I was recently posed with the question of whether performing the upcoming musical, Fiddler on the Roof, will somehow water down the Good News of Jesus: “Has the Church turned into an entertainment center where people go to feel good about themselves?!” The answer to this inquiry is a very easy, “no,” let me explain.
First, the story centers on a father’s values and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon his family’s lives. Clearly this play is not about Jesus, but the inner battle it portrays sure feels familiar to the daily struggle I’ve had raising my family in such an invasive society.
Second, the beauty about drama (or the arts as some have called it) is that it can open up hearts and minds; it helps us think differently. I believe it’s one of the primary reasons Jesus gave the majority of his lessons about the kingdom in parables; he used lots of stories to communicate His message. Drama has the ability to give vocabulary to feelings that may not have found expression yet: “I’ve felt a certain way, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was I was sensing until I saw this… my situation is kind of like that!” (Pro. 20:5)
As a pastor, I have always believed that making people laugh can be a great way for a person to relax and let his or her guard down. When that happens, conversations can take place at a deeper level. I have found that humor is a great way to help set the stage for allowing God to move. A play or other production often creates the common ground needed for that “seed planting” conversation to take place. (1 Cor. 9:22)
There are actually numerous other good reasons to do dramas, skits, plays, festivals, and musical presentations at the church beyond the Gospel presentation on a Sunday morning.
They all use the gifts of the people in our congregation. I can’t dance. I can’t sing. I don’t play an instrument. But I can act (kind of). God has given me the talent and ability to get in front of people; and we’re all using those gifts so that Jesus would be honored and God would be glorified. And the cool thing is this: no matter what your gift is, there is a place in the Church which allows that gift to be used for Kingdom Work.
There’s also all the exposure these events bring. First is the basic exposure to our location; many people simply don’t know where to find us. So many times I hear comments like, “I never knew all this was down here.” These events also allow exposure to “church people;” to see who we are, as Jesus’ followers, outside of a Sunday service (worship, teaching, offerings, prayer, etc.). For the community to see our community, beyond the weekend liturgy, somehow is able to challenge the stereotype so many people have of the religious person, “These people are more like me than I thought.”
I hope that you will consider attending Fiddler on the Roof. It’s not just a occasion to enjoy a night out at a classic Broadway musical (at Santa Clarita prices) but it’s also an opportunity to bring a friend and have deeper conversations about issues that concern us all including our own TRADITION!
…and now people will also know where 26444 Friendly Valley Parkway is located!