OJCCC gives you the paper titled The Relationship Between Theater and the Church = “It’s Complicated, I write about a specific experience I had in Candlelight Carols, a production of Moody Bible Institute at Moody Church. After one of the performances, as the cast was sharing stories and funny mishaps behind the scenes, our director read an email from someone in the audience who had brought a Muslim friend to the Christmas event. We don’t know the background of this friend or previous understanding of Christianity but we do know that after seeing the performance, that friend accepted Christ. Below is a monologue of the possible thought process. The development of this person is pure imagination however, having researched specific areas of Islam and a Muslim’s life, this scene is potential to the actual experience. Read more about the christian media reviews.
As the paper communicates not just a love of theater but also the great value it brings to the church, this monologue hopefully communicates the power of theater in a real persons life as well as this story.
A Student of Allah
By Lauren Floyd
Based off the true story of a Muslim who attended Candlelight Carols December 2015 and accepted Christ.
Aakif means devoted to, dedicated to, persevering in, busily engaged, attached, intent.
Aakif is in his early thirties. He has been living in Chicago for seven years but grew up in Indonesia. He moved to Chicago to study programming at UIC and, after graduating, got a job with a tech firm in Chicago. Though he experienced a certain level of culture shock, he was already fairly Americanized from his childhood.
He came from a devote Muslim family and has practiced Islam for as long as he can remember. He has always tried to live a good life physically, mentally and morally. Since his time in Chicago, he’s stayed fairly connected with his family but has been struggling with their concern about his Islamic faithfulness. Aakif has not forsaken his belief but is not actively practicing it due to the desire to grow in his career. He still tries to pray when he can but only to please his parents.
While at UIC, he was involved in the swing dance student group. He joined the group because he appreciated entertainment. He was exposed to American entertainment through movies, TV shows and music at a young age. It is also how he learned English.
A professor of Aakif’s was recently shot at UIC. Due to this sudden event, Aakif has been going to the city mosque to pray. Sean, a friend Aakif made through the swing dancing team, reconnected with Aakif when he heard about the shooting. Sean and Aakif became friends through dancing and their love for technology. Their only connection was through the swing dancing team because Sean was a student at another school in Chicago. They lost touch after graduation. After hearing about Aakif’s previous professor being killed, Sean called Aakif and invited him to dinner and a Christmas performance at Moody church to get his mind off the recent events.
The year 2015 during Christmas time at Moody Church in Chicago, IL. A mass production of 150 people including singing and theater are on stage. 3,000 people in attendance sitting in the balcony and first floor. The crowd is predominantly Caucasian and of the Baby Boomer generation. The sanctuary is dressed in wreaths and lights and a golden glow emanates from the choir loft, down the stage and over the heads of the audience.
This monologue takes place as the choirs and cast finish singing the last song and the congregation stands to sing with them. As the song fades out, the clapping of the audience begins.
(Aakif is standing with all the other audience members and just finished listening to, however not singing with, the last song and end of the production.)
Aakif: I have never seen anything like that before. I knew the Christmas holiday was all about “good cheer”, to say the least, but I never knew this was part of Christmas. And, (to Sean) you know… I’ve never done Christmas with my family. It’s not exactly in our culture. Anything I knew about Christmas growing up was from movies, like that one about the kid that wants a bee bee gun. (side laughs) Ya, that was stupid. (pauses and looks around, on a serious note) I think that guy was serious. The one that spoke after the last scene. Everything he said made sense. And I would know. I’ve tried going to the mosque on State St. I just need some reassurance, some answers about where he is now. But no one there has me convinced that Professor Matthews is in heaven…or hell for that matter. I’ve been there four times in one week! I haven’t been four times in the seven years I’ve lived here.(sits) I asked the teachers how I can be sure he’s at peace. All they say is “only Allah knows because he is all sovereign.” I’m not knew to this… my Father taught me the Koran well and I know it but… I can’t help but ask what would have happened if I was with Professor Matthews when he was shot? I go to see him every week, or, I did. I’ve always trusted Allah and (cuts himself off) well, since I’ve come here I haven’t followed him faithfully. (pauses, looks back up to stage) It’s not because I don’t want to be faithful, I just, became distracted but now that I’m going back to the teaching of the Koran without my father, it doesn’t make sense. (leans back) What am I saying man? (becoming energetic) I am Muslim, I come from a Muslim family. That has been my life. You have to be faithful to Allah, there is no choice. And when I came to school I intended to be faithful. I mean, praying, studying. That was my routine growing up. But, in my whole life, I’ve never seen conviction like that man had until tonight. Not even from my father. And this whole production was amazing. The technical side of things was perfect, (chuckles) I’m paid to know that. (pregnant pause) (looks at Sean) I have never prayed to Allah like the people on stage prayed or worshipped in the mosque like they worship and, religion was my life. My family would say we were doing everything right, I was doing everything right according to the Koran but, we don’t have what I saw them have. Allah does not bring peace, He couldn’t save Professor Matthews. No one can tell me what brings peace! The Koran, I feel like it’s useless. (Chokes back tears through clenched teeth) Matthews is gone, and I don’t know where he is. (processing) But if I was him, (pause) I know where I’d be. I would never see Allah… No, I would never see God. What did he say? (Looks at Sean) Jesus is God?