Archive for February 15, 2007

Dramamine

February 15, 2007

I love the power of drama. I love theater. I like how it teaches and how it motivates. I love how it brings simple truths to life…sometimes smacking you in the face.

I didn’t grow up artsy. I didn’t grow up around theater. For heaven’s sake, I grew up in North Alabama! Sports. Sports. And more Sports. (And bass fishing.) I played a few roles in some church plays – small scale. That was it. But my senior year of high school I stepped out of my shell – dude was I ever shy – and played Forrest Gump in a Senior Follies skit. Brought the house down. Hysterical. For one day I had everyone in the school saying hi to me. For one day I felt like a popular kid (never was hung up on that stuff).

That experience gave me enough confidence to join a drama team in college. It was through a campus ministries. It rocked. Couldn’t get enough of it. I’ll blog more on the experience sometime. The Word of God came alive. Something that God used in my own life to help shape me and something that helped get the Word deep inside. It was also neat traveling around to churches in AL and GA. The majority of our skits focused on challenging believers to be light. It was a God thing…believe me, the talent level was moderate at best. No fancy production. No lights. Rarely props. Just memorized lines. Simple. But soaked in prayer. A heart for God and a passion for His Word. And God used it. We saw lives changed. Youth confronted with sin. Adults confronted with the need to make changes.

I’ve been thinking lately about how much I miss that. But I’ve also been thinking about who our audience was. And the norm of Christian drama. The vast majority of Christian drama is geared toward the church. For the believers. And there is certainly a place for that. I experienced it. But why is it so difficult to have GOOD creative arts that reaches the unchurched? Is it being done? Yeah, I know about puppets for inner city kids. And street skits for downtown. But is there a push towards churches using their creative arts for evangelistic purposes? I’ll be honest with you. I find it weird that there’s national competitions between church (youth) drama groups. I find that to be boring. I saw a clip of one on tv one time and couldn’t decide whether I should laugh or cry. I think I did both. It just catered to the believers. No missional aspect. Way too churchy.

So, I’m not sure how it can be done, but I think it needs to: Non corny, non cheesy, done with excellence creative arts (a.k.a. good ole drama for us in the south) that challenges the hearts and minds of non-believers. I know it can be done. Maybe it is now. Perhaps the fact that you have church plants in NY and other places reaching the art communities fits the same vision. It’s a start.

By the way, the title “Dramamine” is not a mistake. I was going to make a reference somewhere about how most Christian drama is like the motion sickness drug…but, never fit it in. There ya go.