My Take: A concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen
March 25th, 2011
09:23 AM ET

My Take: A concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen

Editor's Note: Margaret Feinberg is an international speaker and author of "Scouting the Divine" and "The Organic God." Follow her on Twitter.

By Margaret Feinberg, Special to CNN

Dear Charlie,

As one of your 3 million Twitter followers, I’ve given you the ability to speak into my life in 140 characters or less, so I figure the least I can do is return the favor (with a few extra characters). You’ve been on quite a ride: setting a new Twitterlicious record for bagging the most followers in 24 hours, reducing "Two and a Half Men" to reruns on Monday nights, and displaying behavior that defies any sense of rational behavior (even among warlocks).

“Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour selling out in just 18 minutes, Brooke Mueller dropping the restraining order, and a big wet kiss from Jimmy Kimmel may make you feel like a #winner, but as a well-meaning fan, I’m asking you to put away the Tiger Blood T-shirts and pull back from the Hollywood media blitz long enough to consider the following:

No. 1: Though “Yes” people are always more fun to surround yourself with, maybe it’s time to make room for people who will challenge your thinking and behavior. Maybe you need some time with people who don’t give a rat’s tail that you’re Charlie Sheen.

I have two recommendations: The first is a guy by the name of Rob Bell. He’s been stirring up a bit of controversy talking about who or what is really a #winner in his new book, "Love Wins." A lot of people don’t know what to think about Bell or his nebulous beliefs, but I guarantee grabbing a cup of coffee with him will make you think about yourself and life differently.

My second recommendation is someone named Franklin Graham. Yep, his dad is named Billy. But before you roll your eyes, Franklin knows a thing or two about booze and babes from his youth. His story just might surprise you. Plus, he’s doing a whole lot of good through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse. Franklin won’t care that you’re Charlie; he’ll only care that you’re a human being, and you need more people in your life like that.

No. 2: You need some more #losers in your life. As television’s highest paid actor (nearly $2 million an episode), we can all see how you feel like a “a total rock star from Mars” and that you are riding the high of being “on a drug ... called Charlie Sheen.” The porn stars and the private jets make you feel like a #winner, but maybe it’s time to hang with some #losers, people who have lost everything.

On the other side of the world, more than half a million people have lost loved ones, everything they own, or a sense of life as they know it. They go to bed at night and wake up in the morning under the shadows of nuclear disaster and uncertainty. Maybe it’s time to take a ride to Japan sans the goddesses and remember that all the wealth, fame and celebrity status you’ve been given could be used to help others in need.

Please don’t just write a check. Look into their eyes. Listen to their stories. The reality check will trump anything you’ve experienced in rehab.

No. 3: You’re selling out too cheap. The erratic behavior and incoherent ramblings have left everyone wondering when you’re going to crash. Comparisons to Anna Nicole Smith abound. Other than those who purchased seats for your Violent Torpedo Tour, everyone else is being given free tickets to a crash and burn party.

In case no one has told you, you’re more valuable than that. Don’t give them the pleasure. Instead of opting for the crash, pull up, Charlie, pull up. Embrace redemption — it’s never too late to turn things around and inspire us all with goodness rather than just another implosion.

No. 4: You have five kids who need you around. Even if you dismiss every argument, I have some names you can’t dismiss so easily: Cassandra, Sam, Lola, Max and Bob. Some say any media attention is good media attention, but I can’t help but wonder what your kids will think and feel when they Google your name years from now.

Your children need a loving, responsible father, which you can choose to be — and maybe that’s the best wake-up call of all. If you won’t come to your senses for any other reason, do it for them.

As for the rest of us fans, we want you back, Charlie, on your “A” game as an actor, and as a healthy dad. We’re rooting for you!

One of your fans,


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Margaret Feinberg

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (942 Responses)
  1. Todd G

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit...

    March 25, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  2. DB

    Margaret has done a great job putting ink to some of my thoughts – I especially like recommendations #1 and #4!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  3. amber

    Diane-the kids are a huge priority......why can't Charlie remember that...it's not all about charlie?

    March 25, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Diane in Boston

      Exactly my point...It's not about Charlie AT ALL !

      I have no respect for those people that bring children into the world, and proceed to trash their lives with their own f'ed up behavior...

      It's just sad that those kids will have to carry around HIS legacy for the rest of THEIR lives.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  4. stan

    who are u to criicize him good for him your just trying to sell your whiney crappy self help(which are really sold to help your pocket book) think of that the next time your in a elevator staring at some guy and lie to yourself and say you dont) i can relate to charlie thats why everyone pays him more than you! BECAUSE HES ENTERTAINING AND U R NOT (i never write these but u r out of line GOD BLESS TEAM SHEEN

    March 25, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  5. David

    Excellent open letter Margaret. You appealed to both what it means to be human and be Christian. Thanks for writing this heart-felt letter.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  6. sshz

    He's an addict and per his dad, has been one since he was 15 years old. He needs to be separated from his family and placed in a long term facility and start working on his issues/problems before it's too late. It only continues to get worse and I suspect it's only a matter of time before he is either found dead of an overdose or placed in a manditory, supervised program......

    March 25, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  7. WinningTroll

    Margaret, you're ignoring the fact that he's clearly hypermanic. Anyone who's ever seen someone that's hypermanic can tell you that. In that condition, he doesn't care what you or anyone else think about him or his behavior. Everything he does is correct in his mind, and he's unstoppable. He's not tuned into reality. People think his rants are funny, (and they are), but he's suffering from psychosis. Given his celebrity and the losers he hangs out with, he's not going to seek help anytime soon. Eventually he will either get so manic that he unintentionally harms himself or people around him, or he'll come down and crash hard. Those are the only outcomes of untreated hypermania,

    March 25, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  8. Diane in Boston

    I have one comment correction to this letter...

    #4 should be moved to #1

    Who can dispute that Charlie's children (and how his behavior is affecting them!!) should be his ONLY concern.

    Save them from the "fall-out" of his disasterous behavior.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  9. Maryann

    Who the heck does this person think she is? Some nerve!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • gjwo

      Those who feel outraged because of some comment made by this woman are no different than those who are outraged by Sheen's actions. Is there nobody who doesn't have an extreme point of view on this board? She has the right to write anything she wants, and in fact, she was successful in inciting enough controversy to get probably thousands of hits on her page. You have the right to say what you want, but just for your own benefit, you should think about this a little bit and logic will enlighten you.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  10. Reality

    Sheen violates the basic principle of human existence i.e. "Do No Harm".

    March 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • gjwo

      No offense, but that would go against human nature. Unless of course war and violence all of a sudden have ceased to exist and I wasn't informed about it. There are two types of people in the world - those who commit violence willingly to control others either for power or the simple pleasure of hurting people, and those who commit violent acts in self defense. Even the nicest person will kill if it means saving their life. Heck, look how popular MMA has become.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  11. Karen

    i don't really care about Charlie and his entourage anymore, and I think that time will prove that he really truly is – not all that special. He is not Bowie, he is not Jagger and Richards and he is not Elvis. His legacy is a lot of B films and tv reruns. I can't imagine a person more boring.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  12. andrea

    Thanks Margaret for lovingly speaking truth! It should happen more....

    March 25, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • gjwo

      I would take her blog a little more seriously if she wasn't being paid by CNN. If she really cares then she should donate the money she made from posting this to send Sheen to drug counseling.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Calif girl

    Ok, so who really cares what Charlie Sheen does? I certainly don't and I know the family. He has been given everything most of us could ever dream of in life (career, great family, money, etc) and he just craps all over it! Very sad. He is self destructing and there is no way he is sober, just not buying that. Looks to me like cocaine induced mental behavior. I feel for his kids, but I don't feel for him. If you go to his "tour" you are simply justifying his crazy behavior and giving him more money. The guy is off his rocker and really needs help before his ends up dead.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  14. pg

    keep your oppinions to yourself, long live the warlock.

    noone cares for your rambling.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  15. Mike in Dallas

    While I agree that Charley needs some help somewhere, you lost me when you mentioned Franklin Graham, the fundamentalist darling of the extreme right. Charley would be better served speaking with Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh if he was looking for tolerance and understanding, rather than some reactionary crackpot who panders to hate rather than the Christian message of Jesus. In Franklin Graham's 13th century, flat-earth worldview, Charley is doomed to an eternity of hell-fire and damnation anyway,so how would he really help?

    March 25, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • jdurand

      Thinking you have never seen Graham the younger. He is not his daddy's spitting image in any sense.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Dave

      Ahhh what? Rush would be more understanding than Franklin Graham?!? You either haven't listened to Rush or don't know anything about Franklin. And the gospel message that Franklin teaches specifically embraces redemption for all – even the Charlie Sheen's of the world. Assuming they recognize their self-destruction and seek to change, of course.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  16. rachel

    Mrs. Feinberg- this was a lovely piece and very kind and thoughtful. I respect and appreciate your desire to reach out to a man terribly in need of someones help. I will however clue you in as a former heavy drug user who has had troubles with my path and emotional health: using Franklin Graham as an example of someone who "knows a thing or two about booze and babes from his youth. His story just might surprise you." This kind of suggestion is what show the great divide between people who are stuck head long in it and those who are so far removed from this kind of pain. And dare I say see the world as the really sweet and neat place that it is not.
    Mr. Grahams booting out of LeTourneau University for keeping a coed out past curfew and chuggin a few beers is not really a dive into the depths of darkness. You have to have been in the place Charlie is now to even understand him. Your intent is beautiful, but sadly your suggestions are just weak and typical evangelical. That approach closes many minds and ears... sad but true.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • M

      Luckily for Mrs. Fienberg, the goal is to speak truth in love, regardless of the reactions of hearts and minds. There's only so much you can cater to people who see the world differently without changing the heart of the message- and I appreciate that Margaret gracefully spoke the truth, without changing the truth to make it easy to swallow. Thank you. 🙂

      March 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  17. jayhsee

    Rona Rose, yours is the dumbest post I have ever read.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Rona Rose

      Hei, I put my name, but You have hidden behind your nick name "incognito". Instead of leaving a talented person along you think you have the right to teach him or give him your recommendations or advices. He is a grown up person, he was not asking your recommendations and you have no right to do so. that is my firm statement. You use this article to continue to "wash his bones". Stop it. By accepting a person who he is does not mean enabling. Just you try to enable anybody into the way you want them to be, ha-ha. It has become acceptable in this country that if a person is a public figure to teach him life! Especially when he is more talented than you ;). I stand firm : Leave him alone, he knows what he is doing and keep your children away from the TV! But when i came home I want my show. THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

      March 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Rona Rose

      I just can't help it!
      jayhsee, you seem not to read a lot in your life! If my remark in this post was the dumbest you've ever read, it means you are not a good reader! If you start reading, please try, start at least with reading the world news, you will surprised to see that I am not the Champion among the Dummies :)!

      March 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  18. Mike

    Makes perfect sense to any sober and sane "Troll".
    Unfortunately, Charlie doesn't appear too sane or sober.... and is extremely envious of being unable to reach the evolutionary stage of "Troll", as this requires a sense of maturity and an IQ above 20.
    In the meantime, it appears that 99.999999999999 percent of the World's population can be designated as "Troll" or greater. Those designated less than "Troll", alternately classified as "Charlie", are understood to be disgustingly rich, with a vastly reduced IQ, having suffered massive brain damage due to constant smothering by buxom blondes, with a copious intake of booze, drugs, and just wayyyyyyy too much fun!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  19. Dad

    As a father at any age seeing your son implode breaks my heart. Please don't root for his demise. Don't encourage his pain buy going to his one man show. If your a real human being and a caring fan tell him on your blogs that you want him back and to cry. Tell him you see his pain and if he only cried we will see the true Charlie. A loving and caring Father, Son, Brother and person to many. Please help him...Please help all of our son's and daughters.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • KKKKKatie

      I agree. I find it very disturbing that so many people are fasinated by his story and see it as something to laugh about and ridicule, and even enjoy. It makes me wonder where we are headed as a society. 🙁

      March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • gjwo

      I would be more worried about how gays are bullied in schools, and how they're constantly discriminated against throughout their lives. Heck, a stable loving gay family with an adopted child is frowned upon and even when they can prove that they can raise happier, smarter children, people get even more defensive about them and treat them like second class citizens. The fact that hatred is tolerated is what is wrong with society. The fact that people bash each other based on political views is plain disgusting. We pretend to be outraged when a celebrity acts like.... OH YEAH, A CELEBRITY. I guess people got tired of Lindsey Lohan and don't really care that MIley Cyrus smoked salvia. Heck, if Natalie Portman had an abortion there would be a chance we'd stop bashing Sheen.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Rona Rose

      I totally agree on that. You sound like a real father. Deep respect. The only thing why I wrote my messages is that I was against that this creepy evangelist is trying to convert Charlie to a creepy evangelist. These two guys she wanted Charlie to hang with are NUTS! Your son is strong enough to heal himself.He, only he can do it, nobody else can do it for him. I hope the positive energy he is getting from his fans and people who love him can help him heal, not just get some money for another circle of craziness. I want Charlie to grow through his pain and come a better person out of this ordeal.

      March 28, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  20. Rona Rose

    The teacher will come when a student is ready. Not the case. A recommendation to Margaret::
    1. Your recommendations are to be given when requested. Nobody asked you, and therefore it is a PR! You pin your name to his to get more fame. Not honest. If you really want to give him an advice, don't hide behind CNN wall, call him directly or approach the guy and try to talk to him (if he will ever listen to you!). When he is playing his role in the show – we love him. When he is acting the same guy in real life, as in the show, we need not to be surprised and be appalled! Let him be who he is (in the show and in life!0. I think the executive producer is at fault in this situation. All the actors are his "babies", he needs to love them a bit more. And he is not. He is a bad parent. The show was successful because of Charlie, be thankful to him. I want him back. I like Charlie Sheen drug ;)! He is funny in the show and in life! He is a smart kid and I wish him well! Keep on going Charlie.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • jdurand

      Wow. Talk about being an enabler. Why don't you just prepare his blow and mix that next drink for him while you're at it.

      That you would find criticism in someone's reasonable concern doesn't speak very well for you at all, "Rona Rose".

      March 25, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • KKKKKatie

      You missed the entire point of the article. I really hope you don't have children.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Hobbes847

      "Your recommendations are to be given when requested."

      Same applies to you. Dunsky.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Dave

      Two words about this whole thing sum up my opinion. Joaquin Phoenix.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • gjwo

      I don't really like Phoenix myself. He was funny the first time but now he's just creepy. If Sheen stared into space like an autistic child (which is also an insult to autistics) and then started screaming I would promptly turn off the TV. It's kinda sad too because now he is going to be type cast for the rest of his life like Corell. I definitely could have seen Corell playing something other than the stooge.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.