Monday, June 1, 2009

Using Drama To Worship God. Also, Das Blog Returns, Again.

I know you people!

(Cue Tropic Thunder reference: "What do you mean, You People?")

Yes, I know you so well. You were just pining for another wonderful glimpse into the twisted, convoluted, mirth-inducing, and jawdropping mind of Ian the Pontificator. You were pining, I say: and no wonder: you hadn't had a glimpse in, like, 4 days. So that's, like, a lot. And stuff.

(Of course I know that my "readership" exists only in my mind.)

(No, it doesn't make me crazy.)

Sorry about that. Having a little argument with myself.

So Friday, I went DramaMinistrizing (a real word...BECAUSE I CAN!...look, we'll discuss my right to create new words some other time, okay? I'm in the middle of something.)...Friday, I went DramaMinistrizing. It was enjoyable, I injured my hip slightly, we got to see people praising God through dance, and I established that I can, indeed, play something I'm not (a strong person.)

That last point is important, believe it or not, because most of my theatrical roles so far have been a) crazy, b) egomaniacs, c) pirates, d) emotionally tormented, or e) so small as not to really be developable as characters. You could argue, of course, that I am not a pirate, but I would ask you to search Youtube for "Ian DeJong pirate cutthroat swashbuckling grainy footage walk the plank", and your opinions will be dramatically altered. Yes: I played a bodybuilder, and I felt pretty good about it.

But that's not the point of thish-yar post: I'm going to pontificate on the use of drama to worship God.

Here we go.

Ready for this?

Okay then.

See, the question needs to be asked. More churches these days are replacing proper preaching of the Word with dramatic interpretations of the Word. No churches I attend (thank God), but it's happening. Should this be happening? I recognize that drama can be used in non-worship settings to edify and instruct, but should drama replace preaching to become the focal point of worship?

Part of the problem when looking more at the question is the absence of precedent. For a long time, drama has been considered sinful, despite any explicit or implicit condemnations within the Bible. Thus, any correspondence or cooperation between drama and formal worship is a 20th-century innovation. I think it's fairly clear that although drama sometimes can be a breeding ground for sinful behavior, it's not inherently sinful, and can be used to instruct and edify believers. However, since this was not the prevailing notion for centuries, there is no precedent about the question.

Perhaps the answer lies in the inherent qualities of the respective methods of ministry. Preaching tends to be instruction- and edification-centric, given its essential lecture format. Drama, however, is much more an entertainment form. While preaching's primary goal is building up the faith and knowledge of the hearer, the goal of dramatic performance often is to entertain, rather than teach. In addition, drama has a connotation, an accompanying reputation, as entertainment-focused.

Hearing the Word expounded doesn't have to be boring, and drama can indeed instruct and edify. It just seems to me that drama, while useful in informal worship settings, would be more distracting and less edifying than the proper preaching of the Word. Drama should still be used in especially informal worship settings.

So...that was some pretty heavy-duty Pontificating. At least I thought so. I'm not sure even of my position on the exact place of drama in formal worship. But drama should NOT replace preaching as the focal point of the service.

Long live pontificating!

(It's quite therapeutic, in my uninformed opinion.)

Long live pontificating!

No comments:

Post a Comment