Actor Matthew McConaughey: ‘I need the ritual of church on Sunday’
Academy Award–winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who recently released his bestselling memoir Greenlights, says attending church on Sunday is a necessity for him to stay grounded.
In a clip from an interview with SiriusXM host, Victoria Osteen, who's also the wife of megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen, McConaughey talked about his faith journey beginning with his New Testament-style Methodist upbringing in Uvalde, Texas, where his mother wouldn’t allow them to take the fact that the sun rose this morning for granted.
“I need the ritual of church on Sunday to do inventory on my last week to learn something to take into the week, to propel me into that week that I can feel like I can apply in my life,” the father of three said in the interview which will air in full on Dec. 16 at 12 p.m. ET on Joel Osteen Radio.
“Just about a year ago I just giggled with myself at how beautiful the calendar is. The calendar week. God made it in seven days. And on the seventh day rest and go to church because come about Saturday, I need some Sunday church again,” he continued. “I’m like, it’s perfectly scheduled because I come out roaring on Sunday and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I’m like, ‘oooh I need to go do some inventory again.’ Go to a place where it’s obvious that I’m, at the highest level, No. 2. And to be humble.”
The actor also explained that he learned to appreciate God’s presence by becoming friends with himself through solitude.
“I’ve had times where, with great success and fame, where I’ve needed to strip all of my talismans of identity down to now where I just understood now who are you as just a child of God. Just that. Not an American, not a McConaughey, not a Texan, not Academy Award winner, not any of these things that you mortally gained along the way. But who are you when you are stripped down to nothing as a child of God?” he said.
“So I’ve had those times when I’ve gone off and had my sacrifices, I’ve had my sabbaticals. I’ve taken, solitude … Thomas Merton, Benedictine monk, spent a lot of time at this monastery where I go. And I’ve really learned the value of solitude. Sometimes by my choice, sometimes because it wasn’t chosen for me.
“I was put in a position to have a forced winter. To be stuck with myself. And I’ve found, understood the value in the faith that I’ve had of going, ‘yeah, you’re on your own and it’s really uncomfortable. Good. Don’t pull the parachute. Don’t pick up the phone. Don’t have a drink. Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t give yourself anything else to be entertained by. Sit in this discomfort. In this Socratic dialogue until you work it out. Until you figure out, what are we going forgive and when are we going to say, 'the buck stops here. No more,'” he added.
Around day 12 of that sabbatical of solitude, McConaughey said, “is usually around when I have my purge.”
“I’m like, ‘well, I’m stuck with the one person I can’t get rid of. We better figure out how to get along.’ And that’s when it’s like, ahh, when you become friends with yourself, you become friends with God.
And when you got God in your life, you've got a friend, and that friend is you,” he noted.
McConaughey also explained how his faith helped him to understand humility.
“In my faith journey, [I] have struggled or been always sort of hands in the clay with the definition of words, like humility and the value of that. I always had trouble with humility because I would lose confidence when I was humble or I would be falsely modest. And then I heard a definition of humility being knowing that you have more to learn and something about that definition. I was able to stand tall, keep my shoulders back, my head up, and still be humble and my heart high with that,” he said.