“First, as I think I said Saturday evening, the entire experience created space for people to express things about race, class, gender and religion that are difficult to express but need to be expressed. People spoke to their personal histories, current challenges and very real hopes and fears in ways that will prove helpful in future experience. There is something about a story, here presented in dramatic form, that gives people enough distance to open up and be vulnerable. Second, the play itself is wisely crafted to include subtlety, complexity and ambiguity. It does not add to the current cultural tendency to caricature viewpoints and individuals, though it recognizes and plays off of these. And it teases out the subtle ways in which various biases regarding race, gender, class and religion shape our thinking and experience, thus confronting to common assumption that as long as I don’t commit overtly racist acts (to use just one example), I am not affected by systemic racism. Third, a common thing we have heard after the experience was, ‘I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this was even better than I expected.’ I think people came expecting to be challenged by good ideas (or else they would not have come…and some of them chose Defamation over the Duke-Carolina basketball game!); what they did not anticipate adequately was how well written and acted the play was, and how insightful and wisely-guided the conversation was. Take care and blessings on the rest of the tour. These conversations are incredibly important for our national life.”

Christopher C.F. Chapman

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC