I’m an arts pastor and a working artist. My formal training is in music – piano, voice, and choral conducting, but I branched out as a playwright, sketchwriter, and director. I’ve created theatre for churches, conferences, and performance in venues all over North America and developed theatre with multicultural, multinational teams in the US, Canada, Poland, England, and South Africa.
I went to college at Occidental in Los Angeles thinking I would become a church musician. I was accepted to a really great grad school program…and then God redirected me. The call was to join InterVarsity staff as a creative specialist. I did join, and spent a couple of years not only developing creative worship and other arts ministry but also studying and teaching Mark’s Gospel, Genesis, and other texts using manuscript Bible study methods (see my friend Lindsay Olesberg’s book, The Bible Study Handbook for more).
My admiration of God grew with each study, and my sense of Jesus’ Kingdom expanded as I continued to see him clearly through the text. Creating scripts of these texts was a natural expression of what I was learning and enjoying. I was amazed at how different the stories of scripture looked when we got inside them, when we were able to see what the characters saw. How did the people in the story experience the story? That question was fascinating to me, and theatre was a fantastic way to explore it.
I had directed lots of church musicals, “Godspell” and other shows, had written plenty of liturgy, and done lots of worship leading. Now I had the opportunity to expand worship by making the scripture into its natural theatrical expression. The Bible was produced by aural cultures that expected it to be heard. If someone was hearing it, then someone else was in some way performing it. I realized how often I had heard the Bible read from a distance by a guy in a robe – and how far that was from the vibrant, funny, gritty, and fascinating God I was seeing through our studies.
I set out to get our experience of scripture to wake up from sleepy readership. And eventually, I ended up here – with lots of sketches, some plays, a bunch of workshops and talks and sermons. They’re rooted in the Bible as it lives and breathes.