Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Did You Hear? A Gossip Drama

I thought it would be good to share some resources that I have developed for Worship. The following is a drama that I wrote as an introduction to a sermon on Gossip using Ephesians 5:25-32

AUTHOR: Rev. Jay Slocum
GENRE: Comedy/ light drama
TIME: 4 minutes
THEME: Gossip, Resolving Conflict
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: Matthew 18:15-17 Ephesians 5:25-32
SUGGESTED USE: Designed to set up a sermon on gossip, conflict, or the use of the tongue.
SYNOPSIS: Two women share gossip over lunch, only to find minutes into the conversation that the very subject of their gossip is walking toward them. Their rumors end up spoiling lunch for everyone. The scene freezes and the next scene opens with two men who meet at the Water Cooler to share information that ends with a third party being saved from the poisonous consequences of gossip.
CHARACTERS: Scene One Laurie: A hopeless gossip.
Jen: of similar age- needs to be physically fit.
Melissa: young and dressed professionally.
Scene Two Ed: A hopeless gossip.
Jen: This time Jen refuses to collude with others and confronts Ed.
Rich: Needs to be a fairly young salesman who dresses very professionally (shirt and tie).
PROPS: Scene one: a table, 2 chairs, table cloth, and menus; Scene Two: a water cooler, small office copier, or just a table with papers on it.
COSTUMES: Everyone should dress professionally. The drama takes place on lunch break and at the office.
SOUND: five wireless microphones
LIGHTING: General stage
SETTING: A restaurant and an office common area like a mail room, break room, etc.
DIRECTOR'S TIP: Scene One- Laurie feeds off gossip and has a very hard time with her tongue. She should be someone who is not quite pushy, but who can be very forceful due to her love of “News.” Jen, of course is the conflicted one. She does not love to gossip, it’s just that she struggles sometimes with stopping it when it comes her way. Jen should be fairly generous and forgiving in her nature (a cup is half full person) and not comfortable with the gossip that she is engaged in. Melissa is sensitive and in a very real sense, the victum. She should be able to pull off being someone who might be envied because of her physical appearance, and able to communicate hurt to the audience. This drama will work best if Laurie is able to be become pushier and more eager in her gossip as the drama unfolds. Jen should become more and more conflicted and nervous as it unfolds. And, Melissa should be able to “drive home” the hurt she feels when she finally realizes that she is being talked about. Scene Two- As Jen returns to the office, she is faced with

Scene One: “Table Talk”

Laurie: Hey Jen, sorry I am so late. Did you order already?
Jen: Laurie! Hey! Yah, cheeseburger platter and a diet coke, as usual.
Laurie: Oh, I hate how thin you are Jen. You can eat anything and get away with it.
Jen: Fast metabolism I guess.
Laurie: Speaking of thin, did you see what Melissa was wearing yesterday?
Jen: Melissa Shook?
Laurie: Yah! I mean, who shows up at a Saturday play date with their two year old wearing three inch pumps… and that skirt…
Jen: Come on, Melissa’s nice. Anyway, you know how it is. She’s lonely. You know, I heard she really wants to get re-married.
Laurie: Well, who does she think she’s gonna meet at the park at noon? The way she was dressed, you would think that she was taking her son to happy hour at The Bluffton Ale House (a well known local drinking establishment). Jen: (Feeling a bit uneasy and wanting to redirect the conversation) Do you know what you are going to order?
Laurie: Yah, Cheeseburger platter and a diet coke, as usual. (Laurie spots Melissa seated across the room at a table. This should be an “imagined table.”)
Laurie: Oh my Gosh, Jen look! It’s Melissa. No, don’t look, she might notice us. Jen, she’s (leaning forward in a whispering voice) with an older man. Wow, Melissa must really want to get re-married, this guy is like old enough to be my dad. Oh, this is too good.
Jen: Laurie, I don’t think we should…
Laurie: (Very excited but trying to look like she hasn’t seen anything). Act totally natural, she’s coming this way.
(Melissa enters and begins to pass, not seeing Laurie and Jen) Laurie: Melissa! Hey, it’s so great to see you. Oh, I just love your shoes! Can you join us for lunch?
Melissa: Thanks, but I am actually just leaving. I’ve got to get back to work before my boss kills me.
Jen: (trying to save Melissa,Jen’s responds in a hopeful voice) Having lunch with a friend?
Melissa: Sort of, yah.
Laurie: Really (showing great interest). Is it a guy?
Melissa: Well, sort of.
Jen: That’s great Melissa…we don’t want to make you late...
Laurie: Come on, Jen, not so soon. Is he cute?
Melissa: Not exactly…. I mean…
Jen: It’s none of our business! Have a great day Melissa!
Melissa: Actually, I was just meeting my father-in-law for lunch.
Laurie: (looking perplexed). Wait, I heard (correcting herself) thought that you were divorced.
Melissa: (Looking a bit wounded) No. David died of throat cancer. It all just happened so… Arthur, David’s dad, he flies in every year for our anniversary. I kinda feel like I am getting a part of David when… And ever since David’s mom passed away it really helps Arthur…(She tries to hold back tears). Hey, it was nice to see you, but I really got to run… See you at play group next week? (She leaves quickly.)
Laurie: Sure, we’ll see you at play group (in a deflated tone).
Jen: Yah (mumbling) I uhm, see you at play group. (Putting down her menu)Look Laurie, I am not really hungry. I think I will just go back to the office.
Laurie: I guess I am not really hungry either. (The two get up and exits stage)

Scene Two: “The Water Cooler”
(Ed walks up to the water cooler or copy machine, etc. at work. Jen follows him in.)

Ed: Good morning Jen.
Jen: Ed, (Extending her hand to shake) how are sales this week? Sorry I missed the sales meeting. My twelve year old had an orthodontist appointment. Your team still number one in sales?
Ed: Not this week. (Sounding annoyed)
Jen: I am Sorry, Ed I guess I kinda just expected that you would be number one again. You and your guys work so hard. You really put in the hours Ed.
Ed: Well, I don’t have to worry about family like you do Jen.
Jen: No I guess not. Well, have a good one. (Tom begins to walk away).
Ed: Sure… (Ed catches him with his hand) Hey Jen. You know that new guy, Rich?
Jen: Yah, Rich McCloud. Isn’t he on your sales team?
Ed: Exactly. Yes, he is. And, do you want to know why we aren’t number one this week.
Jen: Actually, I am not sure I do... (cutting him off)
Ed: Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because of that car.
Jen: Huh? Look Ed, I have no idea what you are talking about, but I think you need to talk to Rich. He’s a good guy. Our boys play soccer together.
Ed: Well, maybe you ought to take a minute next time your at a game to look at this guys car. Not that it’s ever my business what kind a car a guy chooses to drive. In fact, I didn’t even notice his car until this week. Have you seen it.
Jen: I thought he drove a…. (cutting him off).
Ed: Yah, a rusted out 90’ Accord with a bad muffler and a roof rack on top.
(This is a description of the pastor’s car. It is a heap. If there is someone on staff, youth minister, etc. that you can use, describe their car.) Jen: No. Look, if you have a problem with Tom, why don’t you go to him and talk to him. In fact, our kids have a game tonight. I’ll be sure to tell him you think his car is hurting sales.
Ed: Tom, I thought we were friends.
Jen: We are Ed.
Ed: Well then, why do you want to go and say something to Rich. Everybody knows that a slaesman’s image is as important as his product. What do you think costumers must think with him driving that old beater around. It’s bad business.
Jen: I will tell him you said that Ed. And, you know, I will tell him because I am your friend. Look, Ed, if you talk behind Rich’s back to me then I am gonna feel weird around him. Just be honest and tell him what you think…
Ed: (Having a minor blow up) You know what, I will. I’ll tell him exactly what I think of that buggy he’s driving and the impact it’s having on our sales team.
(Rich approaches the water cooler with an empty glass.)
Jen: Rich. Boy am I glad you’re here. (Confiding in Rich) Hey, Ed has something that he needs to talk to you about. (Ed is behind Rich passing his pointer finger over his neck to indicate NO!) (Tom Exits).
Rich: (Turning to Ed, who goes from making the no signals to smoothing out his hair). What can I help you with Ed?
Ed: Buddy! Well, it’s really nothing, but, uh, well, I was just, well, wondering if maybe you were struggling with, well, finaces and stuff (he pulls out a wad of bills).
Rich: Huh?
Ed: I don’t know how to say it… I mean its just that I am wondering if maybe the company, or maybe some of the guys could help you with car payments or something. I don’t know. Maybe chip in and help you lease a nice four door. Those new Chryslers are supposed to be real impressive. A new car could really help your sales.
Rich: My sales? Lease a car? Chip in to… Oh, the Honda. (Rich begins to laugh). You mean that old beater that I’ve been driving.
Ed: (looking relieved) Well, yeah. How do you get costumers to even get in that car.
Rich: Oh, Ed that’s too funny.
Ed: (Now annoyed) What? What?
Rich: Ed, it’s not my car. I borrowed it from my pastor while the transmission in the suburban gets fixed.
Ed: Oh, well that solves it.
Rich: Yah, well thanks for your concern.
Ed: No problem.
Rich: All right. Well, see you at next weeks sales meeting.

Lights out.

Feel free to use this drama for your own service, just be sure to reference me as the author.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Am I Poor

“When we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what that is really like.” “It is like a small child going to his father and saying, ‘Daddy, give ME a sixpence to buy YOU a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.” CS Lewis Mere Christianity

My time! Do not waste my time... really? Who's time is it? Since I cannot add a single hour to my day and since I cannot manufacture time or reproduce time or get any time back, I am laid bare and brought to complete humility. We are capable of so much. Yet, we are creatures and all that we "possess" is pure gift. Thank the one who made you today. Thank the one who made you capable of doubting him, rebelling against him, rationalizing him away if you wish. All has come from God and all will return to God.

In My Country

Not knowing about what is happening in our world is dangerous. It can cause us to become provincial, spoiled, short-sighted. For the past few months I have been watching films that document what life is like around the world in order to keep my eyes open. I find that I really need to feel and see and know about the pain of the world, the suffering of the world, and the joys of the world in which we live in order for my heart to stay alive. As a Christian, I believe that my Master wants me and my people to go into the whole world and to spread Good News- that though the world is bleak and dark, there is forgivenss, freedom, and a way to break free from the oppression of darkness. Even though I am presently bound to a country, and a state, and a town, and a place, I have found that there are some films that have "opened my eyes" to see the realities of this massive world in which we live. here are a few eye openers to consider.

Rabbit Proof Fence The story takes place in Western Australia (1931). For 100 years the Aboriginal Peoples have resisted the invasion of their lands by white settlers. Now, a special law, the Aborigines Act, controls their lives in every detail. Mr. A. O. Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, is the legal guardian of every Aborigine in the State of Western Australia. He has the power "to remove any half-caste child" from their family, from anywhere within the state.

Hotel Rwanda When the world closed its eyes, he opened his arms. Don Cheadle stars in the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

In My Country Can the deep wounds of Apartheid be healed through reconciliation? A story charting the unfathomable depths of human cruelty and the redeeming power of forgiveness and love.

The Killing Fields An American citizen is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody "Year Zero" ethnic cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million "undesirable" civilians.

Sometimes in April In the African nation of Rwanda, in 1994, Hutu nationalists began slaughtering their brothers and sisters (Tutsis) over the course of the 100 days. The resulting death of almost 800,000 has made this one of the darkest times in African history. Sometimes in April is powerful, revealing and could open your eyes to things you may never have imagined could happen in the world we live in. View a scene from Sometimes in April.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bob2J: A Double Surprise

It was one thing to walk into my office on a Friday afternoon and find, to my absolute surprise, a limited edition 24" BMX cruiser staring me in the face after realizing that only fifteen where left in the United States the night before. It brought back memories of receiving my very first "real" bike at age eight. The memory of opening the door of my grandfather's tool shed on my eighth birthday and hearing my whole family say, "surprise," while I stared at a brand new orange Montgomery Ward 20 inch bike with chrome fenders and a banana seat, flashed through my mind and flooded me with very familiar and very
happy memories.

Still, it was quite another thing to find a note attached to this amazing machine and realize that the surprise gift had come anonymously from my own Band of Brothers, men that I love and would happily stand in front of a moving train for if it was required. Reading the note, and discovering that dear friends had given me this gift was the equivalent of having my whole family saying "surprise!" on my eighth birthday. Subsequently, one of the main reasons I enjoy bikes so much is because it was through an amazing act of love from my family that I found my way into BMX. There could have been no more powerful way to surprise me than to stick a bike that I have been dreaming about behind a closed door.

About a month ago in a sermon, while illustrating
how love is always sacrificial and giving towards others, I mentioned a certain bike that I had been chasing down, but chose to ignore in order to better love my wife, family, and community. Men from the Band of Brothers, to whom I am unbelievably grateful, went and chased down one of these Limited Edition Shadow Conspiracy X invisible man 24" BMX street cruisers and delivered it to my office without me ever even having a clue that they where conspiring to love me in this way. Their love and sacrifice have left me overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation. I love the bike, but the words and the expression of love that these men have shown me is a magnificent expression of the love that Jesus showed to his friends, a sacrificial and costly love. The gift FROM the Band of Brothers (BOB) is the greater gift. So, to all of you brothers in BOB, you have lifted my heart to new heights. Thank You!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

1400 Things the Lord Said to Me

Most of the time, being a pastor is very rewarding. You pour the life and heart that God has given you into the lives and hearts of others and you see amazing things happen. Then there are times when, well, being a pastor is very discouraging. Sometimes, like when you have just received a very discouraging message on your answering machine, you just need to laugh. Laughter helps us to gain perspective and to heal. Here is an audio clip called Hello Pastor that will make you laugh, and it might even make your day. It sure made mine.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Decoding the Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code has sold more than 40,000,000 copies. This is a popular book and I am sure it is having an impact on how people across the globe view Christianity.
Below is a a response to Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code:

The following Links are very helpful:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Hall of Contemporary Reformers

Reformed theology never fails to remind me of the central message of the Bible- the battle belongs to God and all that we do is in service to His mission. The Monergism website and their amazing The Hall of Contemporary Reformers is a must read for hungry believers and weary evangelists. The list includes great men like MacArthur, Ferguson, Sproul, Piper, Horton...