01 June, 2009

All's Well That Ends

Well, maybe now we can relax.  Maybe now our little burg can go back to its normal Norman Rockwellian ways.  Maybe Steve Martin can sleep peacefully again, knowing his reputation remains relatively unscathed.

The Play That Shall Not Be Named has come and gone.  The students put on a three-day run at the university.  People came, no one died and I don't even think anyone got pregnant.  The Republic lives, our children are safe and God smote us not for the atrocities our community committed by allowing this play to be seen.

I would have let this moment pass unheralded, except that I got myself slightly involved in the play and the public brouhaha.

So, herald I shall: Last Saturday, the Oregonian (our fair state's big-city paper) published an article about the play and the public forum which followed the Sunday matinee.  This wee little blogger/pastor was invited to participate in the forum, semi-representing the religious community. (1)  If you want to see my name in virtual print, here 'tis.

The moderator introduced me by pointing out that, of course, I wasn't really representing the religious community of La Grande.  I pointed out that, of course, the religious community of La Grande was greatly relieved to know this.

None of the fine folks who objected to the play showed up to the forum, apparently.  So we answered an ancient Buddhist semi-koan: What is the sound of a one-sided dialogue?  Perhaps appropriately, it sounded a bit like the sound of one hand patting oneself on the back.

We congratulated ourselves for being open-minded, scourged the "other side" for being so nearly Nazis and went happily on our way.  Hooray, free speech.

This never felt like a ginormous deal to me, so I'm mostly just glad this is all over.  Pretty quickly, this minor dust-up about a play at the high school was invested with any number of agendas and, I suspect, some long-held petty grievances.  Given the chance, petty grievances became petty grievances writ large.

The whole thing just sort of felt sad and tiresome in the end.

But maybe, in the calm after the storm, the folks closest to the brouhaha can heal.  And maybe, once wounds have healed a bit, we will be a stronger community for what we've been through.  Growth is never easy, nor is it easily seen in the moment.

In the meantime, I think I'll put my plans for a summer production of The Last Temptation of Christ on hold.  (I was thinking of a musical version....)

much peace, much love, etc.

(1) I was, however, fully representing the semi-religious community.