Theater - Music in Religion: Jeff Walling, George WhitefieldJeff Walling and George Whitefield knew that by using the artifices of mimesis and comedy they pointed out and defused their opponents' anxieties about music, theater, and sexuality, creating a space for players in the cultural mainstream."
See Jeff Walling transformed and applauded by the NACC
See Jeff Walling on Instrumental music: using the PSALLO word to sow discord is blasphemy
See the Tulsa Workshop and the Sexual performances: When God pours out His wrath he makes people into JESTERS and BUFFOONS.
"Of particular interest is the way that early modern playwrights, music theorists, and theater apologists addressed this conflated language of the "enemy," by echoing the same connections between sexuality and playing found in the most virulent antitheatrical tracts.
"As this paper will demonstrate, by "playing" with the conflated language, these writers defended their art,
justifying their existence in a society that was both seduced and repulsed by them. By claiming the polemical antitheatrical language, these players escaped from the ideological margins to which their opponents had tried to relegate them.
Using the artifices of mimesis (imitation) and comedy they pointed out and
defused their opponents' anxieties about music, theater, and sexuality,
creating a space for players in the cultural mainstream."
Review of SoulStock:
The History of Heredotus, Chapter Six reads:
"When at length the day arrived which had been fixed for the espousals, and Clisthenes had to speak out and declare his choice, he first of all made a sacrifice of a hundred oxen, and held a banquet, whereat he entertained all the suitors and the whole people of Sicyon.
After the feast was
ended, the suitors vied with each other
Presently, as the drinking advanced, Hippoclides, who quite dumbfoundered the rest,
Then Hippoclides, after a pause, told an attendant to bring in a table; and when it was brought, he mounted upon it and danced first of all some Laconian figures, then some Attic ones; after which he stood on his head upon the table, and began to toss his legs about.
Clisthenes, notwithstanding that
The Britannica notes that: The art of the theatre is essentially one of make-believe, or mimesis. Drama also requires plausibility, but in drama it must be conveyed not by a narrator but by the actors' ability to make the audience "believe in" their speech, movement, thoughts, and feelings.
This plausibility is based
As "worship", therefore, the theatrical is "standing in the holy place claiming to be God." And many come to believe that "we are the mediators between man and God."
"For instance, when you attend a musical concert it is not the actual performance which you admire; it is the preprogrammed expectations you hold. If you attend an event understanding that it is just "let's pretend" then it is innocent. However, if you attend expecting some heady truth to be revealed you will, as in all religious spectacle, momentarily lose your mind or "go out of yourself." In some events it seems clear that a programmed event can be so mind altering that you will never be able to recover. This is the story of Enoch as pointed to by Jude and embodied in numerous ancient documents. Once Lucifer was able to get the Jubal or Genun character to use mixed-sex choirs and instruments the Sethites were never able to "return to God's Holy Mountain." Enoch warns, and Jude defends his warning, that God will come with ten thousand Host specifically to judge those who used music to keep people away from the Words of God. Don't believe it? That is ok. It is only important that you understand that there is "no other traditions" about musical instruments as worship than that they came from the demons or satans. Theatrical performance is not evil but it is not spiritual either.
"Jeff Walling earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of California at Irvine in speech and communications with an emphasis in theatre." It comes as no surprise, therefore, the theatrical training and the preconditioning or expectations of a great performance contributes to success. Perhaps all preaching in the non-Biblical or established sense is based upon theatrical ability because the dullest person in the congregation could read the Word which is how Thomas Campbell defined the teaching process.
Jeff Walling Providence Road Church of Christ
An eternal thesis is that "You cannot have a spiritual awakening until you put the old sacred cows to death: to the slaughter pen, yet." We have reviewed some of Jeff Walling's views based upon Internet postings, a posted chapter of his book and sermons from various Jubilees in Nashville, Tennessee. Our goal is simply to refute the notion that the church of Christ's sacred cows which need slaughtered are: Doctrinal teaching, dominant women, musical instruments, baptism, and several other beliefs. The only popular views right now express an "antiism" through manipulation with drama, comedy and ridicule. If you get a band of idle men to laugh at the ridicule of the non-use of instruments it is highly likely that they will return to their campus too psychologically cowed to ever mention it again.
Our reviews of the Dance principle goes well beyond the spiritual concept of dancing with God. Why is this important? It is important because literal dancing on the podium (holy place in cathedrals) has caused some to claim to be priests and to "be mediators between man and God." Therefore, we need to show that what Joseph Campbell called Affect Images have real, mystical power.
This is so important because those who go beyond the symbolism of dancing with God have only children, women, David and the Dionysus worshipers as models.
The Judas Bag was for carrying the mouthpieces of wind instruments. This is a picture of those who dared to try to dance with God in a literal sense. The little box on the flute case is identified in the classical literature by the same name given to the Judas Money Bag. The komo or dance drama when used against Jesus had the Jews piping expecting that Jesus would sing and dance the Dionysus choral dance which would have looked like this illustration.
In the Dead Sea Scroll version of Psalm 41 which predicts Judas attempt to "triumph over" Jesus, triumph involved blowing the wind instruments and making a joyful noise which was very powerful in causing your enemies to panic in battle. This version includes the statements:
Therefore, in translating Psalm 41 the Essenes saw the Levites who were under the King and commanders of the army as "standing in the gap" to try to defeat Jesus with singing and musical instruments. When He gains the victory the military music will cease and Jesus as our model will worship with "the fruit of His lips" even as we "groan in our spirit."
There is a lot of theatrical background in Paganism. Therefore, it is important that we not pick the wrong model for Christian worship. This has nothing to do with Jeff Walling but helps us understand that actors and other artists have a lot of power and it is important to close our eyes and listen to the words.
Theatrics in The Sophia-Zoe Dance Group
Theatrical performance was also vital in the First and Second Awakenings which were really more like
George Whitefield was an actor with unusual ability. In time, he applied acting techniques to preaching and found that his skills could create hysteria in the people. Of course, he sold this as a spiritual experience. Being trained in the theatre, Whitefield decided that the best way to succeed would be to turn his theatrics against the theater. In effect, the churches became the "spiritual" theater. When he came to a new revival, rather than primarily preaching he attacked the occupation which had given him a livelihood; turning his old standing in the community to attack the old and promote the "new way." The First Great American Awakening happened only by using theatrics to defeat those who were more rational and therefore more spiritual. One result of the Awakening was great religious division where unity had once existed.
Whitefield Satirized by Charles Macklin:
Acting attempts to overcome the rational, spoken evidence by comedy and ridicule. This was the method of George Whitefield and his theatrical descendants.
Chrales Macklin was also an actor losing "seekers" to Whitefield who understood that the way to get the "seekers" back to the theater was to ridicule George Whitefield:
"George Whitefield acquired many enemies, who assailed evangelicalism as a distortion of the gospel and attacked him and his followers for alleged moral failings. The evangelist endured many jibes at his eye disease; hence the epithet "Dr. Squintum." This satire shows an imp pouring inspiration in Whitefield's ear while a grotesque Fame, listening on the other side through an ear trumpet, makes accusations on two counts that have dogged revivalists to the present day: sex and avarice. The Devil, raking in money below the podium, and the caption raise charges that Whitefield was enriching himself by his ministry. At the lower left, Whitefield's followers proposition a prostitute, reflecting the line in the caption that "their Hearts to lewd Whoring extend."
The evidence is that Whitefield was not mercenary. However, he took great pride in being better able to manipulate people out of money for his Georgia Orphan home and his attempted "seeker center" back in England. Benjamin Franklin who had little traffic with the existing but less skillful theatrical performers, became a great fan of George Whitefield and enjoyed the show. As with all "great leaps forward" in religion, the result was great religious division, and the chart of membership growth, after a short burst, continued along the same path. There were now 4 Quaker groups and someone has counted 146 Baptists organizations many of which died or merged.
Whatever the motives of the lusted-after Cane Ridge "revival," and whatever its beginnings it rapidly deteriorated to this and had to be cancelled because they were becomming commercial trade fairs for the "fair" and not so fair.
Citizens of Zion: The Social Origins of Camp Meeting Revivalism by Ellen Eslinger shows that the pattern of growth is not based upon human performance which ignores the narrator's teaching role in the church. After the fact it was recognized that this radicalism hindered the growth of the Restoration Movement.
Even today, the hope is that because of the theatrics people will understand that "it is not true" and attend the mass religious festivals (to which Jesus would not go) just for the show.
We will add more reviews of an attempt to build a whole new religion based on theatrical worship which by the "in spirit" definition of Jesus cannot be pure worship. Therefore, it must be vain worship.
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