When I was in New York City recently, I witnessed some unusual expressions of culture. One restaurant wall featured depictions of Buddha, Elvis, Mary and Jesus, and a South African Krugerrand under the banner, "ALL IS ONE." Times Square had its usual combination of blinding lights and street hawkers. What I didn't see was a musical on Broadway based on the "Duck Dynasty" family. But according to The New York Times, that may change soon.
"The Duck Commander Family Musical," a 90-minute show with actors playing family members from A&E's "Duck Dynasty," is being produced for Las Vegas. Broadway producer Michael David, who developed "Jersey Boys," is producing the show. The Robertson family has approval rights over script and casting. Some are wondering if Christians will go to Las Vegas to see it, or if Las Vegas tourists will see a show based on Christians. Others are wondering how the musical would do if it came to Broadway.
And many in the theater community are skeptical of those who would help produce the show, given the outspoken positions Phil Robertson has taken on homosexuality. The musical's director, who is gay, says of family members who share such values, "We've agreed to disagree on some things, but we're family and we love and respect each other. I like to think that this musical could bridge some gaps, too."
I'm not sure whether Duck Dynasty will make good musical theater or not, but I'm glad Christians are working to bring their values to the larger culture. One of the basic rules of business is identifying your customers and finding the best ways of taking your product to them. There's a reason Apple didn't just make the iPhone 6—they "launched" it. If we are to bring people to Jesus, we must first bring Jesus to people.
Everyone reading this Cultural Commentary has influence with someone. When you do good to those in need, the world pays attention. As my wife notes in her latest blog post, Garth Brooks recently used his stage to encourage a cancer patient who attended his concert. He sang a song to her, brought her up to meet him, and made sure she got his guitar when the concert was over.
When people think of you, what descriptions come to their minds? Lately I've been reading about the life of the prophet Elisha. I'm impressed by the ways he was known: a king said of him, "The word of the Lord is with him" (2 Kings 3:12), while a "wealthy woman" testified, "I know that this is a holy man of God" (2 Kings 4:9). The Syrian army commander encountered God's healing power through Elisha and testified, "Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel" (2 Kings 5:15).
You may be called to make a musical for the stage, or to sing for cancer patients, or to serve as God's prophet before the most influential people of our day. Or God may have a Kingdom assignment far less visible. Success is obedience. As my son Craig recently told me, "Greatness is being who God has called you to be."
Publication date: November 17, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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