Weekend Reading: 10/6

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by John Ellis

This past week has been dominated by news and stories about Brett Kavanaugh. If you’re like me, you’re tired of reading about it. In fact, I strongly considered muting on Twitter any words associated with the Kavanaugh hearings, allegations, and investigations. I didn’t, of course; as a writer, I kind of can’t. Thankfully, there were interesting articles published this week that had little to nothing to do with Kavanaugh. Below are some of the articles I found the most interesting and/or edifying from this past week.

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#BelieveWomen Versus the Presumption of Innocence


shame

by John Ellis

You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord you God is giving you. Deuteronomy 16:19-20

During a test over the state capitals, my fourth-grade teacher accused me of cheating. Walking around the classroom, she noticed a piece of paper sticking out of my crowded, disorganized desk. That paper happened to be a previously taken quiz over the state capitals. While my classmates left for music class, the teacher held me behind.

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Christian Liberty: Christians and the Use of Recreational Marijuana


marijuana

by John Ellis

Does the recreational use of marijuana fall under Christian liberty?

That’s a question that’s being asked with increased frequency, and a question that will most likely cease to be abstract for churches in the near future. Jeff Sessions isn’t going to be Attorney General forever. Once he’s gone, the winds appear to be blowin’ strongly in the direction of the federal government’s legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. At that point, the above question will no longer be able to be placed under the interpretive authority of Romans 13:1.

So, what is the answer to the above question if and when the government’s prohibition of the recreational use of marijuana is lifted?

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Holiness Should Not be Self-Serving: The Purity Culture’s Sins


purity culture

The Purity Culture is not monolithic. There were/are faithful Christians within the purity movement/culture that genuinely want(ed) to help train youth to pursue godliness. However, good intentions do not excuse poor teaching, much less excuse outright sinful teaching. On the flip-side, whatever missteps or even sins that were committed within the movement does not excuse any person’s rebellion against God. One day, upon the return of King Jesus, no one will be able to say, “It’s not my fault that I didn’t repent of my sins and place my faith in Jesus. It’s the purity culture’s fault.” 

by John Ellis

Without any trace of shame, my friend turned on his barstool, looked me in the eyes and said, “I regret not having had sex before I got married. I only know what it’s like to have sex with one woman and feel like I’m missing out.”

In the aftermath of his confession, as I attempted to explain what was wrong with his thought process, I could tell he wasn’t listening. Not that it would’ve made a difference if he had heard me. His almost total worship of the god of Sex had consumed him, and his liturgy of lust was unassailable.

A couple of years later, an affair brought his marriage to an end.

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Christian Apologetics as Interactive Theatre


APOLOGETICS 3

by John Ellis

The brilliant director, acting teacher, and theatre theorist Peter Brook opened his seminal book The Empty Space with these well-known sentences:

I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.[1]

To be fair, those sentences are probably not well-known to most people. But most people aren’t theatre artists. And in the world of theatre, those sentences hold a place of prominence and respect bordering on sacrosanct. Sadly, in my experience, while many of my theatre colleagues expressed love and admiration for Brook’s opening sentences, few took his teachings in The Empty Space with them as they entered in to the making of theatre.

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Unfinished Theatre Business


empty theatre

by John Ellis

The first time I truly stepped through the fourth wall while acting, merging the world of imagination with the world of reality, I was terrified. So much so, I almost didn’t make it to my seat at the table where expectant, half-smiling audience members sat, staring at me. Every instinct I had was screaming for me to stay behind the door jamb serving as a stand-in for the proscenium arch.

No bright stage lights. No break between seats and stage. No flimsily constructed set where I lived and which the audience was only allowed to observe from a distance. No tacitly agreed upon relationship that kept me over here and the audience over there. There was nothing to hide behind as I sat down and began the play, making eye contact with the audience as I spoke directly to them.

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Alarm Clocks, Skinned Knees, and My Mom’s Magic


band-aid-on-knee

by John Ellis

My mom possessed some sort of secret magic. Through some sort of wizardry, she made herself indispensable to me when I was a child. At the time, I believed myself to be fierce and independent. Preparing to battle invading commie armies, daydreaming about outwitting kidnappers, and plotting ways to capture dangerous wild animals, I didn’t need my mother I would scoff to myself. Only babies and wimps need their mom.

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