Almost twenty years ago, while I was at university, my parents decided to move back to the seaside village in Northern Ireland where I had spent the first twelve years of my life. We relocated several times during my teens and, for me, this latest move felt like a step backwards. I visited for their first Christmas “back home” with no intention of joining them on any permanent basis. On Christmas day a guy with ginger hair and a smile that was contagious gave the children’s talk in their new church. The response to his self-deprecating humor was evidence that he was not only well known but also well loved. Long story short, I ended up staying. Two years later we were married.
Hello, old friends. I feel a little shy jumping straight back into the jollity of the Rabbit Room after such a long absence, but I’ve missed this place too much to delay any longer.
Today we begin the closing weekend of Frankenstein with five final performances. It’s been a ton of fun to watch this show get to its feet and learn to run.
I’m at Lipscomb University this morning, about to walk in and talk to a group of students about theater, and as I do so, I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am that I get to do this kind of work. The experience of writing a story and then seeing it incarnated in three dimensions on a stage is surreal. Read More ›
“You are the cause. I am the effect. The rest is destiny.”
Today in 1797, Mary Shelley was born, and 21 years later the first edition of Frankenstein was published. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the novel. It’s become one of our most enduring stories, and this year A. S. “Pete” Peterson went to work with Studio Tenn to develop a fresh new adaptation for the stage. The show opens tomorrow and will run for two weekends.
The story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature is much more than a mere monster tale. It’s a story rich with theological, sociological, and psychological layers exploring not only what it means to be human, but what it means to be shaped by the power of love—or hatred.
Two scenes stand out in memory: one a place of beginning, the other a place of understanding. In the first, a nineteen-year-old girl sits alone in her car on a summer afternoon, while the boy she loved walks away. She is hurting, and the feeling of rejection is intolerable. She is disgusted with herself, so she uses her pain as a catalyst for change—she will finally take control of her health.
Had my wife and I been born a hundred years ago, our lot might have been quite different. Our family has a history of bipolar disorder, you see. Mental illness was looked upon with even greater stigma in days of yore than today. The canon of schoolchild literature hailing from 1850 through the 1970s is littered with characters subject to one stripe of insanity or another. Mr. Rochester’s first wife in Jane Eyre, Conrad’s demigod Kurtz, Boo Radley, Robert Cormier’s Adam Farmer in I Am the Cheese, Mr. Hyde, and the tragic cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all come to mind.
Have you ever felt confused by someone’s inability, or refusal, to listen to the viewpoint of another?
One episode of this that plays in my mind was grad school days at Notre Dame: I was a teaching assistant for one of the theology professors. He assigned an essay by Leo Tolstoy to his class. It was one of Tolstoy’s classic scathing essays of social critique. When the prof opened the class up for discussion on the reading, the first student to make a comment said: “I did not know Tolstoy was a heretic.”
[The Molehill, Vol. 5 will be officially released on July 9th, but because Chris Thiessen, our intrepid manager of sales, is on the ball, books are already shipping out to readers. Here’s a little taste of what’s inside. This essay of Lanier’s was the first of hers I ever read, and it remains as good now as it was when I first encountered it nearly a decade ago. Enjoy. –Pete Peterson] Read More ›
I think I made the wrong move. At least that’s how it feels.
A few weeks ago I resigned from my job as the teaching pastor at a church, a role I’ve held for the last two years. In the days immediately following the decision and announcement, I met with several people to explain my decision further. One meeting was particularly probing, a concerned acquaintance who was intense in his queries, almost investigative.
When I was going through a particularly hard time a few years ago, a friend encouraged me with a story from Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. As a child, Corrie was having a difficult time dealing with the fact that her father would die one day. She and her father had this dialogue:
Janie said it could be the beginning scene of the indie movie about my life that, if you ask me, will probably never be made. On my first day of therapy three summers ago, I walked into the front room, confused by the lack of official-looking-person who was to tell me what to do. Couches. Doors. A vase of flowers. Peaceful noisemakers drowning out the sounds of tears and sorrow (I couldn’t imagine then that laughter might be an option). But there was no front desk, no greeting. I sat down on the couch. I stood up. I walked down the hall, but the rooms with open doors were empty and the ones with closed doors? There was no way I was going there.
[With the release of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (which you should all go see immediately!) we thought we’d repost this excellent article from Jason Gray.]
“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (What is essential is invisible to the eyes – from Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince)
These are the words on a plaque that hung in the office of my new hero. Who might that be you may wonder? Kierkegard? Billy Graham? Bono?
Would you be surprised if I told you it was…Mister Rogers? Read More ›