You’ve probably heard now that Angus T. Jones called Two and a Half Men—the show that made him a star—“filth” and pleaded that fans should never, ever watch the thing again. Now that he’s a committed Christian (he attends the Valley Crossroads Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Pacoima, Calif.), the sleezy humor that’s made Two and a Half Men so successful doesn’t really jibe with his newfound faith.
You’ve also probably heard that Jones quickly issued an apology to the folks at the show: “Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family,” he said, adding, “I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.”
All that caused some confusion: Does Angus (which has got to be one of the best first names ever) think the show’s filth or not? Is he trying to save his job (which pays him around $300,000 an episode)? Did he (as some have suggested) go off his rocker, just like another notable Two and a Half Men star?
So it was nice to read Christianity Today’s interview with Jones, which really did a great job of aligning both his rejection of the content in Two and a Half Men while still calling the show’s cast his “television family.” The interview (by Maria Cowell) doesn’t showcase a guy who, thanks to his newfound religious convictions, has jumped off the deep end. Nor does it present us someone who has sacrificed his faith at the altar of his lucrative profession. In the interview, Jones comes across as someone who’s struggling with how to best follow Jesus in an imperfect world that, quite honestly, sometimes seems to demand compromises.
When he’s asked how his conversion is impacting his work, he says:
It's a really interesting experience. I know I am there for a reason, but at the same time I have this strange twist of being a hypocrite: a paid hypocrite. That's the way I have been looking at it lately.... Even though it's my job to be an actor, I have given my life to God. I am very comfortable and firm in that, but I still have to be on this show. It's the number one comedy, but it's very inappropriate and the themes are very inappropriate. I have to be this person I am not.
Angus tells CT loads more during his interview: It’s worth the read, and you can find it here. But let’s face it: It’s not easy being an outspoken Christian in the entertainment industry. Just ask Stephen Baldwin, who had his own literal “come to Jesus” moment and who’s been fairly marginalized ever since.
“It just sounds like Angus is having an authentic experience with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Baldwin said during a Good Morning America interview. “It’s a serious thing. A real, true walk of Christianity is very difficult, quite radical. … He didn’t want to offend [show creator] Chuck Lorre or any of the people from the show or be disrespectful, but I think he authentically means what he says where he finds now if you hold up the content of his show to the Bible, what he’s saying is, ‘Now there’s a conflict for me.’”
Baldwin’s right. Christianity, if you take it seriously, is pretty radical. And it’s not just actors on a hit sitcom that feel the tension. I work at a Christian ministry, write about Christianity all the time and I still feel that tension every day. It’s inescapable. What should I be doing as a Christian? What should I be staying away from? Should I buy Powerball tickets or not? We know that our faith isn’t wrapped up in works or deeds, of course. But still, we want to please God. We want to set good examples for folks around us. We want to show that Christianity is more than just a dunk in a baptismal: It’s a game-changer.
I don’t know what’ll happen with Angus and his career on Two and a Half Men. But I’m rooting for the guy. Clearly, Angus T. Jones isn’t half a man anymore. He’s dealing with some pretty grown-up issues.