A Godless Fundamentalist: Chapter Ten – The Unraveling Begins

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by John Ellis

As 2002 began, I found myself living in Atlanta, GA. Over the previous three years, I had made some minor alterations to my grand plans. Having fallen in love with performing on stage, my goal was no longer to become a movie star. I was now focused on a career as a theatre actor. And from my perspective, I was on the cusp of achieving all my goals. My life was going great.

My Christian upbringing was a distant memory that rarely troubled me. At parties and rehearsals, I would often mention that my dad was a fundamentalist Baptist minister to the great delight of those around me. I would regale them with tales from my time as a student at a Christian school and BJU, and they would chortle at my mocking depictions of people from my past.

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The Public Theatre’s Assassination of Donald Trump and the Hypocrisy of Conservatives

 

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by John Ellis

The New York City Public Theatre’s famed Shakespeare in the Park finds itself embroiled in controversy over its production of Julius Caesar. Utilizing a contemporary setting, the theatre obviously intends for the audience to see President Donald Trump as Julius Caesar, or vice-versa. From the red tie, blue suit, penchant for tweeting, and the iconic “Donald hair,” the Public Theatre is making a not-intended-to-be-subtle statement with the portrayal of the character Julius Caesar. If you’re familiar with the play, you then know that Trump/Caesar is assassinated in Act 3 scene 1. For the record, I’m quite confident that the statement the production team is trying to make is not that President Donald Trump should be assassinated. More than likely, the statement revolves around things like authoritarianism and political violence.

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My 2017 Reading List: April

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by John Ellis

After the month of April, my goal of reading two hundred books in 2017 may be out of reach. Having read nine books last month, my total for the first four months of the year is fifty-one. This means that I will need to read one-hundred and forty-nine books during the remaining eight months of 2017. At an average of 18.6 books per month, it’s doable, but highly doubtful. To be fair, in April I began reading Paul: An Outline of His Theology by Herman Ridderbos. That dense tome has eaten up (in a good way) much of my reading time.

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National Endowment for the Arts: Adding Insult (bad art) to Injury (stealing from taxpayers)

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by John Ellis

After announcing the topic of this article, a friend tweeted me, “Winning friends and influencing people!” His tweet recognizes that this is a topic that many, if not the vast majority of artists do not want to consider. I get that. When your rent payment is dependent on subsidies from taxpayers, you don’t want to even think about messing with the source of much of your income. But a group of people no wanting to consider something doesn’t mean that the thing shouldn’t be considered.

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When Talents, Skills, and Dreams Are Idols

presbyterianchurch_optby John Ellis

Society has convinced many professing Christians that self-fulfillment is one of the highest goods. Unfortunately, that belief runs counter to the Bible’s call for Christians to die to self and to surrender their rights for the sake of the gospel. Many Christians, however, have willingly swallowed that lie and allow the pursuit of their dreams and articulation of their talents prevent them from serving God in the local church. That attitude once characterized my perspective, but, in His kindness, God changed my dreams and taught me that my talents are subservient to serving Him.

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How to Watch a Play

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by John Ellis

It’s probably not a secret that actor’s egos tend to be incredibly fragile. Of course, if it’s not a secret, it’s because actors talk about the fragility of their egos on a fairly frequent basis (this actor included). Agonizing over poor reviews, deconstructing vague comments from the director, and attempting to interpret the audience’s response (or lack of response) all seem to be as much a part of the craft as memorizing lines, attending rehearsals, and getting drunk at the opening night party. Several weeks of an entire run were almost ruined for me by an audience member’s comment to me at the opening night party, “Wait! You’re in the play?! I had no idea!”

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