THE TEMPTATION OF
- CALEB JO
*Re-uploaded due to deletion of the original site*
Caleb Jo is a junior business administration major at Biola University, but he has always been intrigued by the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry is full of temptations for Christians, like Jo, who are seeking to enter this line of business. With the shiny, bright lights of Hollywood so close to Biola’s campus, Jo’s draw to the city is strong.
Jo grew up in the church and at a young age, he had a very surface level faith. As he grew older he experienced many trials that tested his faith and his commitment to God.
“When my dad passed away when I was ten, that’s when I got a lot closer [to God],” said Jo. “My youth [group] and older brothers from church, really took me under their wing and brought me out to Bible study, took me out to the youth retreats… those things really helped me build my faith up.”
These types of trials can be especially hard for children to cope with, but a supportive community can help to alleviate some stress experienced. Due to Jo’s strong support from his church community, he was able to grow from the tragedy of losing his dad, and experience a deeper relationship with Christ, even through college.
“As I got older, [my faith] got stronger and weaker and just kind of all over the place but definitely now, a lot better,” remarked Jo. “[Now, it’s about] really understanding the Gospel but back then it was just about developing that relationship was the key starter.”
Through his growing faith, Jo was able to develop a deeper concept of who God is to him personally, and the reign God has over his life.
“He is supreme, He is all-knowing, He is sovereign. I see Him as that, this King, ruler. But not in a tyrant sense but in a person that I want to serve,” said Jo. “Occasionally, something I always have to remind myself is He is a Father, a very loving one and a very gracious one. I have to constantly remind myself about that cause I think I’m very over critical about the ruler part.”
The Desire to Create
Since high school, Jo has been interested in film and film making, which stems from his personal experience in theatre. Every experience he encounters in this field has helped him to develop his own personal “film eye”.
“When I went to community college, I tried to take an acting class there, and it was okay. It was just really simple… You’re not trying to be [the] best actor there. But I took one film class to really understand what happens behind the camera because I wanted to do acting first, then filmmaking, just to understand what the director thinks,” stated Jo. “After taking that class, I realized I’m a lot better than I thought, not to [sound] cocky, but it was a very beginner class… but I think that kind of helped cause I really immersed myself with YouTube and people like Wong Fu; they really impacted my “film eye” and how a short film should look.”
But in the end, the film industry is a business industry which comes with both positives and negatives from people and companies. From experiencing both ups and downs, he has learned much and has experienced many opportunities which he attributes to God.
“You don’t know who’s gonna be very real, be straightforward with you… you have to be very careful and very strong on people you’re gonna talk to… because one, if they want to be your friend, is it because they actually want to be your friend or two, is it because they want to use you, and take credit for your work?” explained Jo. “As I got older, more experienced, and actually meeting the right people and being plugged in with older mentors who are willing to help, that actually helped me really navigate myself a little bit more… I’m not where I want to be, but just looking back on the past three years [when] I started, it’s been an awesome journey, and I’m very lucky that God provided all those connections and people in my life. I don’t really like calling them connections, even though that’s the term. I just see them as friends or people I want to collaborate with.”
Behind the Bright Lights
Although the bright lights of show business can be attractive, they are often a distraction from the dark brokenness of the industry. As stated above, the film industry is not always pretty, and there lies temptation, especially for Christians.
“We should be a light in those dark areas. Of course, it’s tempting, like there are times where there’s parties and people are drinking, sex, all that stuff,” said Jo. “Those things are more glorified because of fame, you do see some dark sides of it but everything has dark sides, and people trying to take advantage of other people.”
The root of this problem is explained in Scripture, every part of the Earth is full of sin and sinners. But as Christians, we are called to rise above and shed light on these dark places. Through this, Jo shares how the biggest temptation for himself is to remember his identity in Christ.
“A lot of temptation for me in my faith is reminding myself consistently that my identity is not within the things that I do and my accolades. But it is based on, [how] God gave me these opportunities and how can I take these to share the Gospel. Just being in that environment, how to show love to [people] even if they’re not Christian… [As Christians] we’re not perfect… we’re sinners and we’re not gonna hide that fact,” explained Jo. “God blessed me with these opportunities but that should not be my identity… My identity is not based off of the amount of views that a video gets but my identity [in this industry] is to be myself, represent my people and just be the best that I can be in those situations… You have to remember why you’re creating your art in the first place and constantly remind yourself why you are doing it…”
With remembering his identity, Jo described how through his communion with Christ, he feels called to be authentic in the media industry. Authenticity is something that has been brought to attention more recently with the rise of overly exaggerated and 'fake news.’ As Christians who are surrounded by media, we must remember our true identity in God. Jo shared how, as Christians, we can maintain our faith and identity in a world surrounded by temptation, and how he uses media to speak out on topics he is passionate about, such as mental health and Asian representation.
“It’s like, ‘How can I talk about the real world things that are going on and [be] authentic about it?’… Just being authentic is something that I wanna constantly remind myself because everyone wants to post pictures on Instagram too like life is great… But in reality, life sometimes sucks and that’s the honest truth,” said Jo. “I try to be more open about those dark realms with my platform… But that’s what I want to do as a Christian in this industry, is just to be authentic, be real…”
Community & Accountability
One take-away Jo has learned from his exposure with the industry is to “find a good community that will keep you accountable.” A community is extremely important when seeking accountability and growth whether that be in the entertainment industry or life in general. God meant for us to be surrounded by a community that will glorify His name, despite our different roles.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, it states, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
God has placed each of us in the place He desires for us to be. No role is less important than another. As well, the church unites us as His people, as we worship and communion with Him. Seeking community is key for us as believers, in order to build up His church and glorify His name.