague spiritual force that makes him feel good,’ says David. ‘Sometimes it was just a sense of something bigger, something better. My hope and prayer is that he met somebody who told him about Christ, who told him who that somebody was.’
We Need The Light of Christ
In today’s culture, many are guilty of a type of spirituality that perceives God as something created in their own image. But this is not what God revealed Himself to be. ‘I think we do create God’s in our own image,’ says David. ‘And some people would say, well, that’s all religion is anyway. But that is not the case.’
Christians know that Jesus came down to reveal God to us, and sometimes the God who Jesus reveals isn’t the God of our imagination. ‘There is some evidence that Matthew had a sense of a genuine awareness of there being a God. And I do hope that someone, somewhere was able to connect with him and tell him who Jesus is.’
‘Because everything he was longing for would have been in Christ.’
Listen to David’s full interview on 20Twenty below: