Actor Russell Crowe, 43, says that he will be baptized soon. Telling Men’s Journal that his parents did not baptize him, or lead him toward any faith in particular, he now says that baptizing his own children, ages 1 and 3, has forced him to think that the sacrament is important and he should also be baptized. He will be baptized in a Byzantine chapel that he built on his country ranch in Australia for his wedding in 2003. I am interested to know much more than these bare facts but it is not an every day event for a Hollywood star of this magnitude to profess his need of baptism and then to openly announce that he was doing it.

One could take two approaches to this announcement I suppose. The skeptical one is to say, "So what? This is just an act of outward religiosity and it means nothing if he doesn’t have faith." A second response, the one I hold, says: "Praise God for this very public man’s desire to confess Christian faith in this God-ordained manner." I have no idea what Russell Crowe knows about God personally but baptism is a sign, a sacred mark. I often appeal to the baptized directly by asking them: "Do you still embrace the vows of your baptism?" If they say yes then I point them to Christ and his life and work and their responsibility to trust him and obey him. I think the better response to Russell Crowe would be to give thanks and then pray for him. God knows his heart.

On the more carnal level, I must admit that I like Russell Crowe. He is a great actor and the roles he plays are manly and exciting, at least to this film critic. I think I will now add him to my prayer list.