Ken Baker is the Senior Correspondent for E! and is likely texting Kim Kardashian to confirm the latest rumor that she's pregnant again, or perhaps after our call, he's connecting with Brad Pitt on the latest report of him moving back in with Angelina Jolie. If anyone can get to the truth of the matter, Baker can. He's lived in Hollywood for 20 years, has a comprehensive list of phone numbers to the biggest names in Tinseltown, and knows how to break a story. Baker has it all, a dream job, stability and a solid reputation in the biz. So what gives? Well, he was losing his spiritual center and became part of the Hollywood machine, which can be a dark place. Like many others, Baker became part of this monster and abandoned his Christian heritage to find a bottomless void and an aching in his soul. In his book, The Ken Commandments: My Search for God in Hollywood, the former hockey goalie chronicles his journey in rediscovering God. Can this reporter find God in the land of make-believe?
A Kardashian starts the journey.
Believe it or not, a Kardashian in-law was part of the puzzle and a cog in the wheel of Baker's spiritual launch. In 2015, former L.A. Lakers star, Lamar Odom, was dying in a hospital from a drug overdose. Baker at the time was covering the story and was in communication with the family asking what he could do to help. He is good friends with Kourtney Kardashian as they text each other often and on their birthdays (both were born on April 18). The message sent back was urgent: "Please pray for Lamar." Baker goes to the same church as the family and was familiar with the matriarch, Kris Jenner, and when he received communication from them, he had an epiphany and couldn't recollect the last time that he even prayed. He did it anyway. After the incident, Baker didn't know what he believed anymore. Odom survived his brush with death and Baker started to believe God answers prayers. He started to attend Bible study (the one Gwen Stefani also attends), church and a retreat run by Deepak Chopra to seek information.
Taking a risk.Being in the spotlight, writing about his spiritual quest and making it known could damage his career, one would think. There are more pressing things in life than a job. "I was more concerned about falling into spiritually destructive patterns. I was more concerned about feeling lost, lonely and feeling that there was some big gap between where I was in my life and where my soul resided--I felt so far away from it. Honestly, that was one of my consuming concerns," said Baker.
Moving forward.Journalists are taught to write stories using the inverted pyramid structure. They add the essential and most attention-grabbing elements first (who, what, when and why), followed by supplementary information in order of less importance. The least important information is at the bottom. Baker used this as a metaphor for his journey. He believed if he listened, paid attention and was open in the beginning, the rest of the information would start coming into light. "That's the journey I am on right now to be perfectly honest," he admitted. Baker wants to seek his truth, like many of us desire. There are a lot of different elements of different religions that resonate truth to people. We get one shot to figure it out in this lifetime and that's it. "I want to do that, I owe it to my soul to figure it out and to wrestle with those difficult questions."
Seeking and sharing.One road Baker took towards discovery was getting in touch with celebrity psychic Tyler Henry about the afterlife. Henry helped him communicate with his deceased father and other dead relatives. "I was raised Catholic and that kind of thing was taboo and considered antithetic to any Christian message and it was considered the work of satan. I was moved to tears because I thought this was a legitimate experience. I felt like it was, but I am not saying it is." Baker talked it over with celebrity pastor Judah Smith because he was of the belief that psychics were charlatans and evil. Smith responded to Baker saying "This is good. Your questioning, your seeking, and God said if 'You seek Me, you will know Me.'" According to Baker, Smith explained God is not a jealous God or a vulnerable God. "I think that my role and purpose is to seek and to share. People tell me 'I feel the same way.' The book in a lot of ways is wrestling with doubt," he said about the experience.
Finding hope in Hollywood.Can one find God in the midst of scandal gossip, sexual promiscuity, money, materialism in the land of Kardashians? Baker admitted that these stereotypes hold validity. There is a lot of worship of wealth, the self and of narcissism. "That goes hand-in-hand with the entertainment industry and the celebrity-industrial complex as I like to call it. It's a stereotype because there's a tremendous amount of truth to it. At the same time, there is the spiritual practice, spiritual seeking and spiritual desire that exists in town." He also mentioned that his pastor started his church in a living room a few years ago and now they have service at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hill every week with 2,000 people in attendance. "There's something happening. I am part of that hunger, I really do feel that humans want to know God." People are seeking the truth in their lives like anyone else. Kris Jenner goes to church and like many other people, she's not sure what happens when we die. But she believes in something bigger than herself and is hungry for a connection.
Where he stands.Baker is not 100 percent where the pendulum will swing in his spiritual journey. "What I believe right now is religion, for the most part, is similar to languages and just like we have 100s of languages that we devised to communicate with each other, we find religion as a language to communicate with God. My feeling is that these religions are attempting to connect us to the same God. I think I found God, but I don't know which one of these labels are true. I have to be okay with where I am right now."
No matter what you believe or what religion you are connected to, we all are infinitely part of the universe. All people have a purpose in life if they choose to follow it. By finding God, you will understand your passion and path. If you're not sure where to find God, that's fine. You're not alone.