Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hidden Art: Chapter Ten

I must admit, this chapter brought many happy memories. At first I thought, "Drama??? Drama!!! Bah ... humbug!" Or something like that :) Me? Act?  I last did real drama (of a sort) in college. I did a One Act of The Rainmaker, as a dinner theater.  It rattled my nerves so much I never did drama again.

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.)


  1. Excellent point about church. So fun that this chapter is similar for each person and yet there are tiny insights to add to the pot from everyone.

  2. I've always loved drama even though I haven't participated in it that much. I like acting things out! Families do bond when they speak in an orderly manner, I think! Most family dialogue is kinda wild.

  3. In our little homeschool, reading aloud was a daily thing. The kids loved that time, playing quietly while I read to them. I also encouraged reading aloud by the children and they were always willing.

  4. Oooo, so pretty in here with the cat-tails. Green is a favorite of mine.

    I love being read to, Gary doesn't, so I sometimes have to trick him into reading stuff to me. :)

    Our church reads aloud as well. I think it's important as you do. So many churches rush to the sermon after announcements, offering, etc., and don't do any reading out loud. I totally agree with you on this.

  5. Ah! I forgot one more read-aloud! Adam read aloud to me every night during my first pregnancy, to help me relax and sleep. He read passages from Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things." So fun!

  6. Funny, isn't it, how most of us shrank back just a little at the title, and then were totally swept up into the spirit of the chapter?
    I love that you wrote for your children, one chapter at a time. How wonderful is that!
    I'm enjoying reading through everyone's memories and favorites. It's motivating me to sit down and spend time with my children, even amidst busy times. Filling their minds with images from our readings will go a long way in keeping them from getting bored!


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