But Schaeffer's chapter quickly moves from acting on a stage to something much more familiar: reading aloud. I'd never thought of that as acting.
And as I thought about it, there's quite a bit of reading aloud in my life. I had a tradition in college of reading aloud George MacDonald's haunting short story, "The Grey Wolf" to any roommate I had. I loved doing it! When our children were little, I read to them often. We worked our way through the whole set of the Dr. Seuss books, and those weren't even our favorites. I did encourage the kids to do a little light "acting," just for me at home. I recall a rousing version of "Little Red Riding Hood." Anna was Red, Peter was the Wolf (of course), and Philip was the life-saving Woodsman. I think Julia was his assistant.
We plowed our way through all the Little House books, and all of the Narnia books. As the children aged we read aloud less, but Julia still asks for it. She and I read Little Women aloud last fall. And whenever I write something new, it must be read aloud to her! I wrote Three Against the Dark for Anna and Peter, one chapter at a time, and would read each chapter to them as it was written. "What happens next, Mommy?" they'd ask. "Write the next chapter now!!" They were the motivation that finished that book! I read Greenfield Civil Wars to Julia, and she liked "Hotel Sagistal" and just yesterday I read "On Styron Shoals" to her. I tell her she can access all this on her tablet computer, but she doesn't want to read it there. She wants me to read it to her.
It's the human voice. We love to hear its inflection, the emotion and intrigue that another person can lend to a tale. It's much more vivid that the story living silent in one's own mind. And although Schaeffer doesn't mention it, many people learn better by hearing than by seeing, so being read to is crucial to their acquisition of information, even if just for enjoyment.
One thing I love about our church is that we read aloud. We have a corporate (all-together) Call to Worship with a Response from the congregation. We read the Apostles' Creed together. When we sing, we're also reading the text together. Adam reads the sermon scripture to us, aloud. And one of us, each week, stands at the front and reads another long passage aloud to everyone. We just finished reading Hebrews this way together, and now we've begun Galatians. Isn't that wonderful? It takes only a few minutes, and all of us (we're a small, tight-knit group) are reading the same beautiful Words of God, at the same time.
Is that Drama? Acting? No, I don't think so. But it's a great example of what Schaeffer calls the "hidden art" that resides in each of us, and how important it is to share it with others, with the Body of Christ especially.
(Click over to Cindy's Ordo Amoris blog to read all the posts on this chapter in Hidden Art.)