Month: July 2014

This is a picture from WOOLFIE by Sybil St. Claire as produced by the Fly Community Theater.

Proclaiming the Gospel Through Live Theater

This past weekend saw the opening and closing for the children’s play at the Fly Arts Center here in Shelbyville. On the whole, it was a great run complete with all the triumphs and hiccups – and all the drama on and off the stage – one can expect from children’s theater. The super-critical side of me is butting heads with my other side that believes it’s nothing a few more weeks of rehearsals couldn’t fix. But the audiences really got into it and the kids enjoyed themselves, and that’s really all I wanted in the first place.

I can’t help but to feel somewhat proud because this was also my first time serving as an assistant director, and that’s what’s really special for me with this production. I’ve enjoyed getting to learn the mechanics of working with a director who’s been there and done that professionally (and has even been paid for it). I essentially count it as a stepping stone that will bring me closer to a career of my own. Directing scenes in school definitely helped me out in understanding how a director should prepare (keyword should), and being able to finally use those skills in a public setting is great.

I also loved getting to work with such cool kids. Siblings abounded in the cast, and it was very interesting to see how family ties stood out in the crowd at first but then opened up to allow healthier bonds of teamwork. That’s where the real magic of theater is, I think: taking complete strangers and uniting them with a purpose.

Most importantly, however, I got to see first hand how art can be used to bring people closer to God. Consider this my testimony.

The Message In Woolfie

The Fly Community Theater’s children’s production was Woolfie by Sybil St. Claire. As the action starts, the reputedly “Big, Bad” Wolf – whose real name is Woolfie – is being prosecuted for crimes including, but not limited to, “impersonating grandmothers, blowing down other people’s houses, and gobbling up little girls.” As it turns out, Woolfie is not as “big” and “bad” as everyone believes he is. It’s essentially a morality play that proves that you can’t judge a book by its cover nor a wolf by his fur…and his big eyes…and his big arms…and his big teeth…

Ultimately, the play taps into the universal law of Truth and how everything works out when we cling to the Truth instead our own misled notions. Woolfie is sentenced to death and would have died had not the Truth been revealed and set him free from those chains. Sounds a lot like Jesus own words, right?

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Of course, we all like to let pretense get in the way of understanding the Truth because pretense is the path of least resistance. In other words, it’s a lot easier to believe a lie than it is to accept the truth. And one of Old Scratch’s favorite tricks is using our own momentum against us. But we can battle this by not being swayed by this or that and focusing on God’s Truth – that He loves us and wants us back home with him.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Here’s looking to the next time this all happens again…either in this life or the next.

Advertisements

BABA O’RILEY on Two Harps! (and My First Music Video)


Baba O’Riley by The Who as performed by Beyond Pluck

A while back, I mentioned on my Christian movie review podcast Finding Christ In Cinema that I would be appearing in a music video, and now that video has arrived.

But let me urge you to not just watch the video as cool as is it, but I want you also to listen to the music. It’s a beautiful arrangement that’s as melodically and rhythmically energetic as the original but with a refreshing delivery by two talents harpists (who knew those things existed anymore, right?).

These two ladies are Paula Bressman and Rachel Miller. Check out all their shenanigans at their website: BeyondPluck.com.

This is an image of a typical suburban crossroads. It is a bright, sunny day, and a traffic light hangs over the intersection.

The Parable of the Content Man

Once upon a time, there were three men.

The first man was rich man. He only ate the richest food and wore the richest clothes, and he lived in the richest mansion in the richest neighborhood just outside the city. He often asked, “God? Who is he, and why do I need him?” He lived luxuriously, and he wanted to have it every other way.

The second man was a poor man. He only ate the poorest food and the wore the poorest clothes, and he lived in the poorest cardboard shack in the poorest neighborhood just inside the city. He often asked, “God? Where are you, and why don’t you help me?” He lived desperately, and he wanted to have it any other way.

The third man was a content man. He only ate the food and wore the clothes that the Lord had provided for him, and he lived in a modest house that the Lord had provided for him. He often asked…no, he prayed, “God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.” He lived contently, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.


On one day, the rich man was coming down the steps of one of the finer restaurants in the city; he had food in his belly and more food in his hands.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough food in your hands for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want food, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and sped away.

But as the rich man pulled away, another car pulled to a stop; it was the content man. He got out of his car, ran to the poor man, and explained that he had just been shopping for groceries for himself. He then invited the poor man to his house so he could feed him. The poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.


On another day, the rich man was coming down the steps of one of the finer clothiers in the city; he was wearing a new suit, and he had more clothes in his hands.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough clothes in your hands for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want clothing, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and sped away.

But as the rich man pulled away, another car pulled to a stop; it was the content man. He got out of his car, ran to the poor man, and explained that he had just been shopping for clothes for himself. He then invited the poor man to his house so he could clothe him. The poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.


On a third day, a violent storm was blowing through the city, and everyone wanted to get home or at least somewhere safe until the storm had passed. As everyone was in such a hurry, this caused an influx of traffic on the road, which then became a traffic jam.  And the rich man was stuck in the middle of it all.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s window. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough room in your house for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want a place to live, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and left.

Well…the rich man tried to leave, but he couldn’t because the poor man had actually seated himself down in the middle of the road and in front of the rich man’s car.

Not being able to move around the poor man on either side because other cars, the rich man was stuck even more so than before. He honked his horn, but the poor man wouldn’t move. He revved his engine, but the poor man still wouldn’t move. Finally, the rich man got out of his car and dragged the poor man off the road. The rich man then got in his car and sped away…

…right into the driver’s side of another car. It was the content man who was turning around to pick up the poor man. The rich man was safe and lived, but the content man wasn’t so lucky; he died on impact.


The time then came for the content man’s funeral. Among friends and family were the rich man and the poor man, but each sat opposite of each other and alone.

As the rich man was alone, he asked…no, he prayed, “God, I’m sorry that my attitude has cost this man his life. I am no longer fit to live as I once did. From here on out, I’ll live my life serving my fellow man, and I should be content with that. God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.”

At the same time, as the poor man was alone, he asked…no, he prayed, “God, I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to experience this man’s giving and content nature. From here on out, I know that You’ll give me what I need, and I should be content with that. God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.”

After the funeral, as family and friends were leaving, the parlor became empty except for the rich man and the poor man.

But this time, the rich man ran to the poor man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his clean hands, “I now have enough room in my heart for plenty of people. Will you let me help you?”

And the poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.

fireworks, fourth of july, 4th of july, independence day

Independence Day Processional (2016)

Firework stands are lined up on the road
for an Independence Day processional
selling in circus tents spanned for miles.
The sun is high in the blue,
and the last sparkler has just gone by,
getting ready for the celebration.

Festival fans are lined up on the ground
for an Independence Day processional
sitting in lawn chairs spanned for miles.
The sun is tilted in the orange,
and the last anthem has just gone by
getting ready for the grand display.

Shrapnel shrouds are lined up in a row
for an Independence Day processional
shining in lighted candles spanned for miles.
The sun is evening in the red,
and the last hero hearse has just gone by
getting ready for peace hereafter.

Afterburn clouds are lined up in the sky
for an Independence Day processional
sailing in street lights spanned for miles.
The sun is out in the black,
and the last ave maria has just gone by
getting ready for peace hereafter.

salvador dali, the accommodations of desire, desire, sin, james

A Limerick on Desire

For humans, desire can toll

a sense of success for the soul;

but death will begin

with the meaning of sin:

desire that’s out of control.


This limerick is inspired by a couple of lines from James’s epistle to the tribes of Israel:

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

The featured artwork is The Accommodations of Desire by Salvador Dalí, one of my favorite surrealists.