I was e-mailing lately with a good friend of mine from college, someone who, in recent years, has distanced herself from the Adventist community in which she grew up and from the Christian worldview more generally. Somehow we had gotten onto the topic of Jesus’ death and the Christian doctrines of sin and redemption. Here is what she said, in her words:
“Literature and drama? Hmmm, interesting. And how do you see that fitting in with, you know, the mission of the church?” As an English literature PhD student finishing a dissertation about Victorian theater—Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, and a few other nineteenth-century writers you have probably never heard of—I’ve heard this question a good many times from my friends in church. I used to bristle at this question, however kind and polite the tone; it was like being asked, “Please explain why you should be allowed to exist.” But now that I think about it, it’s not such a bad question.