I spent four hours in the role of “director” today. We have been working on a DVD of some of what I see as central messages that can be helpful for Christians sorting out sexual and religious identity conflicts. We developed seven modules based on recent talks I’ve been giving at Christian colleges. The modules introduce people to the idea of sexual identity (rather than debates about sexual orientation), how sexual identity develops, different ‘scripts’ that people read from to make meaning out of their attractions, and how some people form an identity ‘in Christ’ for various reasons.
Today we had our ‘talent’ record the seven modules. I sat in to provide feedback on how the script was being read, how it came across, etc. I also handled the water bottle. (Our talent was very thirsty.)
I have a new appreciation for the role of director, and not just because of the water bottle. There is a lot to be said for wanting the tone to be ‘just right.’ Our talent was very good, but it is hard to communicate tone to another person. Intensify here. Not too perky though – it’s a serious topic. Keep it somber. Not too somber – this isn’t a funeral…. I hope I didn’t drive her crazy with all of that. I think she was a good sport about it.
It does make me think about how I come across when I speak. I try to be sensitive to the topic. I learned a long time ago that it isn’t just theoretical, even if people want to discuss it at that level. It also isn’t just theological, even though theology is an important consideration. It is also personal, and the way sexual identity is discussed should reflect that it is a topic that touches on something so central and so very precious to the lives of real people. This isn’t a discussion that can really remain an abstraction. At the same time, holding all of these considerations together is a challenge, and not many people can pull it off. Too many people mean well but come off as cold or aloof or condescending, and that only further distances people from one another and from much needed resources.
So I learned about directing today. I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I also learned about tone. I know what I like when I hear it. I also learned about the importance of staying hydrated. Water bottle, anyone?