We were so excited when we found out that we were going to be included on a conference call with Kirk Cameron.
I have to confess (Jenni speaking) that I was a HUGE fan back in the 80s when he played Mike Seaver on the TV sitcom Growing Pains. Like most girls my age, I adored his impish character and swooned over his fetching smile, but now, more than 20 years later, I am much more impressed with the man Kirk Cameron has become.
The polar opposite of on-screen ladies’ man Mike Seaver, Kirk Cameron has matured into a devoted husband and father and an outspoken Christian leader, who has devoted much of his adult career to speaking, teaching and making films that spread the gospel message.
He has a new movie coming out on November 14th, and we had the opportunity to hear his take on Christmas, child-rearing, homeschooling and of course, the new movie.
This weekend we will be previewing Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, and we will write a full review for you early in the week. The film hits theaters on November 14th, and although it will be available on the big screen for two weeks, opening weekend is CRITICAL! “It sets the trajectory for the movie’s success,” Kirk told us.
Every time we head out to see a faith-based film during opening weekend, we send Hollywood a message. And with the success of Christian themed movies in recent years, the film industry is taking note.
It started with the runaway success of The Passion in 2004, which made more than $611 million in total (it was made on a $30 million budget). Then in 2008, Fireproof took the industry by surprise when the grassroots film, which cost just $500,000 to make (raised by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia) grossed more than $33 million at the box office.
This year, God’s Not Dead ranked the the 3rd highest per-screen attendance nationwide in it’s second week, beating out the popular Divergent film. Later this year, Heaven is For Real came in second place on opening weekend, surpassed only by Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Early next week, we will share our thoughts on Saving Christmas. If it sounds like something your family might enjoy, please make a plan to see it the weekend of November 14th. Let’s stun Hollywood once again.
After listening to what Kirk had to say about the film, we can’t wait to watch it this weekend. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy reading what he had to say as much as we enjoyed hearing it!
Kirk’s Take On Christmas
“I love Christmas,” he said. “I love everything about it.”
He sounded like a kid again as he described all the festive details that make the Christmas season so enjoyable — the fire, the baking, the decorations, the music — he loves all of it. “If I could have Bing Crosby’s pipe smoke smell wafting through the air, I would love it.”
But aren’t these all pagan traditions? Shouldn’t Christians steer clear of all the commercialism? Isn’t it all just idolatry? Was Jesus even born in December?
That’s actually what the movie is all about (more on that below). But Kirk said that he believes Jesus can be found in all of the traditional Christmas trappings.
“It’s about putting Christ front and center in the midst of all the stuff surrounding Christmas,” he said.
Kirk said he had no idea about the faith side of Christmas growing up. At age 17, while still working on Growing Pains, Kirk, who had been an atheist raised in a completely non-religious home, was invited to church by a friend. The experience left him with questions that eventually brought him to a personal encounter with the Living God. At 18, he gave his life to Christ, and he has been a passionate follower ever since.
“Christmas is an opportunity to be with the people you love and to tell them that you love them,” Kirk said. It’s a time of gratitude. “The best gift we get every year is we get our kids again, and I get my wife again.” And it’s about “being thankful for the One who is love.”
Kirk said his wife is a wonderful cook, but noted that “California is the land of fruits and nuts,” so she tries to keep it healthy. He also loves to cook on the holidays but says (with a chuckle), “My cooking adds more sugar and grease.”
According to Kirk, the Camerons are quite the foodies. They love to watch the Food Network and have cooking competitions with their kids and their kids’ friends. They even give out awards for things such as the most unique, the most beautifully presented, and so on.
One question asked during the conference call was how Kirk and his wife handle Santa. He said that in his family, they learn whom Santa really was. He recommended the book There Really is a Santa Claus by historian Bill Federer.
“Santa was this incredible, devout, Christian man imprisoned for his faith,” Kirk said. Saint Nicholas (Sinter Klaas) was a bishop in Asia Minor, who “decked a heretic at the Council of Nicea.” He is credited with having started the tradition of secret gift-giving in stockings.
Federer’s book gives an historical account of Saint Nicholas life, and traces the story forward through the folkloric additions that have brought us to the jolly man-in-red that we see today.
About the Movie
It’s called Saving Christmas: Put Christ Back in Christmas, and it opens in theaters nationwide on November 14th. To find out where it’s playing near you go to savingchristmas.com/theaters.
In the film, Kirk’s character is celebrating Christmas at his sister’s house. She’s hosting a big party, and everyone is having a great time, except his brother-in-law, who is out in his car, sulking. He wants to do away with all the festivities and decorations and make it more about Jesus.
According to Cameron, the film is a fun and inspiring illustration that “EVERYTHING is part of the joy of Christmas.”
On the Saving Christmas website, Kirk says, “More Christ equals more joy. More Christ equals more peace. More Christ equals more life. Jesus came and died for all so that all might live. Talk about the ultimate gift!”
Kirk’s wife says the movie shows us how to download the gospel into all aspects of our Christmas celebration.
That’s really the goal. Kirk wants people to head to the theaters on November 14th and be filled with joy and as they “see and hear the gospel 50-feet wide and 30-feet tall.”
Check out the trailer.
Attacks on the Film
Shortly after launching the website for the movie, savingchristmas.com was hacked by the Turkish Islamic group Ayyildiz Tim International Force, a hacker group described as anti-Christian, anti-Israel and anti-American, who has been responsible for attacks on Israel’s Iron Dome, the United Nations, and other organizations.
The hacker replaced the movie trailer with a poster of an ancient figure, believed to be Saladin, the Muslim sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Palestine who fought against Christian Crusaders in the 12th century.
According to a translator working with the “Saving Christmas” production team, the poster said, “The Turkish spirit will shine again, and the use of weapons will emerge in the nation’s history as this hero will shine again.”
Although this attack was a surprise, perhaps more concerning is the hostility from within the Christian community. It breaks our hearts to see how un-Christlike Christians can be to one another.
Jesus said that the world would know us because of our love for one another. A look at the Saving Christmas Facebook Page tells a different story. We were deeply saddened by the things posted by fellow believers. Here’s just a small sampling of what we mean.
“Honey, when they get Jesus birthday on the right DATE, I’ll be right on keeping him in the season…. Christmas is a pagan holiday…. sadly I was confused for years myself.. not now. Jesus was born more near the season of Spring.. March to the point…. The Jewish Nissan 1 is in March… that’s my thought on it. Satan has to mimic everything God does… so why not taken a pagan event day and make it so everyone participates; under disguise or not… It’s NOT HIS DAY…”
“That is such a big lie for Christ to be in christmas. Christ was not born on christmas and had nothing to do with christmas so why should we keep Christ in christmas? Christmas is just a holiday for people to spend all of their earnings and go broke and into debt and behind in their bills just to make someone else rich. KEEP YOUR CHRISTMAS!!!!”
“I gotta give it to you Kirk, you’re one heck of a businessman. Why, even as you’ve slipped into obscurity, you’ve found an audience so superstitious, so easily manipulated, so ready to believe anything being fed to them via their comfortable little echo chamber, that they’ll gladly fork over plenty of money to support your second-rate acting skills and delusions of grandeur. Bravo Mr. Cameron!”
“Both the pilgrims and puritan made Christmas illegal in our country. It wasn’t until the turn of the last century, when America was flooded with immigrants who aimed at keeping the pagan custom, that both christmas and Easter became mainstream. These are not holidays that “we’ve always done” or that people should be defending. Pilgrims and puritans agreed that the pagan practices, and the acceptance of them by the Catholic church, were both sacrilegious and dangerous customs.”
“Sorry, Christ is not the true mean of Christmas. Again it is a pagan holiday. And if anyone knows God word it says not to follow these pagan traditions. Christmas is magical and glitzy. And a worship of idolatry. God considers it an abomination. I pray you for your eyes to see into the mysteries of Gods word, and that you might enter into the secret of His heart. And the truth be revealed in Jesus name.”
We choose to believe that the intentions of these believers is ultimately to honor God, but the Bible tells us that when we correct a brother in Christ, we are to do so gently, with meekness, or we will be tempted to sin. (Gal 6:1). It’s one thing to be attacked by a militant Islamic group who is overtly anti-Christian, but being attacked from within only weakens us as the body of Christ.
Support for the Movie
In spite of the criticisms, there are many who openly support the film and it’s message.
Newly announced Republican 2016 Presidential Candidate, Dr. Ben Carson said, “Saving Christmas is a wonderful defense of Christmas traditions and is quite educational. Candy and I also enjoyed some good laughs. I pray that God will use it to His glory.”
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson said, “Kirk Cameron Saving Christmas’ is a new movie that’s coming out. If you really want some insight into what Christmas is all about, check it out.” He added, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, don’t miss it; it could change the way you think,”
And from the Dove Foundation, a non-profit organization that issues film reviews, ratings and endorsements of movies that it considers suitable for family audiences: “SAVING CHRISTMAS is the perfect movie for the Christmas season! If you know any old Scrooges or someone who has ‘Bah, humbug!’ on their lips, they need to see this movie. But it is just as much for those who love to celebrate Christmas because it affirms the faith and joy that people demonstrate during the holiday season. … We are presenting five Doves to SAVING CHRISTMAS. Kirk Cameron has produced another winner!”
Kirk on Family and Parenting
Kirk met his wife Chelsea Noble on the set of Growing Pains. She played his on-screen girlfriend Kate MacDonald. “I stole Mike Seaver’s girlfriend!” Kirk said. The two married on July 21, 1991.
Together they have six children, four of whom are adopted and two are biological. During the call, someone asked how he manages one-on-one time with each kid. He said, “I think we throw ourselves into a guilt trip” over trying to devote enough individual time to each child. “As we go through our life, it’s going to be busy, and the one-on-one time is not going to be copious.”
Instead, he tries to find ways spend time with his kids in the midst of life, while they are keeping house, doing dishes together and working together. He pointed to Deuteronomy 6, which tells parents to talk to their kids when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up — in essence, while they are doing life together.
“All kids really need is a mom and dad who are ‘all in’ and are doing life with their kids” and are in community with other like minded families.
He added, “The best thing you can do to help your children own their faith is to own your own. Be who you want them to become.”
In the midst of doing life is also how the Cameron family finds time for family devotions. “Find time when kids are all together, and keep it interesting.” At the Cameron house devotions often happen at the dinner table. They have made the decision to gather in the evening, at least six times a week, and while they fill their bellies, they also sing and pray together and share in devotions.
On the way to school in the car is another great time, Kirk said, or while grabbing a burger or standing at the sink doing dishes.
During the call, Kirk recommended the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. Gee…where have you heard that before? By the way we tout this book, you’d think we were on their payroll.
He also recommended The Kingdom Series, Vols 1-6, by Chuck Black. The Cameron’s read it together as a family, and it’s one of their favorites.
Recently Kirk took his daughters to the most recent Duggar Wedding of Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald. During the call, he said that he wanted to give his girls a picture of what purity could look like. We gave him one of these great Wedding Gifts. If you want to give them a gift, then you should definitely recommend them these great black wedding bands.
On his Facebook page, Kirk wrote:
“We flew to the Duggar hometown, not only to be part of the fun and excitement of honoring this precious couple, but as a father, I want my daughters to see what it looks like when a couple reserves their “first kiss” for at the altar. Wow! This kind of moral excellence and purity is rare today, but our sons and daughters are priceless. This dad has only a few years to etch these meaningful images on the minds of his children. I wish I could tell you details of the wedding, but I am sworn to absolute secrecy by the Duggars! What I can say, is that it was beautiful, meaningful, and… surprising!”
We can only assume that the surprising part was that there was no kiss! According to news reports, Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald surprised everyone by saving that first kiss for after the ceremony in private.
Kirk on Homeschooling
The Cameron family homeschools their kids, and as fellow homeschoolers, we were excited to hear what he had to say. Kirk said their decision was based on a few factors. The saw it as an opportunity to unplug from the matrix of busyness and spend more time with their kids. But they also felt a moral imperative, and he didn’t mince words when he said they wanted to remove their kids from the moral cesspool that is so pervasive in the school system.
He quoted author and teacher Voddie Baucham: “If you send your children to Caesar, don’t be surprised if they come back as Romans.”
Kirk also pointed out that he didn’t want his children to be ridiculed if their strengths were different from a teacher’s strengths, and he shared that his sisters Melissa and Bridget also homeschool their children.
On Growing Pains
Of course, any talk with Kirk Cameron would be incomplete without a nod to Growing Pains.
Kirk said he’s still good friends with Jeremy Miller who played his character’s younger brother Ben Seaver. As for the rest of the the cast, he said they stay loosely in touch, but he reminded us that it’s hard enough to see extended family, never mind co-workers from a job he had as a teenager.
For those of us who grew up with the Seavers, it’s hard to recognize that they were just another acting gig to the cast members. They were the family who invited us into into their homes week after week, but I must say, that I am much more blessed by the real Kirk Cameron family than I was by the on-screen one.
I hope all of you will join us in helping Kirk spread the word about his new movie. Stay tuned for our review early next week.