Performing the gospel | Abide (pt. 2)

Theater and cinema are among the most powerful tools for shaping the beliefs of a society. When doctrine (be it naturalism, deism, do-goodism, or grace) is put to a plot that resonates with personal experiences, it becomes a plausible explanation for those experiences. And when it is an interesting plot, it becomes an attractive explanation for those experiences.

Happy and sad theater masks

English theater director and innovator, Peter Brook, described the minimal elements necessary for theater as: “A man walks across [an] empty space whilst someone else is watching him” (The Empty Space, 1968). In other words, unless you reside in solitude, you are a thespian.

The reality is that you communicate something to your observers (be they co-workers, neighbors, or facebook friends) as you simply live life.

And so think of doctrine as direction for dramatizing God’s goodness to whoever may observe it.

How to abide in it

A “doctrine as direction” and “life as theater” mindset will surely erode the walls which separate “God time” and “everything else” in the life of the Christian. For “living life” is as integrated and all-encompassing as abiding in Christ is.

You can actively abide in and communicate the gospel by your life. Here are some examples of doctrine as direction to get you thinking this way:

The doctrine of imago Dei

When the Christian “put[s] on Christ” (Gal. 3:27), she is in costume for the drama. Resting in him, not stressing about missed quiet times, communicates a robust identity as a beloved daughter of God.

The doctrine of the incarnation

Christ’s incarnation directs Christians to identify with those in their context, affirm that which is good, and engage in love and humility. When all a Christian does are “Christian things,” this direction is ignored.

The doctrine of Christ’s crucifixion

In the example of Christ, we are to act out his crucifixion when we face judgement and rejection. Christ’s direction is ignored when we refuse to sacrifice for others.

The doctrine of the resurrection

Because of Christ’s resurrection, we would be faithful actors to act out such hope in bold creativity and eagerness to sacrifice.

The doctrine of Christ’s mediation

Because Christ pleads righteousness on our behalf, we are to take up the cause of the weak and mediate for those who cannot speak. That means that when others are gossiping about the cranky neighbor, the faithful Christian will speak up on their behalf. Or when there are 163 million orphans worldwide, the Christian will plead for adoptions.

Character and Company formation

Performing doctrine dramatically is not itemized instances of doing pious things. Rather, they are directions for forming character and a company of actors that resemble Christ in a still-unrolling drama of redemption. A life faithfully acted out under the direction of the gospel is abiding. What does the theater of your life communicate?

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This post is part of the series Abide | Robust and Ordinary Life in God

Check the others out!

Bearing the Father’s image | Part 1

Performing the gospel | Part 2

Enjoying the Father’s gifts | Part 3

Renewing your imagination | Part 4

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2 Responses to Performing the gospel | Abide (pt. 2)

  1. Evan Ronken says:

    I worked with a waitress who, despite a negative work environment, performed the gospel every day for over ten years. Her stage; the restaurant. Her audience, countless patrons and co-workers who she was able to tough every day simply through the way she lived.

  2. jamogck says:

    Love it when we get to see such ‘actors’ in action. I didn’t know you worked in a restaurant. Where?

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