- Al Michaels
I admit that I can be a little too concerned of what others think of me, especially unbelievers. I can focus a little too much on seeming cool and okay with everything. I can be fickle in my beliefs. And that is something that I need to figure out with God and allow him to work in my life.
That being said, I firmly believe that what we do in this life is more important than we are taught to believe. And I don't think it's particularly biblical to only look ahead to eternal life. Yes, we need to be ready and to prepare, but God left us here for a purpose. And he created life and this earth and he thought it was good. So, to be like God and to be holy means to also think life and this earth is good.
It always irritates me to the core when I'm in a group of people and the worse person of that group is a christian. They can be mean or rude or outspoken or prideful. They're jerks. And the rest of the group- though definitely not perfect- are more compassionate, level-headed, thoughtful people. I get embarrassed to be on the "same team" at the christian honestly.
(I am making a lot of generalizations and blanket statements, I know, and there are a lot of Christians who are some of the best people I know. Those are the people I want to be more like and surround myself with. But, I proceed.)
We christians are so consumed with our "total depravity" and "no good in me"-ness that sometimes we use that as an excuse to not change. We've gotten this idea that this life doesn't matter and it's all about our heavenly home and we have neglected to just work on ourselves as people. Today. We leave all the work to God. He's "changing us from the inside out." So we let ourselves be the angry, mean, racist, sexist people we are because we are totally depraved. The only good in us is Christ.
We are not good people. We are jerks. And that is not a good thing. That is not just us "understanding who we are a part of Christ". No, Christ came to die for us so we could put those parts of us to death. We won't be perfect, and there are plenty of jerks out there who aren't christians, but we should be the best people in the room not the worst. We should be the kindest, the most loving, the most compassionate, the most forgiving, the most understanding because JESUS was all that to us.
It's not okay to just go around talking about how "totally depraved" we are and do nothing about it. Yes, we're sinful and evil. Fix that. Work towards holiness. And that doesn't mean that we need to be more judmental and righteous and make sure everyone lives to our standards. No, to be more holy means to be merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. That is God describing himself in Exodus 6. Wanna be more like God? Be that. He says himself to leave the vindication and judgement to him. That's the part he doesn't want us to be like.
There are ways that I could be more unashamed of God and the gospel, but I will never apologize for trying to be a better person and caring about this world or this life. Don't be a jerk. Be a light of the gospel to a dying world. Be kind. Be loving. Help someone out physically, not just spiritually.
I just read the uber famous play by Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,and it's one of those plays that stays with you. For me, it was partly because the whole play I was thinking "what the heck is this play about?!" or "what is going on?!". But, it's also due to the fact that the play is incredible and it's not easily forgettable.
There are a lot of plays I wish I had written. This play is definitely on the list. As a young writer, you hear a lot of "that wouldn't happen" or "this doesn't make sense", etc. I'm not arguing these aren't valid points- because they are- but one day I want to write a play where I get to make all the rules and I get to say what would and wouldn't happen and, when people read it, they say "okay, yeah I believe that."
The given circumstances in this play are kind of ridiculous. The play begins at, like, 2 in the morning where the characters have already been drinking at another party. George and Martha, the first couple, invite over the second couple, Nick and Honey, for there own little after party. They basically drink all night long which means that by the end of the play they are probably three levels past drunk. But, you also believe that they are the most honest they've ever been. You don't for a second think they're gonna wake up in the morning and not remember what happen or just chalk it up to another drunken night. These events have lasting consequences on their lives.
The characters are outlandish but strangely very human. At first, I was thinking that no one talks this way and no one is this cruel, but then the whole time I could picture people I know who are these characters. They may not act like these characters, but they could. And that's the point. Albee was able to write real people who do things and say things that most people would stop themselves from doing and saying. But, they are not too far from reality.
Albee also uses dialogue to walk all over you. It is so weird but it flows so well and the whole time I was just in awe of his ability to take out-of-this-world circumstances, characters, and dialogue and make a beautiful play from it.
I read up a little about the play after I finished because I wanted to try to understand everything. Once you finish the play, in my experience, you feel like you have a better understanding of the whole thing than you did at the beginning. (That's kind of a "duh" statement, but true.) The play wraps everything up so nicely and drops a bomb that destroys everything all at the same time. It's awesome. But, reading about the play, the analysis talks about your typical, familiar story of social pretenses and taking off masks. SO many plays are about that. (It works, I guess). But, for me, what I took from this the most was the power of words and the power we gain through our words. The stories they told, the secrets they revealed, the insults they poured out on each other all were ways to gain power and to keep power. And George ends up winning the power, sorta ironically since he is the weakest at the beginning, by speaking things into existence that, because of the understood "rules" between Martha and George, could not be unspoken. He got what he want through his words. Ugh, it's so good.
Those are some of my initial thoughts and take-a-ways. I'm curious for others who have read this play what they took from it.