Table of Contents

Front Matter Introduction 1 Setting the Stage* 2 Training the Actors 3 Changing Roles 4 Changing Scenes 5 Striking the Set Conclusion End Matter This book offers a novel vision of church through interdisciplinary conversation between performance studies, theater directors, and Christian theologians. Each chapter brings a theater director into dialogue with a theologian, teasing out how the concept of performance enriches hermeneutics, anthropology, and epistemology. The result is a compelling depiction of church as performance of relationship with Jesus Christ, mediated by Scripture, in hope of the Holy Spirit. This description expands church beyond the sanctuary. It also emphasizes the importance of liturgical worship in forming Christians as characters crafted by the texts of the Bible, as these texts are interpreted in community. This formation includes shaping how Christians know in ways that involve the intellect, emotions, body, and will. Through worship, Christians develop a repertoire of whole-personed knowledge, or affections. Christian churches often perform in ways that do serious harm in the world. Yet there are Christian traditions that can actively work against this. Both imaginatively (in liturgical worship) and concretely (in work for justice), Christians step into multiple roles and begin to see the stage from various perspectives. Through liturgical worship, Christians can be formed as people who hope, and therefore as people who live in expectation of the presence and grace of God. This entails a discipline of emptiness that awaits and appreciates the Spirit of God. Church performance should therefore be provisional, ongoing, and open to further inspiration.