We Got Spirit, Yes We Do…

Our church drama team touts that we look for: “Artistic excellence and spiritual depth.” (Please remember that we don’t say we always achieve excellence and depth, only that we strive for it…)

There are two big reasons to look for “spiritual depth,” one practical, and the other stupid. I will start where I feel most comfortable – with stupid.

It’s not a stupid reason, so much as a reason because of a stupid thing. And the thing is:

People, like cats, chase after shiny objects.

People want to be like shiny people — movie stars, celebrities, sports personalities – pretty much anybody up in the lights.

There is a synaptic misfire in the brain that goes from, “Gee, that person can walk all around the set without bumping into the furniture” straight to “therefore, their life philosophy must be fantastic, and I want to be just like them!”

Thus the sportsman who said, “I’m not a role model, I just play baseball,” may have understood his own psyche, but not that of the rest of humanity. “Role model” is not a job one applies for.

A person is a role model just ‘cuz people are looking at them.

Whether you are Mother Theresa or Madonna.

It’s not logical; in fact, it’s stupid. But there it is.

Even on a smaller stage – like the front of a church.

That’s why Paul said, “Hey, if you want to be a leader in the church, you have to work harder at being Christ-like than everyone else. ‘Cuz people are stupid, and no matter how many times I tell them that I ain’t a saint, they copy me. And they are going to copy you as well, thinking that you’re ‘all that.’ So if they copy you copying me copying Christ, we have a shot at becoming better people rather than people who go out partying and drinking and then drive on the freeway the wrong way with a suspended license.”

I may have paraphrased that a bit.

So, the church drama team. The team stands in the lights in front of the congregation.

People see them and say, “Oooh, shiny. I gotta get me some of that shine.”

And they start Xeroxing. Not just what they see on the chancel, but what they see in the nave, the apse, the grounds, the parking lot (where Christianity is rarely found), the freeway, the restaurants, the workplace, and, well, pretty much everywhere.

Now if the people in the lights have spiritual depth, maybe (just barely “maybe”) they will be copying Christ while in the parking lot, and it won’t be such a bad thing to have people chasing after them.

More likely, when the shiny people screw up in the parking lot (by using words like “screw”), their depth might lead to a level of humility or grace or contrition that shows that even though we are all screw-ups, we can always be striving to be better.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get fewer copies of the screw ups, and more copies of the grace.

Just my thoughts,



3 responses to “We Got Spirit, Yes We Do…”

  1. Anonymous says :

    I know how auditions work for acting or technical ability, through running lines, or seeing how someone takes direction or operates a piece of equipment, or looking at their video — but how does your drama group audition for spirituality? What questions do you ask? What positive or negative behaviors or attitudes do you look for? Is there any one thing that is a reliable predictor of a spiritually solid person? Do you check references? This seems like a really hard thing to gauge.–Randy

  2. Gaffney says :

    Most tech savvy churches now have “spirit-o-meters.” They work much like breath-alyzers. Breathe into the tube, and it measures how much spirit a person has.Yes, depth is perhaps the most difficult thing to gauge — and I won’t claim to be expert at it.We do talk a bit about a person’s spiritual walk; we mingle during breaks; we do check references on occasion; we lean on our more spiritually sensitive members (which is one reason our entire team is in on auditions, and not just the director); but mostly we rely on prayer. And lots of it.Some indicators: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  3. Thany says :

    I have been sending my readers to you-many of them singers and actors and this sub-topic was the one they were most concerned that you hadn’t addressed yet. I was happy to read what you wrote and have to admit that I hadn’t thought about taking spirituality into consideration with my drama team. For a Worship Team-absolutely. But to take it one step further, even in my church where our drama team is only “up front” once or twice a year it is still important that their walk with God is where it needs to be.Excellent.

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