Jonathan Jackson’s journey to Orthodoxy

I don’t follow the Hollywood annals, not at all. Just not interested frankly. Therefore I am woefully ignorant of most big names, much less know where they belong (sitcom, movie, soap opera, sports…).

So when I saw that Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick had interviewed Jonathan Jackson on his podcast Roads from Emmaus I was uninterested. I didn’t even know who this was (Technically, I still don’t other than what I’ve read on Wikipedia and heard on the interview. He starred on General Hospital and Tuck Everlasting.). Why did I decide to listen to it? To be honest, I was procrastinating doing my prayer rule. Not a great reason.

Well, despite my not-so-honorable reasons, I enjoyed a very good interview. Mr. Jackson is rather counter-cultural in one very obvious way: he married at 20 and now has three children (he is 29 – I had four children by that point so I feel a connection). I am definitely a proponent of young marriage. Also of intact marriage which is a rather rare thing in Hollywood.

The reason he was interviewed is this: Mr. Jackson and his family are catechumens and will enter the Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday this year. The Orthodox Church doesn’t have a whole lot of superstars – people in the public eye – in this country so this stands out. Everyone knows Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburg Steelers football player known for his magnificent hair and his devotion to the Orthodox faith, but other genuine examples are rather thin. But this isn’t the reason I would encourage you to listen to the interview.

Orthodox convert readers will probably recognize some similarities between Mr. Jackson’s conversion story and their own – sometimes with amusement. One thing I noted was a growing confirmation of my feeling that men and women come to the Orthodox Church differently. Not unequally, just differently. Very reflective of the differences between men and women fundamentally.

Whether you are Orthodox or not, convert or cradle, you will enjoy this interview. Mr. Jackson is a good speaker – he is an actor after all – and his journey is a long and fascinating one. He also discusses the impact his faith has on his acting, something that most people would find hard to reconcile. Try to put aside some time in the next several days for this purpose. I find that listening to the story of someone’s journey to the Church is a good boost during Lent, a reminder of why I made my own journey. Now to stop procrastinating and go do my rule.

(Here is the link to Fr. Damick’s post on the interview.)

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