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Wisdom From the Bible Applies Today

Marion Charatan

Posted on December 9, 2020 12:39

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The remarkable Bill Murray's Take on an Old Story of Trial and Tribulation

We all could use a dose of hope. I live in the City of Seattle and as I write this, I hear a man screaming his head off on the street below me. It's 12 noon. The sound of his anger is fading now. He must be moving away from my building. It is disturbing but it's not uncommon. I would estimate I listen to a troubled stranger screaming incoherently at least weekly. Am I angry at someone who obviously has untreated addiction or mental health problems raging -- no, I can't be because he is ill. Nonetheless, it is jarring. Something has to be done here and in many other major cities nationwide -- which brings me back to my first statement that all of us need hope. Even for those of us who are housed and OK financially, the times are still challenging, so if you marry a life on the street to the current situation, you're beaten before you start. This man has lost hope.

Last Sunday, a group of actors, including the award-winning actor Bill Murray, performed excerpts from the Book of Job on Zoom. Bill Murray was cast as Job and undoubtedly helped to draw in an audience because of his star appeal.

The Book of Job is part of the Old Testament and is written in Hebrew scripture. It is often rated as a literary masterpiece. The protagonist Job laments in the writings in Ketuvim, about his personal sufferings. He is trying to come to terms with the loss of his family, home, and health.

Produced by the Theater of War Productions in Knox County, Ohio, the show was staged as a dramatic reading followed by an audience discussion. Participants in the after-show talk came from a variety of political persuasions.

Artistic Director Bryan Doerries is a graduate of Kenyon College in Knox County. He is a Republican who supports Trump but he said he had the goal of bridging differences with this presentation. Doerries said he wanted the show to serve "as a vocabulary for a conversation, the hope is that we can actually engender connection, healing. People can hear each other’s truths even if they don’t agree with them."

Bill Murray has listed himself as a Libertarian -- but some could interpret his involvement in the show as supporting a conservative viewpoint. However, the Zoom performance served as a vehicle to air different perspectives. 

Marc Bragin, a Jewish chaplain at Kenyon, said it was his hope that people would learn to accept each other in spite of any differing opinions. 

In the final analysis, the Book of Job is a look at how to deal with losses and then recovery. both spiritually and financially. Whatever your political affiliation is, I believe we each have a moral obligation to be civil to one another. 

I look forward to the time when the generic yelling stops and we can listen to quietness. The man has stopped yelling now; a good sign.

Marion Charatan

Posted on December 9, 2020 12:39

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