Posted by jlwile on September 30, 2013
I love studying and writing about science, especially as it relates to Christianity. However, I do have other writing interests. For example, every now and then, I write a “drama” for my church. Usually, these “dramas” are more like skits, and their purpose is to drive home a point in the pastor’s sermon. For yesterday’s service, the pastor wanted something that illustrates the fact that we are more likely to help lead people to Christ if we aren’t judgemental towards them. As I prayed and thought about what I would do, I decided to bring out the “Box of Sin.”
The "Box of Sin" is a nice device to use in Christian drama.
This is a device I use every now and again in my dramas. It is just a cardboard box that has the word “Sin” on it, but it is a great way to symbolize a person being lured into sin and becoming trapped as a result. You can use it for many different kinds of illustrations, such as the way I used it in the drama below. As with all of my dramas, feel free to use this one in any way you think will serve the body of Christ. I would appreciate a credit if you use the drama mostly as written. However, if you take the idea and make something relatively new, please don’t feel the need to credit me.
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Posted by jlwile on May 13, 2013
Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and we did a special drama at church to celebrate the occasion. I wrote the script many years ago, and the drama was well-received when we performed it. I generally don’t like to repeat dramas, but it had been so many years since we had performed this one, I assumed no one would remember it. I also think the drama is meaningful and touching, so it was worth doing again. The mothers obviously agreed, as several sniffles were heard once the drama finished.
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there!
The idea for the script came from an old Jimmy Dean piece I heard when I was young. He talks about going through his wallet and finding a bunch of IOU’s to his mother. I adapted that idea to a young lady packing up her dresser as she heads to college. I hope you enjoy it.
As always, feel free to use this script in any way you think will be meaningful to the body of Christ, but I would appreciate a credit.
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Posted by jlwile on April 1, 2013
Easter Sunday is a big deal at my church. This is fitting, of course, since Easter is the most important holiday in Christendom. As 1Corinthians 15:14 reminds us:
and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
Because we want to make Easter Sunday worship special, we put a lot of work into all parts of the service. This year, I was once again asked to write a short drama to communicate some truth about Easter. Below the fold, you will find the script of what we ended up performing.
Before you read the script, I want you to know three things. First, feel free to use this script in any way that helps you provide a meaningful experience for your fellow Christians. I would appreciate a credit, but the script is not copyrighted in any way. Second, I have only three or four original ideas when it comes to drama, so I tend to recycle them quite a bit. If you remember my previous Easter drama, you will find the basic premise and even the final line to be essentially the same. Nevertheless, I do think the drama presents a profound truth about Easter in a meaningful way. I hope you agree. Finally, this script was made significantly better with the help of Diana Waring. Without her help, the ending would not have been nearly as effective.
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Posted by jlwile on December 21, 2012
"The Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst (Image in the public domain)
This will be my last post until after Christmas, so I decided to share one of the many Christmas plays I have written over the years. It is tough to do a good, original Christmas play, because the account of Christ’s birth is so well known and has already been depicted in many wonderful ways. However, I have taken a few stabs at it over the years, and the PDF you will find linked below is my latest attempt. We performed it at my church a few years ago, and people seemed to like it. More importantly, I do think it has a somewhat original take on the meaning of Christmas.
If you have read my other scripts, you will see that the play starts with my favorite device: a boring church service being interrupted by something unexpected and exciting. It is also heavy on monologues. Not all of my plays are like that, but when depth is called for, a monologue is one of the best devices I can use. I also tried to add humor to the script, because people need to laugh, even when they are considering weighty truths.
While you obviously don’t have time to use this play for this Christmas, feel free to use it for a future Christmas if you like it. Please give me credit for the script, and please buy the proper accompaniment track or music for each of the songs so that you perform them legally. Also, if you know of other songs that have the appropriate messages, feel free to replace the ones I have listed in the script. I suspect that the play could be done without music, but I do think the songs add to the message.
What is Christmas All About?
Posted by jlwile on October 1, 2012
While one of my favorite things to write about is science, I do touch on other topics from time to time. For example, I have written several Christian dramas. I posted two of them on this blog (here and here), and I hope to post more as time goes on. This is my latest addition. It’s called “Sing Those Old Hymns with Feeling,” and it presents the inspiring stories related to some of the classic hymns of the Christian faith. As these hymns get older and older, it gets harder and harder for many Christians to be inspired by them. In my opinion, that’s unfortunate. I find many modern Christian songs to be inspiring, and I enjoy singing them in church. However, I find many old hymns to be inspiring as well, and I also enjoy singing them in church. It was my hope that by presenting some of the stories related to the hymns, people in my church would find them more inspiring.
Horatio Spafford, author of "It is Well with My Soul." (Click for credit)
I started the play with one of my favorite devices: making the congregation a little uneasy. The worship leader got up and dropped her music so it spilled all over the floor. She muttered under her breath as she knelt down and gathered up the mess of music. Then, in a very unenthusiastic way, she asked the congregation to join her in singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The pianist started playing, but the melody was “I’m a Little Teapot.” The worship leader stopped the pianist and very impatiently told her that we were singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The pianist began to play, but she played it way too slowly. The song was allowed to go on for a few bars, and then someone from the congregation jumped up and started yelling for it to stop. He then went up front to tell the worship leader that this hymn is very important and should be sung with feeling. That’s when the meat of the play began.
Through the course of the play, the congregation learned the stories behind seven of the great hymns of the faith: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “It Is Well with My Soul,” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “When the Roll is Called up Yonder,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me, and “Revive Us Again.” All of the stories are inspiring in their own way, but my favorite is the one behind “It Is Well with My Soul.” I have written previously about how Christians should deal with tragedy, and I think the author of that hymn, Horatio Spafford, is a perfect model for how it should be done.
Even though this script has nine characters, we used only six people for the performance. All three female hymn writers were played by one woman, with small changes to her costume for each character. Two of the male hymn writers were played by the same person, but in fact, all four of them could be played by a single man, if he is good at memorizing lines! Please feel free to use this play in any way that you like, but I would appreciate a credit if you use it (or a part of it) in any public presentation. Even if you don’t do dramas in your church, you might want to read the stories. As I said, they are very inspiring! The script is given in the following PDF file:
Sing Those Old Hymns with Feeling
Posted by jlwile on April 9, 2012
I have a little-used category on this blog called “Christian Drama.” It is there because from time to time, I write dramas that are performed at my church. Back in January of 2011, for example, I wrote a 25-minute drama based (very loosely) on the end of John Newton’s life. It turned out pretty well, and I posted the video here so that others might enjoy it. Since then, I have written a few dramas for church, but I didn’t consider any of them worth posting.
Yesterday, of course, was Easter Sunday, which I consider to be the most important Sunday worship service of the year. I was asked to come up with a short drama for the service, and I agreed – with some hesitation. The problem with writing a drama about Easter is that it’s hard to come up with something new. The account of Jesus’ resurrection is so important to the Christian church that it has been written about, preached about, and depicted in all sorts of different ways. How do you come up with something that is original and at the same time meaningful?
Well…here’s what I did. I decided to present a fictional (but maybe plausible?) presentation of Easter from Pilate’s point of view. Pilate was governor of Judaea at the time, so it fell on him to order Christ’s crucifixion. His wife warned him to “have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him” (Matthew 27:19), but he felt pressured by the crowd to order Christ’s execution. I suspect that as time went on, he regretted that decision. I wondered how he might deal with that regret. I then wondered how Jesus might have helped him.
Below the fold you will find a wholly made-up encounter between Jesus and Pilate shortly after the resurrection. This is not meant to have even the slightest hint of historical accuracy. It is just meant to communicate the gospel’s message of forgiveness. I hope you enjoy it.
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Posted by jlwile on January 31, 2011
An infrequent but very entertaining commenter on this blog is known for thinking that there is just too much science at this stop on the information superhighway. While I disagree, I can at least understand the substance of the complaint. As a result, I would like to post something quite different today. For those who don’t know, I was (at one time) a professional actor, and I have dabbled from time to time in the writing of scripts. Recently, my church asked me to write and produce a “sermon-length” play. I have always been fascinated by the great men and women of Christendom, so I chose to honor the church’s request by writing a play about John Newton.
There is quite a lot of artistic license in the play, but I tried to be faithful to at least the broad strokes of Newton’s life and his abolitionist work. If you are looking for something completely different from genetics, radioactivity, and evolution, perhaps you might enjoy a 30-minute interlude by clicking on the link below. There are a few moments when the video is too dark due to the limitations of church lighting, but those moments pass reasonably quickly. If nothing else, the last three minutes are well worth watching, as they contain an excellent song sung by one of my favorite singers, who also happens to be my wife.
John Newton: A Wretched and Admirable Man
Cast of Real Characters:
Dr. Jay L. Wile – John Newton
Bethany Skipper – Elizabeth Cunningham
Chris Williams – Nigel Bremley
Special thanks to Rose Delph for help with the set, Wayne Thomas and Dan Joyce for lights and sound, and John Flanders for making the video.
Note that I added “Christian Drama” as a category here. I am not sure how much I will do with it, but I leave open the possibility that I will post more on this topic.