’m not sure where the notion comes from that the best way to be a witness of the hope that is within us is to speak so judgmentally about the world around us, but I think it’s high time that we as Christians learned how to engage the culture around us instead of just avoiding it.
Currently, I’m working on the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, a well-known musical that is loosely based on the story of Joseph in Genesis. We’ve been in production for several weeks now, and frankly, I’m having a blast playing the show.
Involved with our production is a youth choir from the region, many of whom are from Christian homes. It’s been interesting to see the different perspective of some of the parents.
One person sent an email out to their homeschool group mailing list telling people that, even though their child was involved in the production, they would not be inviting anyone to the performances. And they pretty much gave the impression that they didn’t think other Christians should see the show, either. They proceeded to explain how they felt the story was not faithful to the biblical account of Joseph, and how the treatment of the incident with Potiphar’s wife was very risque, etc.
Now, let me say up front that yes, it’s a rather suggestive scene. But let’s face it — that’s pretty much what happened! In fact, if I recall correctly, the Bible indicates that Joseph fled the scene less than clothed because he left his outer clothing in the hands of Potiphar’s wife! In our staging of the show, Joesph gets his shirt ripped off, but that’s it!
Now, contrast that with the discussion I had today at intermission with another mother of a child in the choir. She, too, is a homeschooler and Christian, and she talked to me about how much she was really enjoying the show.
Without giving specifics, I mentioned the perspective of the other mother. The response of this mother was, “People aren’t coming to Sunday School when they come to see the show.” In other words, why expect biblical accuracy when attending a play loosely based on a biblical story? Why should that even be something we expect or demand?
That got me thinking about the two perspectives — and how much I can identify with the second response. Rather than judge a non-Christian theatre for performing a play loosely based on a Bible story, I’d rather take advantage of a situation which can spark dialogue. And believe it or not, I have actually been part of several interesting discussions in the green room with cast and crew about this show.
One position says, “Stay away” and the other says, “Let’s put this in perspective.” My question is, if our tactic is to avoid, how do we possibly shine light into darkness? How do we possibly show Christ to a world that so desperately needs to see him and experience his love?
Did Jesus avoid the world? I don’t see how we could possibly construe his actions as anything but rubbing shoulders with people who didn’t even know how much they needed him. And I’ve said it many times before, but his harshest words were for those who thought they were doing God favors!
So, let’s not avoid the world around us. Let’s engage those around us. Dialogue with them. Listen to them. And by all means, if they’re doing something that doesn’t seem right to you as a believer, be mindful of where they’re at! Should we expect someone (or an organization) that is not rooted in Christ to be consistent with Christ in its actions?
I work in theatre. I hear all kinds of language, the roughest of profanity. I see all sorts of lifestyle choices. There are many things that I would not choose for myself. But I can be myself and maybe others will ask me for a reason for the hope that lies within me.
Until next time (whenever that may be!),