Untitled Document

Handbook Appendices Forms Theatre Scholarships For Theatre Majors, Minors, and Intendeds University Theatre Handbook Table of Contents Theatre Home

A.1.c. The Christian and the theatre.

Question Five: Why would a practicing Christian even want to be involved with theatre?

There are any number of good reasons why anyone is attracted to participation in theatrical art.  But as in most arts, it isn’t for the money!   Whether as a career or vocational activity, nobody becomes actively involved with theatre unless they find it satisfies some need for creation or expression which cannot be fulfilled in any other way.  Usually the individual who stays involved does so because they discover they have the talent to be at least moderately successful in the undertaking.  And they discover that the theatre allows them other incentives, such as personal pleasure, meaningful social interaction, and an outlet for service to the community.

This all can happen at a very early age, as if some people are destined for the role.  Many can’t remember when they discovered their artistic instinct.  Most theatre artists have always been theatre artists, but must gain the techniques to polish their expressive abilities.

So why would it be any different for a Christian?  The form itself is sacred if our use of it is sacred.  Is there a trepidation concerning the theatre environment?  We’ve suggested answers to that above.  We can only argue that any human enterprise is subject to misuse.

There are, in fact, some cogent arguments which can be made (but not in total for this abbreviated discussion) that a theatre-gifted Christian has an obligation to actively pursue the art.  A simple, teasing listing of four or five will have to suffice:

Christians are commanded to pursue the dissemination of the gospel.  In much evangelical thinking, this is limited to the pronouncement of sacrifice and salvation, usually accompanied with strong denunciation of sin.  While this is certainly appropriate, it overlooks the fact that God created human beings complete, and that the purpose of His redemption is to restore them to that completeness.  The gospel, therefore, is the announcement that being fully human, sanctified by sacrifice, is to be celebrated.  The art of theatre is an excellent means of exploring the nature of the human condition, and therefore introducing the claims of completion and change which lay at the heart of the gospel. 

In methodology, theatre communicates through example, abstractions, and metaphor.  Among its many tools for communicating is storytelling, in the manner of parables.  This, of course, was a primary teaching tool employed by Jesus for the dis­semination of his message, and in this sense He opened the use of the method to the spreading of His gospel.  Christians with proclivities for theatre are under mandate to employ it for the spreading of the good news.

The scriptures speak of the “gifts of the spirit” which are distributed to persons for the uses of God.  Among these gifts are those of healing, teaching, preaching, and prophecy, all of which may be applied as effects of the practice of good theatre.  Christians to whom God has given special artistic talents—unavailable to most people—are mandated to offer their use back to His service.  Anything less would be a failure to be a completed, redeemed person.  In this sense, artistry is a call to a worthy sacrifice (and one we are given joy in doing).  Such sacrifice asks us to contribute ourselves wholly in His service, a call we cannot dismiss.

Given the prayerful and careful choice of our involvements, be they acting, play writing, designing, or construction, the dedication of our gifts to of talent to God and the full involvement with our “selves” which the art requires serves as an act of worship, wholly accepted by Him.  This is our reasonable service, one which comes from the core of our being and special abilities.

God created us in His own image.  This is not usually taken to mean that God has shoulders and elbows, and eyelids and other body parts, but rather that we are modeled in spiritual essence and capacities after His possibilities.  A major attribute of God is that of creation: the ability to foresee an end at the beginning, the exercise of choice in causing a thing to exist, an endowment of purpose to a thing which never was and now is.  The artist, as are all persons, is designed for the capacity of creation, and given special tools for a special kind of creation.  We must create in the ways we are directed by our personalities and abilities.  We come to know God by attempting to emulate God-like attributes.

By the teachings and example of Jesus, Christians are instructed to assume the role of servanthood in this world.  Because of the talents we have been given, we are commanded to be complete artist/servants, and by this means fulfill our task in the world in preparation for the next.  Christians so gifted must obey the special call of artistry in their lives.  And our attitude as artists must be that of the servant to those persons around us.


Next Section: A2a: Learning Goals

TRE Footer

Copyright © 2013 Seattle Pacific University
General Information: (206) 281-2000
For information about the arts at SPU, contact Bobbie Childers: (206) 281-2411 bobbiec@spu.edu
For information about arts scholarships, contact Kim Gilnett: (206) 281-3415 kgilnett@spu.edu
For information about this webpage, contact the Arts Webmaster : Webmaster