Renegade Apologists

by Matt Rawlings

When I was a runaway wanna be filmmaker in the late ’80′s and early ’90′s, I studied Hollywood renegades like John Milius, Martin Scorsese and William Friedken.  I was especially intrigued with Milius who helped write Dirty Harry and Jeremiah Johnson and direct flicks like Conan The Barbarian and Red Dawn.

Milius never fit in with the secular left of southern California.  He volunteered for the military but, like me, was turned down for physical reasons.  He turned to film and quickly won over the accolades of his fellow upstarts that happened to include George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.  Milius earned their respect with his talent even while they were slack-jawed by his routine of carrying a .45 1911 pistol while riding a Harley and turn up his nose at fine restaurants preferring to eat at burger joints.  Everything about Milius seemed crazy to the secular left but they still admired him for his talent.  After all, he penned dialogues like the “U.S.S. Indianapolis” speech in Jaws (one of the greatest scenes in film history!).

I learned from Milius and others while working in Hollywood that it is possible for an individual who is totally “countercultural” to still be respected and earn influence among his or her peers. A documentary on the life and influence of Milius has recently been added to Netflix instant and I would encourage you to watch it.


Christians can learn a lot from a talented, passionate maverick like John Milius.  Let’s face it, we live in a  post-Christian age.  I often tell people the church now resides in Babylon instead of Jerusalem.  The only Israelites in exile who seemed to earn the respect of the pagans around them were the best educated and most faithful to the Lord (see Jer. 29:7 and the Book of Daniel).

In our modern Babylonian culture where the false gods of wealth, fame, power and sex cast dark shadows, the Kingdom of the one true God needs Daniels,Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abednegos.  The world needs well-educated men and women who graciously speak truth to power out of their unrivaled loyalty to Jesus Christ. Like John Milius, they will be seen as renegades…

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Renegade Apologists | Pastor Matt