How an Atheist and a Vulgar Play Increased My Testimony

I got roped in to loaning my 12 seater van recently. The loan also included loaning myself as the driver to take a group of youth from our Commonwealth School to Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival. That’s a four-hour drive each way. Every year our Shakespeare Conquest group goes down. After watching my three oldest children each take their turn for two or three years in a row for each of them to go, without me, it was finally my turn! I got to continue this family tradition with my third oldest, because he was stage crew for the Shakespeare class. My two oldest went together four years ago for their last time and brought home gifts for all of us, including their newly born baby brother.  They included darling socks with something written about the festival on them.  That’s a sweet memory!

My older children are built-in babysitters and my baby is almost four years old so I am at the point where I can do this kind of thing with just a few days warning. I used to be buried in babies and breastfeeding and could not get away like this. The school paid for my gas and my tickets for two plays! We did a CRAZY thing and went up and back  within 24 hours. Yes, I didn’t go to bed until 4 AM this morning, because the second play didn’t end until 10:30 PM and we didn’t leave until 11 PM.  I got to ride with my friend Aneladee and we talked the whole fours hours down and the whole four hours back. FUN! Doing it this way made the planning a lot easier. We each brought sack lunches and then spent money on one dinner out and didn’t have to stress about lodging. It was nostalgic to visit the Pastry Pub on Center Street in Cedar, which is where I ate dinner five years ago while attending a TJEd conference. I was sad to see the vacant lot next door, where Classic Books bookstore used to be before its building burned down.

The first play was Love’s Labor’s Lost. Oooh, the girls in the play had such gorgeous costumes and hair. Aneladee and I were drooling over the main female lead’s blue gown with the slightly longish train. Here are some of my favorite lines from the play:

“As sweet and musical
As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair;
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.”

“From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”

Such is the power we have ladies!

For the evening play we watched Peter and the Starcatcher. This play is based on the book by Dave Barry. So of course, it was wickedly funny. Some of you youngsters probably don’t know who Dave Barry is. He wrote a funny column for the Miami Herald that got syndicated. He is so popular that his books sold well and he got a TV sitcom based on his column. He’s also rather crude and uses tons of hyperbole, so I stopped reading his column.

I didn’t enjoy the cross-dressing mermaid scene in the play AT ALL, the frequent vulgarities, and the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. But the good news is I do feel this play gave me a huge insight and increased my testimony of Jesus Christ.

The play is Dave Barry’s answer as to where Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy, and Tinkerbell all come from. Just in case you have always wanted to know. I don’t know if the book has all the negative stuff that the play has, and wikipedia claims that Mr. Barry is an atheist. So it’s rather amazing that this play had the power over me that it did because it has a huge Christian insight.

Here’s why:

In the play, Molly, a teenage girl, and the Boy, who later gets christened by a pirate as Peter,  have a running debate about what a leader is. Molly says you are a Leader if you save someone’s life. The boy says a Leader is someone who fulfills his mission. The play involves scenes when these characters have to show their allegiance to these beliefs. Molly had a mission, co-missioned (get it?) by her dad, to get the treasure chest he gave her safely through the sea and back to him. She ends up sacrificing the mission to save a life, because she gives up the chest to the pirates to get Peter back. Then later in the story, Peter sacrifices to free her from the pirates. So she put out good karma and got it back.

I have been thinking about this ever since. Fulfill your mission, or save a life. Does leadership always boil down to an either/or? Does it have to be a choice? Can’t we do both? Aneladee and I discussed it on the drive home and she rephrased it as “truth” (the mission, or being true to what you were originally told to do) vs. “doing what’s right in that moment” (saving a life).

After I caught some much needed shuteye, It hit me this morning that Christ did both! He was the perfect Leader! He did both of these things at the same time. In fact, his mission came from his father, just like in the play, and his mission was to save lives. What greater example is there? He is a double leader, fulfilling both Molly’s and Peter’s standard. I feel the Spirit as I think about it and feel my heart swell. He led the way, and I like to think we can follow Him and do both at the same time too, in our small and simple ways.


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