Theatre Church (part III)

As things start to fall into place with my placement and the boundaries are marked up to protect myself and those who will be involved, I’m starting to ask a question of this blog.

How much do I journal the progress of this community?

The internet is a public space and, although, looking over to how many followers I have, I see not many people read this; the people who will be involved deserve privacy and confidentiality.

What then will the purpose of the blog be?

Why did I start writing? To journal my thought journey as I wrestled with what God wanted me to do. This has been really helpful to help me reflect on my ministry and on the shaping of the placement next year. The reason for making this a public journal was to try and gather other people’s views and ideas and allow those to shape me as well. This has also been really helpful. I have had chats with people about things raised in my blog which have helped me to fine tune my thoughts and ideas, that have encouraged me and discouraged me from going off on the wrong path.

Do I still need to journal my thoughts in a public space? Certainly the theological reflections on theatre in ministry still require other people’s perspectives and suggestions for further reading, etc. The placement cannot, however, remain public, due to the sensitive issue of protecting those involved. But there will be times when the activity and development or the struggles and disasters of the community next year will need reflection and I will need those chats with people to help me through.

This is raises questions about the nature of blogging. I don’t want this space to be me advertising everything that’s going on in my life but rather a space where I can communicate and mark where my reflections on theatre and ministry are up to. I need, therefore, to make sure that this space (the blog) is restricted to ambiguous and theological reflections, be that inspired from lectures or books or videos or whatever or inspired from the community next year. This is not a space where I publish all the news and personal journeys of those involved in the community.

Undergirding this questions, as well, is the thought of people involved in the community will be able to, if they look for it, to read these posts. Although nothing is hidden from them and they will be aware of my approach and purposes, is not a bit weird that they will have access to my hopes and fears and personal reflections? Is that a bad thing?

I wrote a couple of sentences for my tutor to have that will help him and I understand the aims of next year’s placement. Here it is:

To create a community in which its members can explore their story and ask questions of faith in a safe, vulnerable space through theatre and character exploration. To meet twice a week and direct them through a yearlong rehearsal process and produce public performances that do not mark the end of a process but mark the journey on its way.

If I am creating a space that is safe and vulnerable, yes I will need to keep issues private but they will need honesty, vulnerability and openness from me. This leads us nicely to what I think is at the heart of this question; is there a need for leaders to hide pain and brokenness from those they are leading? The leaders I respect most are those who communicate honesty and integrity but if they disclose too much then they, somehow, lose respect for me, they lose power in the relationship and then it’s harder for them to lead or discipline. Can you, as a leader, be honest and vulnerable around those you are leading?

I’ll leave you with that and ask that you take your right to comment and shape my thinking.