Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Importance of Being Earnestly Mentored

The first time I was mentored, it happened without warning. The Lord simply placed the most Godly woman on the planet in my life, allowed us to become bosom friends and, voila.

It occurred to me one day that Muriel was my mentor as well as my friend when a mentoring program began at church. Eager to find a mature Christian woman who could help guide me along in my Christian walk as a wife, mother and in ministry, I read through the program's information. A picture of what a mentor would look like began to form in my mind and the face was Muriel's. I already had my mentor. Her children rise up and call her blessed. The eyes of her husband of more than 60 years still sparkle with delight whenever she walks into the room and she already offered great counsel on personal and ministry issues.

I returned the information to the program director and never looked back. Muriel knit her heart with mine and I'm the stronger for it. Since then, I have recognized several more mentors divinely placed in my life and each has been a blessing.

Most recently he's using my good friend Retta, who has been encouraging me in my theater reviewing. I'd been receiving prompting from the Lord that I should review theater, but I wasn't convinced it was such a great idea or how to start. Meeting Retta at a show, she suddenly started talking about how I should be reviewing. Coincidence? I think not.

"Start right now," she encouraged. "Review this show." So I pulled out a pad and pen and began one of the most exciting, fulfilling parts of my journey with the Lord yet.

He keeps opening doors, doors that should have been stuck shut for years, usually with Retta there along the way to hold them open. If something exciting happens, she's standing there cheering. If there's disappointment, she has an encouraging word, provides helpful information and redirects me to focus on the Lord. I hope that in some small way he'll allow me to return the favor.

The prayer of a mentor:
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Ephesians 1: 17-19 NIV)

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Reviews Posted

Reviews of "Refuge of Lies" and "The Tempest" are posted at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prayer. Politics and Pretzels

Recently I had the privilege of joining a group of journalists covering religion beats for a Religious Newswriters Association seminar on how to find faith angles in news stories. Specific attention was given to the presidential race, to popular culture and to covering Pennsylvania (where the seminar took place, thus the "pretzel" part of the title).

Funny, but it doesn't seem like you have to look very far these days to find a religious angle -- usually a negative one -- being played in the press. It's fortunate that we have some well trained journalists dedicated to covering the issues in an unbiased way. The possibilities for writing about religion don't stop in print or broadcast media either. According to information given by presenter Marcia Z. Nelson, nearly one in five of the books read in 2003 dealt with religion or spirituality. Just browse in your local bookstore and you'll see a wide range of topics and suggested ways to find fulfillment through religious experience.

For those of you who are Christian writers, the time has never been more ripe for sharing your gift to help spread the word, clear up confusion and help people sift through the reams of misinformation being written. In some cases, the motive is to discredit Christianity. Some other works are written by people who seem well intentioned, but whose thoughts don't spring from the eternal waters of Christ. Pray about how God would have you use your talent and make a difference.
"But when you proclaim His truth in everyday speech, you're letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience His presence with you." (1 Corinthians 14:3 THE MESSAGE)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Theater Touches Us; Honors God

At right, Adam Jacobs singing "Nothing There to Love" from the new musical "Amazing Grace: The True Story." (Photo courtesy of Retta Blaney)

Theater gives us a sense of human action, changes people on the inside and is a necessity, rather than an option.
Those were some of the thoughts conveyed in a reading by actor Boyd Gaines at the 11th annual Broadway Blessing last night at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York under the direction of Retta Blaney.
Theater, the art of storytelling and it's value, goes right to the heart of the artists using their gifts in the church as well as those who gathered to ask God's blessing on the new season and to give thanks for their gifts in the arts.
God's ability to gift and to use the product of that gift to touch hearts was evident in the offerings which included dance, song, readings and prayers. The song "Nothing There to Love" by Christopher Smith from "Amazing Grace: The True Story," a show in development with hopes of making it to Broadway, is about as close to perfection as I have heard in a long time. Isn't it exciting when you just know God wrote the notes or the words of a work we produce?
Find your gift. Give thanks for it. Use it to the glory of God.

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his [a] holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
They will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.
(Psalm 96 NIV)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Threads Theater Premieres "Pearl Merchant"

Threads Theater Company, a new company sprung from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, presents the premier of "The Pearl Merchant" by Brie Walker Sept 23-Oct 4 at The Space theater, 300 W. 43rd St. The Equity showcase cast includes Erin Layton, Bryan Taylor and Nehassaiu deGannes. Direction is by Misti B. Wills.

The play centers around Hannah (Layton), a painter and teacher who is unable to bear a child and wants to adopt an orphan from her preschool classroom. Through a series of unexpected events, Hannah's assumptions about God, marriage, and race are confronted and challenged.

Threads Theater Company exists to tell stories that start inclusive conversations about faith. For more information, go to http://www.threadstheatercompany.org.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

39 Steps Contest

Do you think that you look like Alfred Hitchcock? If you don't, do you know
someone (a relative, co-worker, baby, pet) who looks like Alfred? The
Broadway company of Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" believes that Hitchcock
lives in all of us. In celebration of Hitchcock Month (Sept 2008) Alfred
Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" is holding a look-a-like contest. For more information, go to
http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Screwtape Heads for Chicago



Max McLean's performance as C.S. Lewis' Screwtape begins a Chicago run Oct. 2. The show has played to critical acclaim off Broadway and in Washington, DC. For more information visit www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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