top of page

Pastor's Message - June 2024

Years ago, I was active in university and community theater, including a stint as the Artistic Director of the historic Arden Shakespeare Guild in Delaware. I left that all behind when I moved to the New York City area, where there were more than enough aspiring theater professionals. Besides, my job in the tech industry kept me extremely busy, at one point working almost sixty hours a week, and that when not traveling.

Still, I got a chance to dabble in theater in a limited way. A theater educator in my home state of Virginia heard about my experience in amateur theater, and invited me to direct an “All State” production of high school students for the Thespian Society's annual gathering. So it was that students traveled from all over Virginia, and I flew down from the city, for full weekends of rehearsal.

The students had mostly been taught “method” acting at school and in community theater, a misleading name for one approach to the craft. The “method” actor tries intensely to “become” the character, to lose themselves in the identity and experiences of the character. Some of your favorite actors use “method.”

I despise it.

You are an actor. You are on a stage. At some point, someone is going to flub a line or a prop will malfunction. You are not going to know what it is like to be one of those young Montagues or Capulets unless you live in real fear that you might be gunned down by a member of a rival family when you leave the theater.

Method, to me, is self-absorbed, when your only reason for being on stage is that patron in the fourteenth row who had an awful week at work and forgot the cupcakes for the bake sale and had a flat tire on the way to pick-up Mom from the airport. But for the next two hours or so, you are going to lift her out of all that and into a world of love and magic, or tragedy and vengeance, or Norwegians who never stop talking.

I am not going to know what it is to be Hamlet. I will never know what it is to be black in America. Or a woman in a patriarchy. I do have a narrow window on oppression as a gay man, but on the scales of social privilege, I come out on the plus side.

This month, as we celebrate LGBTQI+ Pride, I challenge you to listen to the stories. Things have changed since I came out during the AIDS Crisis, when friends were dying, sex was criminal, and marriage nothing more than a dream. But things have not changed for everyone. Countless young people continue to suffer at the hands of bullies, whether those bullies are in the pulpit, in the high school locker room, or are sitting at the dinner table.

The struggle, for dignity and love, is not over.



bottom of page