I wrote a book (unpublished, so don’t look for it in the market) called Proph-O-Drama*. In that book, I address two forms of biblical prophecy: Oracles and Symbolic Acts. My emphasis is on the symbolic acts, which I have termed Proph-O-Drama. A few handy examples are: Ezekiel’s siege of the brick, Jeremiah’s underwear, and Hosea marries a whore. In each of these vignettes, the prophet of God symbolically dramatizes God’s message to God’s people, often in self-humiliation, for the people to ponder at least as much with their hearts as with their heads.
In this brief post, I want to highlight (and simplify) this idea for easy access to prophecy for my readers. While I strongly urge you to look deeper into the phenomena of prophecy, my remarks here should adequately promote the activity at an introductory level, which hopefully leads to more thoughtful reflection and practice.
Simple Idea #1
I was particularly moved by a rather simple dramatization I recently found on-line that utilized contemporary Christian pop-music and interpretive dance to symbolically engage, confront, witness, and prophesy for the watching world. It was a production put on by high school students for homeless people in Mexico and set to the Casting Crowns song Set Me Free. Check out their video and see the powerful response this simple prophetic dramatization invited.
Simple Idea #2
Using contemporary Christian music in such a way is definitely simple. It is introductory – like a gateway drug is to addiction, so this kind of prophetic symbolic act is to Proph-O-Drama. However, I would hope that we could quickly move to the very Word of God itself for prophetic inspiration rather than pop-artist interpretation. This can be as simple as taking Ezekiel’s example and laying siege to a brick, donning Jeremiah’s underwear, or marrying a whore like Hosea.
This kind of idea is very biblical. Though I know of no New Testament examples of Christian’s re-enacting those particular stories (and actually marring whores leads to severe complications, broken hearts, and I strongly doubt God wants his sons to do this as a general practice; it is nevertheless simple to do, biblical, and prophetic in that it depicts the broken heart of God and the waywardness of his people even to this day). We see Jesus embrace exactly this kind of prophetic dramatization when he wanders in the desert for 40 days without food. He tells any who would ponder this act that he is the true son that the Israel of old merely previewed, the true son of God. Likewisde he re-enacts Moses on Sinai when he preaches his Sermon on the Mount. And ultimately he dramatizes Israel’s God coming to his people to be crowned King of the Jews amid the rejection of those same people at his own execution.
These Proph-O-Dramas are actually quite simple. We can take those scenes the original prophets depict and re-enact them before the world as a means of prophetic ministry. In doing so, we are being biblical in the strictest sense, creative and prophetic AT THE SAME TIME, and using the Word of God as our script for the dramas. Still, with the afore mentioned caveats, I suggest this is preferable to pop music without being overly complex.
Simple Idea #3
My third simple idea ventures into the deep end of the pool. This is the gateway to complexity, but still conceptually it is quite simple. It is an extension of what I have discussed so far. And basically the idea is to take narratives from the Bible and dramatize them – especially in ways that invite God to participate in ways only he can.
In my book, I explore an idea of re-enacting the siege of Jericho around a drug-infested apartment complex. A group of disciples showing up each day to march, prayerfully, around the complex for 7 days, and then 7 times on the 7th day, blowing trumpets, and charging into the apartment complex with the Gospel message of Jesus! This level of Proph-O-Drama does increase the complexity in that more interpretation of Scripture is required, organizing groups, and other logistics crop up quickly.
Questions arise. Should we expect physical or metaphorical walls to fall down? Will falling masonry really be a danger to anyone? Will God do his part? Will we look like fools? What about the part in the story where God’s children kill the inhabitants of the city … and how are we to accommodate that part of the Scripture without killing people ourselves?
Yes. These questions arise and introduce complexity, but still the concept is quite simple. And puts us, the prophet/dramatists in the position where we must rely on God to fulfill the outcome(s) he desires. And that too is a matter of faith and of prophecy!
That is my simple intro to Proph-O-Drama. It is 3 Simple Ideas for Prophetic Ministry.
*Anyone interested in obtaining a free copy send a request to:
ATTN: Fat Beggars School of Prophets
2002 60th St
Lubbock, TX 79412