faith & art

THEATRE AS AN ART FORM

Having grown up auditioning for shows and taking classes in acting, singing, and dancing, I am no stranger to the stage. The dichotomy of my life is seen in two different venues: theatre and the church. I grew up in a Christian home, and always had a love for the arts– yet the two never seemed to be able to come together in my mind. It was not until the beginning of my junior year at MBI, that I realized theatre and the church needed each other. I had grown up having a strong community in the theatre. The church had always claimed they had a similar community, but for whatever reason, this was only seen in word and never in deed. I have spent the last year and half specifically trying to understand how theatre (demanding vulnerability and truth in expression from its members) remains so detached from the church (who claims they demand vulnerability and truth in expression from its members). Personally, I want to continue to pursue theatre;  thus the scope of this paper has been to understand how I, being united to Christ, can minister to others and faithfully use my talents.

Currently, the relationship between self-identifying Christians in the church and theatre arts could be described as rocky at best. Theatre is an art form and must be viewed and examined from that categorization. Theatre is incarnational: the vulnerable embodiment of what is true and real, and thus, ought to be embraced by Christians. Theatre is an authentic expression of human life in a broken, yet redeemed world (Brand & Chaplin 144), and it allows for its audience to share the experience of human-ness in the same time and venue.  Furthermore, theatre is an entirely biblical practice and is well supported by the Scriptures.

Theatre is fascinating medium in art, in that there is not a real grade between good theatre and bad theatre. Many art forms, especially in the fine arts category, leave room for discussion and subjectivity in their analyses. Theatre, on the other hand, does not. An audience shares a joint experience of a good theatre performance or a bad one. Not many people debate whether what they just saw was true, real, or vulnerable– they know. This is not to say people will not debate whether or not they liked the performance, as much as it is to say whether the performance objectively was a good one or a bad one. An audience knows when it is being patronized or condescended…or worse, when the show is selling itself out. They can tell when the art form refuses to do the medium justice and presents a cheap and invulnerable piece of pseudo-art (art that claims the title, but refuses to deliver the quality associated with the name). To put it bluntly, everyone knows when they have seen a piece of true art or if they have witnessed the lack of it. This is something distinctive about theatre that is not available in any film or fine arts projection. Theatre is a nearly miraculous experience that occurs every night of the show. An audience of strangers arrive at the same place, gives their time and attention to the actors, and remains present to be affected by the performance. They all share the same experience in the same time and place as each other. This is something entirely absurd that occurs nearly every day in our post-modern, individualistic culture. To have an audience present at the stage is different than having an audience present at the cinema. Theatre is a shared experience between not just the actors onstage, but also with a new and different audience every night. This experience is only enhanced by the vulnerable, raw connections that should be developed through the message of the show. The audience is able to engage with the actors and receive their vulnerability. This cannot occur at the cinema. The actors are not live and in person there; they are present onstage. Thus, theatre remains a uniquely vulnerable media form.

THEATRE IN THE CHURCH…AKA SKITS

In the 1990s, the church began to realize the ability that theatre had to affect its audience. Expectantly, churches decided to engage the arts in their services. Willow Creek was one of the first out of the gate when it came to drama. Pastors began encouraging their bodies to volunteer for drama ministries. Publishers like Lillenas (A Christian non-profit publisher), began selling ten-minute drama pieces, skits, to churches. Product was made readily available for the church that established a ministry. Then, something happened. When the volunteer actors got on stage, church members sat in their pews and shifted uncomfortably looking at each other. The volunteers onstage realized they were not entirely certain of what they were doing. There was a tragic and real disconnect between the desired message and the actual portrayal in the performance. Congregations felt awkward and uncomfortable while watching the performance. More was being communicated by the act of “putting on a skit” than by what the actual message of the skit was supposed to be. Drama ministry did not deliver what everyone assumed its potential to be. This was for a number of reasons. To begin with, including drama in the service was a new and different experience. Church bodies had trouble adapting. Subject matter was another issue. Many churches wanted the drama to reflect the sermon topic (not a terrible idea) but the degree to which each skit accomplished this was up for debate. Churches had to decide what kind of material they would portray onstage, including pieces that did not include the name of God. Church bodies realized that the audience was unable to receive the purpose of the dramas. For whatever reason, whether it was the subject matter, the cliche scripts, the untrained volunteers, or a combination of all of them, churches recognized that drama was not worth the effort it was to produce.

The irony is that churches were dissatisfied with the medium: drama, when the fact is, churches decided to make the medium: skits. Skits are an entirely separate entity from theatre. Skits are generally short scenes, in which the actors establish their relationship, some kind of conflict, and then find some resolution. There are not miniature plays. They are not one-acts. They are two-fifteen minute scenes in which actors attempt to develop their characters in reasonable ways. For whatever reason, when the church saw theatre and wanted to use it powerfully, they said: “Let’s do skits.” Yet, skits are not an accurate example of theatre, nor should they be expected to communicate as powerfully as a two-hour drama. The expectation on the five minute skit, performed before the sermon, is too high and wrongfully placed. Drama was never meant to be a medium that could effect any kind of audience, on brightly lit Sunday morning, for five minutes, before a sermon. Drama is about the ability to give words flesh, and to embody that which is true and real in vulnerable ways. Developing all of that, takes time and it takes skill. Skits simply are not up to that task. In order to communicate effectively, the medium must be respected. The right to be heard in drama, is a right that is earned (Brand & Chaplin 74). For more information on skits, please go here.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK LOOP

As one creates and decides what kinds of messages the medium communicates, one has to consider the audience. This was something that most of the drama ministries of the 90s failed to take into account. In mass media, there is a term known as the: audience feedback loop. This is a phrase used to describe the interrelationship between the medium and the audience. In a marketing sense, the medium persuades its audience to think or believe some sort of message. The audience receives that message and either accepts or rejects it, which in turns sends a similar message back to the medium. The audience may accept certain parts of the message and reject others, but regardless, the medium receives a response from its audience. The medium then tailors their message to fit the audience’s response, generating a feedback loop. Although clearly seen in advertising and the television market, this is not a quality unique to the networks. It can and should be considered when looking at theatre and other mediums. The audience and their response must be taken into account when articulating the message.

The use of theatre in the church can be a great example of this loop in action. The audience (the church body) is a determiner for what material should be portrayed onstage (by the actors). Understandably, this can get convoluted– people are selfish and are not always are of what is needed. Yet, this feedback loop can be used to promote healthy discussions and broach difficult topics. The emotions and development of the audience is important to consider when choosing content. Those in leadership of drama should talk with other church leaders about topics that are relevant for the Body.

THE SACRED AND SECULAR

The conversation surrounding themes is easily woven into an examination of the sacred and secular. “Sacred” and “secular” are terms which often seem to weave their way into the church. Yet, there really is not a place for these terms to be held in juxtaposition with each other. Defining theatre as incarnational: that which embodies something else–in this case, things that are true and real–makes it difficult to segregate art into a categories of sacred or secular. The word “incarnation” is primarily used in Christology, and Christ himself reigns as the prime example of the difficulties found in classifying something as secular or sacred. By the Jewish Leaders’ standards, Jesus would have been incredibly secular. He hung out with a group of sinners, worked on the Sabbath, and (in their view) blasphemed. Hardly one Pharisee of the day would have ever called him sacred. Today, Christians would immediately call Jesus sacred. He was the son of God. He has to be sacred. Yet, Christ was not just the son of God, he was the embodiment of God in human in form– as a man. The idea of incarnation is utterly juxtaposed against categories of “sacred” and “secular”. One cannot categorize the incarnation. It was. It is. One cannot simply say: “If man is secular, and God is sacred, then Jesus was both.” It doesn’t work like that. The incarnation is far and above mere categories and appearances. The incarnation is God clothing himself in human flesh — flesh that has only been known as depraved– and reconciling and redeeming it. Words like sacred and secular don’t cut it with Christ.

These thoughts can be reflected in the theatre. It is an art form. Art is art: created by God. Art communicates. True art is holy, good, real, vulnerable, and right. There is no category for poor versions of that. That which is not holy, good, real, vulnerable, and right is not art. The best that it can be labeled is a “pseudo-art”.  Theatre will take on different forms– there is no cookie cutter mold in which it fits. Yet, if it does embody the true and the real, then it will communicate and it will be holy. Ultimately, art is not defined by the word sacred as it lies in comparison to the word secular. It’s not an “either-or” categorization.

In creating content and applying the artist’s individual talents to pre-created content, there is responsibility on the part of the artist: the responsibility to produce and involve themselves in work which is worthy. The artist should be involved in that which is truthful and real. Onstage, this would be a piece that contains truth about humanity and reality, and does so in a richly vulnerable way. There is an essential holiness to this kind of truthful, incarnational expression. One has to rely on the Holy Spirit and trust that he is faithful in one’s using of their talents.

Many Christians fear generating content that is not inherently redemptive or evangelical. With a message as powerful as the cross and as life-changing as salvation, it is easy to only portray stories that are representative of that biblical message. Yet the Bible is filled with stories that are not redemptive. It is full of people who were sinful, depraved, and broken. Now, there is a tension between glorifying these choices and accurately representing them. But, this is a glorious tension to hold. Life is messy and filled with loose ends. Christians are unable to give their content credibility if their content is merely the idealist longings for a perfect world. Christians must live in the tension of “already, but not yet” and depict content that is true and real. This means that Christians will have to wrestle with sin and salvation, brokenness and beauty, and grief and godliness. Christians cannot make pseudo-art if they hope to touch the human spirit. Pseudo-art cheapens the costly grace that is bestowed upon Christians, and cheap grace is grossly offensive. Francis Schaeffer notes:

Once we understand that Christianity is true to what is there, true to the ultimate environment–the infinite personal God who is really there–then our minds can freed. We can pursue any questions and be sure we will not fall off the ends of the earth. (9)

TRUE, REAL, & VULNERABLE

This discussion of the church as venue for which the medium, theatre, generates content is an important one, and leads to the point: Christians in the church should be embracing this medium as one that is powerful to embody the true and real in vulnerable ways. The Biblical Views essay that was mentioned at the beginning of this essay, is a great resource to understand from where these categories of true, real and vulnerable have come. Obviously, this culture needs truth. Truth is what sets people free (Jn. 8:32). Truth is real and it exists. The reality of the world and culture ought to be steeped in truth. The idea of real-ness, is expressive of living honestly. The fake smiles and false personalities that are so often associated with Christians are sad defense mechanisms that have become a large part of the Church’s reputation. Christians must present what is real–even if it is ugly and feels unsafe. Sin is ugly. Life is not safe. A broken world can tell if Christians are faking it or if they are living with integrity. Finally, vulnerability is attractive and needs to be offered to this world that is drenched in cynicism. The example of Christ is enough for Christians to move forward with vulnerability in expressing the true and real.

The gift of theatre to the church is amazing! Theatre is a medium that is designed to communicate words on a page, and to do it in a vulnerable way. Now, this is not a call for every church to sit down and establish their own drama ministry. There will not be a manual at the end of this page for church leaders. This is a call to acknowledge the power of theatre, to recognize that it can communicate better than a sermon, and to understand that it can touch an audience and motivate them to life change. If a medium like this exists, then it would be foolish to forgo its use out of fear. Drama can be used outside of skits on Sunday mornings. It can be brought into a church by an outside troupe. It can be visited by Christians in the Church at an outside venue. And yes, sometimes it should be produced within a church setting. Finding and producing content that is true and real within a church should not a problem. The major lack that is seen in most churches is the ability to organize and train actors. This is something that can be done easily if there is genuine interest and commitment to the program. The goal must always be to remain a vessel of communication, to allow God’s truth and reality of his created order to be communicated in vulnerable ways. There is risk in vulnerability. Rejection waits behind every turn. Still, God in his omniscience did not refrain from pouring out his divine love, although it received no return. He did not fear and created out of love. This is how theatre must be done. It must be a creation of love and intentional vulnerability. The love for the audience and the message must be so deep that the actor is willing to expose himself to the pain of rejection. It is only by this commitment to the true, real, and vulnerable, that the audience will be truly touched. In an interview with Evan Hill, a Christian actor he notes:

In the theatre, what is elevated from the mundane is the existential moment of decision.  The dramatic artwork is necessarily constituted by shambles, by the immensity of struggle.  If it weren’t for this conflict, theatre would not exist.  And what fascinates us is the possibility inherent at any given moment within the decision.  Every decision is pregnant with possibilities, every decision within the play counts, every decision could lead to ruin or redemption, to villainy or heroism, and the consequences are seen as clear as a vein close to the surface of the skin.  And so man, within the dramatic artwork, is handed back the irrevocability of his choices, the very firm reality that he affects the world about him, that he carves himself into history with every jot and tittle of his life.  And for the audience member, they see always before them, in the shambles of the play’s world, which is their very own, the possibility of redemption.  This, in the sunniest plays, may seem to be possible amidst men.  In the darkest of plays, only by the hand of God.

Theatre is easily woven into ministry. It is the ministry of the actors to develop real, vulnerable relationships with each other and their audience, regardless of the message. Obviously, when the medium of theatre is brought into a ministerial, Christ-focused setting the space for ministry is astronomical. As already discussed, theatre allows for a unique experience of human connection. The audience is physically present with the actors who are physically present, and the audience is there bearing witness to the experience of the actor onstage. When the Girl (in András Visky’s play, PORN) finds out she had a miscarriage and experiences that pain and grief, the audience experiences that too: live. There is a relationship that is developed and exchanged between the actors and the audience, and this giving and receiving is beautiful. When this occurs within a church body, where there should already be real and vulnerable relationships present, the audience can be ministered to even further. A true community is formed. This community of shared experience, of shared humanness, is necessary for all humans. In a church setting, a community like this should already be existing– if it’s not, then that is another problem. Regardless, the already established church community mimics and enhances the community developed between an actor and audience (see Josh Grudziecki’s essay on Community). This shared experience of what it means to be human is expressed in the medium, and can be a platform to generate discussion and truth speaking.

A REAL SHOW– A REAL CREATION

I have witnessed this several times over in churches, theatres, and other random venues. Specifically, over the last three years I have been a member of Ad Vivum: a traveling drama team of Moody Bible Institute. We have gone to various churches and youth groups and have seen firsthand the power of God in theatre. This last year, we did an original show with select songs from various sources that centered on the theme of identity. The script expressed truth and presented real-life situations in a real-life way. We didn’t pull any punches. At the end of the show, many loose ends were left loose. Life is like that. We embodied some of the heartbreaking issues of life and left ourselves emotionally exposed for all to see. It was so difficult. As an actor, it was exhausting. Yet, because we were faithful to doing what God has called us to do, it was worth it. Our audiences were touched and the conversations that were sparked were incredible blessings and times of refreshment and truth speaking. Theatre is truly incarnational, embodying the true and real in vulnerable ways. If we as Christians truly claim that we desire to express what is true and real, and that we desire to be vulnerable, then it would be utter foolishness to remain detached from a beautiful art form that possess those abilities inherently. I believe that theatre only contributes to the beauty of vulnerability that is seen in community with others and with Christ. Thus, theatre as an incarnational expression of the true, real, and vulnerable ought to be embraced by the body of Christ, which is the church.

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Works Cited: 

Brand, Hilary, and Adrienne Chaplin. Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts. Carlisle, UK: Piquant, 2001. Print.

Hill, Evan. E-mail interview. 9 Dec. 2012.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2007. Print.

Schaeffer, Francis A. Art & the Bible: Two Essays. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973. Print.

Visky, András. Porn. 1989. A Butterfly. Trans. Erzsébet Daray and Ailisha O’Sullivan. Romania: Visky, 2012. Print.

Bibliography:

Brook, Peter. The Empty Space. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Print.

De Bertodano, Helena. “Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited, 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/self-help/9536381/Brene-Brown-on-the-power-of-vulnerability.html>.

Esper, William, and Damon DiMarco. The Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique. New York: Anchor, 2008. Print.

Harris, Max. Theater and Incarnation. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2005. Print.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Colorado Springs, CO: Shaw, 2001. Print.

“Lillenas Drama – Article: LDOL: About Us.” Lillenas Drama. Lillenas Publishing Company, 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.lillenas.com/nphweb/html/ldol/articleDisplay.jsp?mediaId=2351626&catSecCd=ABOUT&nid=ban&mediaReview=false>.

Melissa Lorraine. “Scenework.” Drama in Ministry Spring 2011 Class. Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. 21 Feb. 2011. Lecture.

McGiven, Erik S. “Vulnerability– The Actor’s Choice to Be Authentic.” EzineArticles. SparkNET, 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://ezinearticles.com/? Vulnerability—The-Actors-Choice-to-Be-Authentic&id=7334694>.

McHugh, Adam. “Why Most Pastors Won’t Tell the Truth.” ChurchLeaders.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/preaching-teaching/148831-why-most-pastors-won-t-tell-the-truth.html>.

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.

Praying Skit. Perf. Ana Lopez, Al Piemental, Caral Ann Perez. YouTube. YouTube, 25 Apr. 2008. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5DbfWD29Es&gt;.

Rookmaaker, H. R. Art Needs No Justification. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1978. Print.

Ryken, Philip Graham. Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Pub., 2006. Print.

Schmoyer, Tim. “The Power of Vulnerability.” ChurchLeaders.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-blogs/147480-the-power-of-vulnerability.html>.

Taylor, W. David O., ed. For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010. Print.

Vander Pol, Kelly. “Afraid To Be Vulnerable-Afraid To Be Silent.” Christian Reformed Church. Christian Reformed Church In North America, 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.crcna.org/news.cfm?newsid=2270>.

Watts, Murray. Christianity and the Theatre. Edinburgh: Handsel, 1986. Print. Wilson, J. One of the Richest Gifts. Edinburgh: Handsel, 1981. Print.

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A Biblical Perspective Essay

Theatre is a point of contention is some Christian circles, and understandably so. It has been monopolized and drenched in culture, and that can be terrifying to approach for Christians. Christians must take a long look at Scripture and see what the Word of God has to say about theatre and its members before choosing to ignore or embrace this medium. Given that theatre is an art form, it should be engaged and examined in that category. From there, the medium of theatre can analyzed scripturally. Finally, acting and its role in truth-telling can be reviewed. It is essential for Christians to understand the impact that theatre can have in communicating the True, Real, and Vulnerable.

To begin with, theatre must be examined in its genre– the fine arts. However art cannot be boxed up easily into the “secular” or “religious” categories in which it so often finds itself. The nature of art is incarnational: the embodiment of what is Real, True, and Vulnerable. When art remains committed to the expression of the Real, True, and Vulnerable, it has done its job; it is good art. When it denies its nature and produces fake, dishonest, and invulnerable art, it should be classified as bad art. Being incarnational at its core, art cannot truly be secular: “All true art is incarnational and therefore ‘religious’” (L’Engle 19). Bad art is bad religion. It cannot be extracted from religion and called secular, because it is an incarnational activity. Furthermore, art is a form of communication. It should always be communicating and drawing forth the Real, True and Vulnerable from the chaos. Art which merely duplicates the chaos of the world surrounding it is not art. Art should be a cosmos in the chaos (L’Engle 8). This kind of art cannot be solely categorized as “Christian”, which is often the temptation of Christian artists. If it were possible to label art “Christian” then there would be a very big problem in labeling the beautiful, worshipful Psalms that were written prior to the birth of Christ. Art that does not communicate remains a lifeless puppet in the hand of the artist. Because art is incarnational and good art will reveal the True, Real, Vulnerable, then art that ceases to communicate has a serious problem.

Now, it is possible to move to a discussion about biblical views on art, specifically seen in the medium of theatre (an undeniably representational art form). In general, Exodus 20:4-5 is a widely cited passage when it comes to the shunning of representational art:

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.

Yet, looking at Leviticus 26:1 brings some clarification: “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” “To bow down to it” is key here. Furthermore in Ex. 25:18, God gives instructions for two golden cherubim to be fashioned and placed in the Holy of Holies. From these passages one can clearly see that it is not the making of representational art that is prohibited, but rather, the worship of such images (Schaeffer 20).

The Scriptures not only condone the making of art, but the gifting of artists. In Exodus 31, God calls Bezalel and Oholiab to be artists, and to work on the tabernacle (v. 1-6). They were not called merely to build, but also to design. The fact that God calls these men to be artists is incredible. God was present giving Moses all the instructions for the tabernacle, but God did not call Moses to build it. Moses was a prophet– not an artist. From these examples, one can see that the artist’s call and gifting comes from the Lord. God did not just call any man to do the job of beautifying the tabernacle. Exodus 26:1 and Exodus 28:3 both speak of the work being done skillfully, and by men who were skilled. Clearly, God gifts people in particular ways and uses their giftings for his glory.

Scripture does not stop with the fashioning of cherubim, however. Ezekiel speaks of God directing one man to use drama to communicate a message:

And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel. (4:1-3)

God was calling Ezekiel to build a “set” and perform a story. This was a simple drama enacted before the Israelites. Ezekiel was asked to perform this drama once a day for over a year (4:4-7). This was all done in an effort to show Israel the judgement God would bring. It is evident that drama and storytelling do not go against Scripture.

Looking back to the nature of art as that which embodies the True, Real and Vulnerable, it is easy to apply these ideals to theatre. Theatre should communicate that which is True, Real, and Vulnerable. Biblically, Christians are called to think about “whatever is true” (Phil. 4), “walk in truth” (Ps. 86:11), and “speak the truth to one another” (Zech. 8:16). If this is expressed onstage, then inevitably this will lead to not only the Christian’s love of portraying redemption, but also to an expression of the brokenness in the world. This expression of the broken should not terrify Christians, because Christ is Lord of all (Col. 1:16-17; Matt. 28:18). Everything belongs to the Lord, including theatre. Madeline L’Engle notes: “To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all” (27). Moreover, the Holy Spirit works through darkness and painful emotions to expose sin with the light of Truth and Grace. Thus, theatre is a thing of beauty and can be used to bring glory to God.

Finally, In a discussion of theatre it would be remiss not to speak of the inherent truth-telling that is present in the very definition of acting. William Esper, author of  The Actor’s Art & Craft; a book that explains the Meisner Method to the modern reader says “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances” (18). Truth is not an option when it comes to theatre, it is vital. Esper further notes “without truth a piece of art fails to touch the human spirit” (19). Thus acting that communicates the True, Real, and Vulnerable has the power to touch the human spirit and is therefore powerful… and dangerous. The Christian artist who is involved in theatre, must be discerning and be able to differentiate the True from the false, the Real from the contrived, and the Vulnerable from the impenetrable. In this way, Christian artists can have an incredible impact in theatre because they know and recognize the truth of human existence (brokenness with redemption). Now, they must be motivated to do so with courage.

The theatre is a beautiful art form that strongly impact its audience. It is fully supported in Scripture, and ought to be warmly embraced by Christians. Understandably, Christians have been unsure of what kind of subject matter is appropriate to express, and how to even touch a medium that has been steeped in culture. The answers to those questions are also found in Scripture. Truth must be expressed– Christians are commanded to proclaim truth. Moreover, God gifts and commands people as artists with particular skills. Acting is living truthfully in imaginary circumstances. Since acting is a quality inherent to theatre, then theatre is automatically equipped with the potential for greater truth-telling. For Christians that still fear the power that theatre has or the culture in which it’s been steeped, it is crucial to remember that Christ is Lord of all. Because theatre is art, and art is incarnational, theatre has the power to embody and manifest truth. Thus, it is essential for Christians to understand the impact that theatre can have in communicating the True, Real, and Vulnerable.

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Works Cited

Esper, William, and Damon DiMarco. The Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique. New York: Anchor, 2008. Print.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2007. Print.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Colorado Springs, CO: Shaw, 2001. Print.

Schaeffer, Francis A. Art and the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006. Print.

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