Kirk Cameron knows he’s the proverbial “Jesus” fish out of water, living in Los Angeles.
The television and movie actor, best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the beloved series “Growing Pains,” is a devout evangelical Christian living in a city known for excess, unbridled hedonism, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s the city where he was born. It’s home.
“Sometimes, I do feel like a fish in a frying pan,” said Cameron, 43, speaking by phone from Los Angeles earlier this week. “It’s a unique part of the country, and not reflective of the values that you’ll find throughout the rest of the country. But I love it. There’s cool stuff here. I have the ability to make movies. But it’s also healthy for me to travel and see the rest of the country and get a feeling for what others value.”
Cameron will be in Pensacola on Friday to speak about marriage at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church. The visit is part of his “Love Worth Fighting For” traveling marriage seminars, which he has been conducting for four years.
Cameron has been married to his wife, Chelsea Noble, for 23 years. She was a co-star on “Growing Pains,” playing his girlfriend on the show that ran from 1985 to 1992. The couple has six children.
“Usually, I bring some of the family with me,” he said. “You’ll probably see a couple of my kids with me.”
After all, the Pensacola event — and much of Cameron’s focus — is on strengthening families.
“I know it’s really challenging for parents who are juggling so many responsibilities,” he said. “But our relationships and marriages are worth fighting for. If we don’t, our kids won’t have a chance.”
Cameron said the genesis for “Love Worth Fighting For” came after his 2008 movie “Fireproof,” which dealt with a couple fighting to save their marriage.
“After that, I met so many people who were desperate for help in their marriage,” Cameron said. “They really want this kind of help. If a marriage crumbles, it devastates future generations.”
He said that no matter the status of a marriage, all couples could use a little pep talk.
“If people are married for any length of time, there’s going to be some turmoil,” he said. “We all struggle with the same things, but we have to jump on the problems while they’re small.”
He said, for him, the number one way to strengthen a marriage is “to be in a partnership with God.”
“I don’t have what it takes to make it work without God,” he said. “Faith is a big part of it. It involves loving someone when it’s difficult and you don’t feel like it.”
Cameron was in Pensacola three years ago to speak at a Christmas event, but he didn’t get to see much.
“I know you’re close to the beach,” he said.
Craig Hindsman, families pastor at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church, said Cameron’s visit will give couples a chance “of refreshment and encouragement in marriage.”
“Sometimes, you get in a rut in your marriage, doing the same things and making the same mistakes over and over,” Hindsman said. “Those who attend will hear someone with a different point of view. And it’s good for couples who are recently married or engaged, because it gives them some perspective from those who have experienced problems before.”
Cameron knows that an actor talking about marriages might seem strange to some, especially considering all the divorce headlines that emerge from Los Angeles.
“Mine could have been the typical Hollywood story,” he said. “I think about it all the time. You know, divorced three times, in and out of rehab. But that hasn’t been my story. I’m not some super human being. I try to be faithful to God and walk according to his way.”