faith content in Hollywood

Roma Downey shares unexpected blessings that arise from making faith content in Hollywood

Actress, filmmaker, and the CCO of Lightworkers Media, Roma Downey released her new book this week and said the way God has used her to share her faith in Hollywood has been an unanticipated blessing.

“I felt a call in my life for many years, and I just continue to try to create and generate content that is hopeful, that is uplifting, that’s inspiring in some way,” The New York Times bestselling author said in a recorded interview with The Christian Post that can be watched below.

Unexpected Blessings: 90 inspirations to nourish your soul, and open your heart was birthed from Downey’s earlier book, Box of Butterflies, which was a spiritual memoir. In that book, Downey takes readers along a journey through her life.

The idea for her new book, which she describes as a devotional, came as a result of the pandemic.

“It’s been a very challenging few years, I think, for everybody with COVID and one thing and another,” she said. “I decided that if Box of Butterflies was the tree, then this new book was like a branch of really doing that deeper dive. Understanding that while life may not be unfolding the way we imagined, there are still blessings everywhere.”

People, she added, must create space that allows them to see the unexpected blessings in their life. “There’s a discipline involved to train your mind and train your heart to see them.”

Referencing a poem by American poet Mary Oliver, Downey added, “In that poem, she says, ‘Someone once gave me a box of darkness. But it’s taken me til now to realize that this, too, was a gift.’

“I found my experience, particularly in the first year of COVID, where there was so much anxiety and so much uncertainty and so much we didn’t know about it, the time that we had to slow down, it forced a re-looking at our lives, and finding new priorities and real value in spending time with family,” Downey revealed.

“It really set me on this journey to explore the unexpected blessings and to see that like the Mary Oliver poem, even things that come in that are challenging or that seem like obstacles, that if you really have an open heart and are willing to spend a little bit of time each day with God, you’ll start to see that the blessings are everywhere.”

Downey told CP that the presence of God has always been with her, tangibly so, and shared how others can identify God’s presence.

“The presence of God usually brings with it a sense of peace in your life,” she said. “I know that for me, one of my favorite scriptures is just to be still and know that He is God. The emphasis here is on the stillness, and just taking that time.”

Much like the discipline and the habits people get into when they go to the gym and eat healthily, it’s just as important for people to get into the routine of taking “care of our spirits” and “souls,” Downey advised. “For me, that usually looks like just taking time for reflection in the morning. It strengthens me for the day.”

Unexpected Blessings is focused on six different topics: strength, courage, love, stillness, gratitude and home, and each devotional ends with a prayer.

Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, have had great success in the past with the Emmy-nominated miniseries “The Bible,” which was watched by more than 100 million people in the U.S., and the feature film “Son of God,” which was the second-highest grossing faith-based movie opening of all time.

“It’s all been an unexpected blessing, honestly,” Downey told CP. “Right back from the beginning, when I got my big breakthrough role-playing the angel Monica on TV, in ‘Touch by an Angel.’”

“I guess we have stepped out boldly,” Downey added. “Someone a few years ago called us the noisiest Christians in Hollywood. And certainly, we have been noisy, it’s true. But it’s such an opportunity to be able to share our love of God, and to evangelize a little bit through our work. At the same time to make sure the work is still quality work and entertaining work.”

At the end of last year, Downey produced the film “On a Wing and a Prayer.” Based on a true story, she described the movie starring actors Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham as “an extraordinary story of faith.” It’s scheduled to hit theaters this summer.

“These are the themes that continue to show up in my work,” she added.

“We have fun. We love doing what we do. Mark and I love working together when the opportunity arises. We say we’re in the business of hope and there’s no greater hope than in the promise of Heaven and the comforts and joy that come from being a believer. So yeah, noisy Christians.”

Downey agreed that Hollywood is far more accepting of Christians now than it was when she first started in the industry over 30 years ago.

“I think when we first started, there was and there is still opposition. Not everybody’s going to love what you do, and not everybody’s going to respond to that positively. But have courage and keep moving forward with strength,” she maintained.

“In my experience, we’re a big community of people,” she said, speaking of the Christian audience. “The content may not be for everybody. We’re not trying to force it down anybody’s throat; we’re just creating it lovingly inviting people to participate.”

She added: “I have found over the years, the longer I’ve been in this space, in this faith space, is that for the most part, people are very respectful and kind. In my experience, there are good people everywhere, doing good things. If anything, we just need to make more noise for the good guys out there.”


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