We have several actors presenting great talks over at MakeJesusCulture.com, Stephen Traphton among them, and the one thing they all seemed to have in common was the expression of the idea of incarnation: that an actor at his best understands, in a weird way, the work of the Son Jesus. Empathy – if this is truly a human act, an act of those who experience and participate in consciousness – mirrors the incarnation as a microcosm in each instance of its manifestation.
When we’re talking about method actors, this could both be the case and not be the case for it’s the job of a method actor to become the character, fully, for the duration of the filming process. If the character’s wholly irredeemable, the method actor takes on a more irredeemable posture in their very person. This is dangerous, of course, for though you might be abler to fake a murder, you can’t really fake a sex scene. Though you might be able to fake deception, you can’t really fake harsh words and so on. That’s why it’s reliant upon a whole and beautiful and true narrative arc for these characters to have any significant meaning.
In general, though, as the actor prepares, he or she actually enters into the frame and experiences the consciousness of the character. This sort of thing comes straight from Jesus, for the knowledge of good is precisely to know what you would like to experience in another person’s shoes were your positions reversed.
As you meditate on the various verses here about the incarnation, consider how an actor – or any creator – makes it possible for both themselves and others to experience the deep inner workings of another human life and soul. Consider how deeply the tree of knowledge of good and evil is wrapped up in the experience of empathy, the experience of walking a mile in your neighbor’s shoes, and how hypocrisy is a refusal to admit that we do the things to others that we ourselves do not want
*For further reading in the Bible: John 11 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 1:15 – 1:24
Accompanying this study is over 300-Hours of video footage from 150 of today’s top Christian thinkers on culture, creativity, innovation, and invention at www.makejesusculture.com and www.gardencityproject.com. We aim to help churches develop grass roots culture formation for their contexts. Go now!