Browsing All posts tagged under »Jesus«

Godspell (Studio East)

August 14, 2012

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On Friday, August 10th Studio East followed up its smash summer musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with an opening night sellout of “Godspell” over at the Studio East Mainstage Theater in Kirkland. Boasting a cast of over twenty children and teens, Studio East joyfully takes on one of Stephen Schwartz and Broadways’ most successfully but challenging musicals and succeeds in conveying the heart of the show to an engaged and delighted audience. Clearly Studio East does not shy away from controversial, sensitive or demanding productions.

Before attending the performance, I was familiar with Victor Garber’s performance in “Godspell” the movie but was unsure of what to expect from a live production performed by a cast with an average age of twelve. Studio East surprised me right out of the gate, by the provocative decision to cast a young lady (Jordan Williams) in the role of Jesus. Did I mention that they were not afraid to be controversial? I wisely determined to withhold judgment and give the performance a chance, as by the time the curtain closed, I found myself curiously moved by the production. I will speak to this later in the review.

Perspective Makes the Difference

March 27, 2012

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Have you ever noticed that in life, perspective can make all the difference on how you act, react or judge a situation or person? I’ve recently rediscovered this principle at work in my life. I am not proud of the fact but when I see someone do something which I would not do or ‘not do’ something which I believe they should do; I have begun catching myself as my first inclination is to judge that action in such a way as to ascribe a negative motivation for the action or inaction.

The reason is that whether or not we consciously acknowledge it, we all have an internal barometer or scale which we use to assess ourselves and others against. The fact that all have such an internal measure guide is not wrong in of itself. The main problem with using our own scale to evaluate actions or inactions is that our scale is fundamentally flawed. There are two primary flaws with using our own scales to evaluate ourselves and others against.

  1. Our scale is flawed in that it is biased in favor of us and biased against others.
  2. Our scale uses the wrong measurement criteria.


Let me explain.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part VII)

January 13, 2012

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My first experience of Nairobi was the evening ride from the Nairobi Airport to our hotel. My travel companion and I were exhausted after a day spent traveling; confined to our cramped airplane seats for twenty+ hours, waiting at security screenings and the boarding areas in Seattle, Amsterdam and Nairobi. While physically and mentally fatigued, another long slumbering part of me seemed to quicken and come to life, as I described in Part VI.

The heat of the day had dissipated only slightly, so I relished leaning my head out my open window. Catching even a warm humid breeze was a welcome relief from the stagnant air of the Nairobi airport. Our driver Muhammad engaged us in conversation, telling us about the Nairobi National Park and other notable items as we passed by them, as he deftly navigated his way through a challenging obstacle of people, cars, motorcycles, pot holes, bumps and debris in the road. I marveled as he seemed to know every crack, dip, or bump in the road, slowing for them well in advance. I imagined that he had driven this route many times before.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part IV)

December 31, 2011

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The experience of preparing to go to Africa and my time in Africa was revealing to me that the importance we place on our actions is a misleading one. The motions that we externally go through in this life are less meaningful than our reasons and driving motivation for doing them. It is our attitude and the condition of our heart that moves us to action which is the single most crucial aspect of walking out our faith. God is concerned first and foremost about the condition of our soul more than our vain human attempts to deceive others into believing that we are better than we actually are. Is it not from out of the abundance, the overflow of our heart that the mouth speaks? Doing the right things for the wrong reasons earn us nothing except perhaps the deception of others and their misguided praise.

I am reminded of Jesus’ admonition to remember Lot’s Wife. She heard the message of warning from the angels to leave the city before it was destroyed. She acted upon that knowledge and left the city with her family. She was with people being saved, BUT she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. What’s up with that? It’s not like she didn’t do anything; she at least made an attempt, she went through the motions, she was with others getting saved but in the end she is lost, turned into a pillar of salt. How different is she from the countless folks who dutifully take their seats in the pews of churches each Sunday morning and go through the motions and the rituals of religion without the understanding the spirit behind the actions? They are hearing the message and with others getting saved yet I can’t help but wonder if their fate will be any different than that of Lot’s wife.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part III)

December 30, 2011

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For all my myriad of faults, when I commit to a work, I am invested in going the distance. So when I formally confirmed that I would be going to Tanzania, come hell or high-water, I was going to find myself in Africa. It was then the problems began to pile up. The ‘old’ me would have expected this, but as I mentioned previously, I was just getting my spiritual footing again in the area of service. I should have been familiar with this ‘cause and effect’ process by now, but apparently I had become spiritually rusty as of late.

The principal is this. Whenever someone takes a step of faith, the one thing that you can count on is that problems will begin to surface. It seems as if the entire world, previously occupied in a plethora of various disparate pursuits, is suddenly solely focused on providing reasons for you to second guess your step of faith and the excuses to extricate yourself from the commitment begin to pile up. It’s the Death of the Vision principal. God gives you a vision of something amazing that you can accomplish or be part of and immediately afterwards, the world conspires to killing the vision. At that point, you can give up and walk away; many people do BUT if you move forward in faith, holding true to the original vision, the vision which had died is miraculously resurrected, frequently even bigger.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part II)

December 29, 2011

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Everyone is wired differently. The things that motivate one person may fall flat when used to motivate someone else. I have found that I am wired to be needed. Let me clarify. If someone approaches me with a request that I can’t turn down (the Godfather request); basically telling me that I have to do something, then my first instinct is to dig my heels in and resist, regardless of whether or not I want to do it OR have the spare time to do it. Reason usually wins out in the end and I determine whether or not I can fully commit to the request or not.

However, if someone approached me and I am there last option and instead of telling me that I have to do it, they appeal to me based on their valid need for me to help them out; then I have a hard time saying no to that type of request. It usually leads to me overcommitting myself and stressing myself out, but the service tends to be its own reward. Those of you, who give of your time to charitable works, understand what I mean by that.

Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery: Freethinker or Well Programmed Automaton

September 27, 2011

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Like Rome of old, each one of us knowingly or unknowingly incorporates personal experiences into our existing playbook; the repertoire of who we are and how we interact with the world around us. It can be as mundane and innocent as incorporating lines from movies into day-to-day communications with friends. I can recall how 25-40% of my vocabulary with friends in high school was driven from endlessly repeating lines from movies or television shows like: Stripes, Caddyshack, SCTV, Blade Runner, Harold and Maude, Repo Man, etc. Why, because in that community of friends, it was expected. It was understood that if you wanted to engage with these folks successfully, you needed to have a familiarity with these kinds of movies or shows. People gained their sense of identify from being in that group.