Russell Brand’s Unexpected Journey: From Addiction to … Jesus?

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Russell Brand

If you had to choose five celebrities whom you thought were least likely to have a spiritual encounter with Jesus, who would be on your list? It’s an interesting thought experiment, isn’t it?

One who might have made my list is the British comedian/actor perhaps most famous for being Katy Perry’s ex-husband: Russell Brand. He built his bacchanalian brand of celebrity on Howard Stern-like shock comedy, the kind that boldly goes where others won’t, the kind that filled his two graphically raunchy movies, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and its sequel, Get Him to the Greek.

For years, the heavy-drinking, hard-partying Brand exploited infamously excessive escapades in his comedy shtick. But a funny thing happened along the way: He got sober. A 12-step program helped him realize that his indulgent strategies for filling the hole inside him weren’t getting the job done. Instead, he realized that he needed … Jesus?

In a recent, extensive interview with Relevant, Brand talked about his spiritual journey. And he also talked about how his own addictions are mirrored in a Western culture that’s similarly hungry to find meaning and personal fulfillment.

Brand told Relevant’s Jesse Carey,

There’s a famous quote: “Every man who knocks on a brothel door, he’s looking for God.” Crack houses and these dens of suffering and illicit activity, they’re all people trying to feel good, trying to feel connected. People are trying to escape. People are trying to get out of their own heads. To me, this is a spiritual impetus.

Regarding that driving need to fill the void inside, Brand observes, “Everything we do can be colored by this unconscious belief that we can make ourselves feel better with external stuff, be it behavior or chemicals.”

In the interview, Brand talks about his own connection to Jesus using language that might at first seem a bit off-putting, or even New Age-y. “If Christ consciousness is not accessible to us, then what is the point of the story of Jesus, you know?”

But when he explains further what he’s talking about, it seems as if he is indeed talking about a relationship with Jesus in which his thinking, values and beliefs are being radically reshaped:

Unless Christ is right here, right now, in your heart, in your consciousness, then what is Christ? … I do think a spiritual and transcendent change is required for people to be free from addiction. And by spiritual change, I mean the transition from one’s life being predicated on self-fulfillment to a life predicated on service, which for me is a moment-to-moment struggle.

Russell Brand never comes right and says, “I believe in Jesus” or, “I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior”—in other words, using the kind of language North American evangelicals might be used to hearing from someone who has had a life-changing encounter with Christ. That said, it seems as if this formerly infamous “wild child” has had an encounter with Jesus that has fundamentally changed his perspective on, well, just about everything.

And that’s a powerful reminder that Jesus’ life and teachings can confront and redeem anyone who takes them seriously—even someone we might have expected to be the last person on earth to take Him seriously.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 2 days ago
Sad that Christian folks are so quick to push this guy down & are eagerly waiting for him to fail. But I wouldnt expect any other type of reaction from these fake followers of Christ.  
Mark Davies 4 days ago
Let's see what happens, if there's fruit then we'll know its real.
I really pray that it is.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Only the Lord knows - I pray it is real.
Anonymous 6 days ago
I don't know many people who have their diction much less their theology regarding a relationship with Jesus to be spot on when they first begin their journey with Him, especially those who aren't familiar with church tradition. But if Brand does have Christ dwelling in him, I would expect his joy would lead him to try to articulate the amazing change he's experiencing.  If he's still being drawn by Christ, I pray he will soon open the door to Him.  God alone knows his heart.
Anonymous 7 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I'm pretty sure Shadow the Hedgehog would say that Russell Brand is a 'faker.'
bobed 7 days ago
Some might say the nonsense Brand is spouting is "better than nothing." I disagree. Spiritual falsehood is NEVER better than nothing.

Brand is a spiritual chameleon, like many other celebrities. He pieces together a ragtag faith from scraps of whatever religion suits him. Did he seriously claim that Christ is nothing if He is not "present in your consciousness"? What a load of blasphemous mumbo-jumbo. This counterfeit spirituality has no relation to Christ - in fact, this theology is dangerously close to suggesting that "we are god, and god is in all of us, and god does not exist outside of us." Which is, of course, utter bunk - theologically unsound to a fault. Christ created the universe, and regardless whether or not a single person accepts Him, He still exists and does great things. 

Brand talks about a vague, nebulous "spiritual change" and a vague, nebulous "life of service." He is right that to free ourselves from addiction, we must seek a spiritual change - but without a clear connection to accepting Christ into our hearts, talk of such a "spiritual change" is less than meaningless. He is right that we must dedicate ourselves to serving others - but without a clear meaning that our service will be based on our belief in Christ, and based on bringing others to Christ, talk of such "service" is meaningless.

Like I said - mumbo-jumbo. Nothing but falsehood and misleading talk from Russell Brand. I hope he finds the right path, but I doubt it.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I read the same word's Brand wrote & had a completely different take all together than yours:
*"Did he seriously claim that Christ is nothing if He is not "present in your consciousness".

I read his statement as a metaphorical question in which a ADDICT if any sort has to think, is rehab taught within the 12steps & frankly is exactly where his purposed intentions & reform  are speaking from!
A addict cannot be "self" healed with God's help, or a Higher Power.
It is a TRUE statement of awareness of CHRIST & him living in & through you on a very very conscious level of ourselves, otherwise what does the addict consistently live in? We live in a predicated self fulfillment..... and when breaking those chains, that disease.... we find temporary saftey & solutions & all the right things we know to do, we believe to do, we understand it makes sense. But it fails with the "freedom" of. Just as anyone who will not truly live without a sense of their own judgements of guilt or condemnation. Which in Christ, there is none. We know scriptural that Christ freed us from both!
Man's judgements are different & consequence from our actions are earthly irrevocable.
Be careful to judge another's testimony, even if it has a few thing's which eventually will be tweaked and brought to a clarity of "point on" in a doctrine manifested way.
Right now, It's clear that Brand has a very specific crowd he is meant to reach!
Frankly, how dare you not pray for him rather than the opposite of, which could be in confliction to God's intentions for his whole church!
Beside's, every one who stands in the limelight of Christ nature & can not represent him in a body of cleansed truth, will be brought down by it's own darkness. His light shows up the darkness hidden.
Addiction of any kind has hid in most everyway anyone could ever think, all while still knowing Holy Spirit for most their lives
& some may have never known Christ or heard of Holy Spirit before at all.
None the less,
we take for granted what it all comes down too. So when a radical change speaks out publicly,
Pray, Pray Hard for them! God just flipped their life upside down 
& they KNOW THIS:
We will die next time as a relapsed addict 
OR 
We will keep fighting with the ONLY WAY we now get it....really consciously get it!
 *"then what is Christ? … I do think a spiritual and transcendent change is required for people to be free from addiction."

Anonymous 8 days ago

For once, I'm jumping on bobed's cynicism train, and I'll just say it. I think Brand's words are completely false. I take any admission of faith from people like him as just some PR stunt to make them look better in the eyes of the public. Now, maybe it's because I hold to absolute predestination, but I find it hard to believe that his course of life can change, or anyone in the industry for that matter.


Needless to say, I don't buy it.

bobed 7 days ago
You've jumped on the wrong train. I don't think Brand's words are false. I think he completely believes in all that he speaks of. He is completely genuine in his "spiritual journey." But then, if you read what I wrote above, I also think everything he said is a load of completely misguided foolishness which reduces Christ to a feel-good, "we are god and god is us"-type role. Your train is sadly not my train.

Then again, you seem to be a Calvinist, so it's a given that we'll disagree. ;)
Annie Biondi 7 days ago
Also, it’s a complete irony that you say you believe in  predestination and therefore you’re going to judge Russell based on where he is now. By your theology, what matters is where his relationship with God is at when he dies. Is he dead yet? No. Therefore, if God has predestined Him, He WILL change Russell. And you’re giving up on Him before God has completed His work. 

Just food for thought. ;-)
bobed 5 days ago
Which is exactly why predestination makes no sense. God knows the future, that's true - but he also gave us free will. If Calvinist theology is true, God is cruel and evil for damning us to choose the wrong path before we were even born. That is not God.

God gave us free will. We can choose to reject him. We are not predestined to do so.
Anonymous 3 days ago
So by saying you choose God, you are saying that you have the ability to save yourself. Doesn't sound right to me...

Romans 9:18
"So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."
Forward Tsender 18 hours ago
Whether we are predestined to reject God or whether God knows in advance that we will reject Him makes little difference practically.