Curtain Call: Living Dead

The Louisiana Tech Department of Theatre’s production of Living Dead in Denmark by Qui Nguyen closed Sunday afternoon, and, boy, was it a hell of a show.

Currently I’m sitting and reflecting upon the impact that this show had on me. It wasn’t about the story; it wasn’t about the lights, the music, or the stage combat. Nothing about the story truly taught me anything, but it entertained me to a certain degree.

Instead I learned a valuable lesson about my place in the Theatre. I learned the practicality of everything that I am and of everything that God has made me to be. First off, I was the First Assistant Stage Manager, with a great crew surrounding me, teaching me, encouraging me, and helping me stumble through the rehearsal process and the document developing process. Second, I got to work with some of the most genuine, uplifting, and committed artists, from the designers to the actors and so on. Most importantly, I got to change a little bit…

Again, I say that God has made everything in me with a purpose, from the innate core to the steps along the way that have brought me up to this point. He poured into me a little bit of the organization skills it takes to make documents when he brought me through journalism. He poured into me the appropriate response to anxiety, depression, and emotional trauma when he brought me through counseling classes in undergrad. He brought to me a genuine response to actors’ needs when he brought me through various theatrical experiences throughout the years. He gave me a chill personality in moments of stress (for normal people) when he brought me through a life with a large family. He gave me concise and immediate communication and work skills when he brought me through a ministry for men. All that to say, to be a stage manager you need these skills, and I could not have pulled these things out of nowhere. But I never dreamed there was a job where all these things could be compiled into one person.

All that to say, even though God had granted me these experiences and skills along the way, I still felt like a failure. Hours upon hours of work, late nights, lost time with friends, less time for homework, barely any time to eat or sleep – It was a strain on my entire being. And even though it was exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and so on, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my entire life. And I will never regret the strain.

I walked into my boss’s office a few days ago; I closed the door, and she sat smiling behind her desk waiting for me to start, “First of all, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to stage manage for this show. Secondly,” I just looked at her, “I don’t know how you did it for so long!” It’s more than just a job; it’s a commitment to something so important and so involved. I poured my heart out to her about my experience, and she just said, “You know why it’s like this? Because you’re doing it from the heart.”

I could have all the skills in the world and everything that God gave me, but what made this show matter so much to me was the amount of heart I poured into it and the amount of hope poured into me by others. Working with the cast and crew meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for every minute I got to be a part of Living Dead in Denmark, even though I was walking around like a zombie by the middle of production week. C’est la vie. At last I know I’m on a path toward a career that I’ll love.


Alpha’s Journal: Part 8

What am I doing?

And now for the final installment of poetry, written by anonymous Joshua Alpha from Georgia — could be anyone, really:

“What am I doing?

And where am I going?

I bet these questions are asked every day.

I’m doing my best,

And I know my best is worthy.

And I know my worst gets thirsty,

And I give in.

But I’ll keep my faith.

I’ll stay drunk on love.

Just wait.

I can’t wait. . .

But I guess I’ll have to. . .

So I will.

I will.”

There you have it, folks. But in all reality, these posts have taught me quite a bit, mainly that you never really know when you’re going to stumble across someone else’s scribbles. It’s kind of fun to look into the mind of another person, someone you just don’t know.

Alpha’s Journal: Part 7

How can one confuse light for darkness?

Once again, I need to reiterate that this is not my journal, meaning I did not pick up smoking, if anyone happens to stumble across this blog entry. This poem is from a journal that recently and quite mysteriously showed up in my life.


“Every time I smoke I reflect.

The only reflection I see is you.

Mirrors show you what’s behind you,

And I guess I’m stuck in this looking glass.


I exhale with hope and exhale in the present.

Faith is a hell of a burden.

No guarantee, No proof, Just believe.

It’s a hard thing to have unless you can feel it. 

Emotions are physical even when not physically present.

Gift. A blessing and a curse.”


[Boy, this poem is more confusing than anything. Hell does not pertain to faith; Hell has all to do with fear — a twisted faith deriving from all things not of God. And faith does not have anything to with our power, our will, our feelings; they are a gift of grace by God Himself (when we submit our wills to His purpose), and everyone struggles with faith because we cannot manifest it for ourselves, within ourselves.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Again, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

We all have some growth to do. But it’s important not to confuse punishment (i.e. fear) with love (i.e. faith).]

Alpha’s Journal: Part 4

Love is action; it is not a feeling.

“I was so close to you.

You were so close to me.

Blinded by your light, 

I could barely see,

I’d been in the dark

Just waiting for a match

To light my fuse

And bring me back.

I can’t see a damn thing.

I’ve just been sitting here listening. . .

Wondering. . .

What about True love?

Is it really so hard to find?

Underneath this Georgia Sun,

Yeah, good things come in time.

What about the heartache?

I knew there’d be a price.

Nothing about love’s easy, 

Except the way we feel tonight.


[I guess that answers my questions about the origin of this mysterious journal. Huh, Georgia. Well, Alpha, as usual, I have a few responses: You want to find True Love? Check out 1 John 4:8. There you’ll find that love, in fact, is not a feeling, but it is an act. And in response to your question, it’s really not that hard to find; just pick up the bible on your coffee table.]

Alpha’s Journal: Part 3

Do not get distracted by the side issues.

“I don’t know why things are this way.

I know I’m meant to shine light in the dark,

But I need to bum a light.

So much potential;

So much love to burn;

Where’s the flame?

I need you to light me.

You burn me, and I’ll burn for you.

We can breathe in the passion.

Never exhale.


[One thing I must address to Alpha: Whether or not you smoke does not prove salvation or lack thereof. In fact, in time and trust, God has the power to change you and free you from this addiction. But do not get distracted by the side issues.]

Alpha’s Journal: Part 2

Where do you learn the Truth?

Here is another poem – or thought – from the journal I found in my long-lost hiking backpack:

[Note: These poems do not necessarily echo nor reflect any feelings that I have; they were written by a completely anonymous fellow with the handwriting of a twelve-year-old.]


The world has really done an incredible job justifying Judgment.

These people preaching about love yet belittling someone else’s way of showing worship.

Dance foolishly, 

Sing loud,

And don’t let them change you as they have been changed.

Love hard and hold your tongue unless to give words of connection, family, and understanding.

You preach your mind

While I quiet my heart.

Love always,


Ah, well, I guess this guy isn’t completely anonymous.

[Just a few things to address: The world, as a matter of fact, teaches tolerance, not judgment. And if this fellow were in church, at least a proper one, he would know that pastors preach the Word, not their thoughts. And, well, God’s Word is the standard. Dancing like a fool is a plus, as David danced in the same manner before the tabernacle. Singing loudly is also encouraged in several psalms. If you change in obedience and understanding to the Word, then so be it. But if you remain obstinate, stick it out with the world, and then see where you end up in the end. Also, holding your tongue proves to give the illusion of wisdom even in the reality of a fool. That is all.]

Merciful King: Guiding Light

Matthew 2

“When [King Herod] had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.” – Matthew 2: 4

Chapter 2 of Matthew is a map of prophecies, all leading to Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God (YHWH) set forth a plan, spoke it to specifically chosen men (the prophets), that they would record his plans for the future to the future generations.

With that in mind, we see that King Herod called to himself a group of people who were trained to read the prophetic writings, make sense of them, and then report the prophecies to him in understandable words.

This group of priests and scribes had decided in their hearts not to serve the Almighty Lord but to serve a king of men. Over the years, they dedicated themselves to knowledge in the Old Testament, to recording every letter of the Law, and to adding mystical interpretations and religious notions to the simplicity of scripture. In a sense, these teachers worshipped knowledge and hated the simplicity of scripture.

Here is the map, that with their knowledge they could not decipher:

Micah (5: 2, 4)Straightforward enough, God said that His Son would be born in Judah, in Bethlehem. [I personally enjoy this prophecy, because it speaks volumes about the heart of God. My interpretation: “Although you may feel you are nothing, Bethlehem, I will make you great. My Son will come from you.”]

Hosea (11: 1): “Out of Egypt I called my son.” This refers to the flight from Jesus’s birthplace to Egypt, until the appointed time, which meant they would then need to flee from Egypt. And so they did. [This reveals the omniscience of God and the desire to keep His son concealed until the appointed time.]

Jeremiah (31: 15)Although King Herod had set out to annihilate any hope of the Messiah coming to power, he could not kill the child he so desired to slaughter. He succeeded in murdering almost all children two-years-old or under at the time. Although God knew and empathized with the aching hearts of the women in Ramah, He also knew with certainty that they would have hope again, because His Son would redeem them.

Isaiah (11: 1): “He would be called a Nazarene.” It’s another way of saying that he would be a “netzer” – or “rod.” This refers to the root of Jesse, His lineage. And yet, the prophecy is far more specific. After King Herod died, the family settled in Nazareth of Galilee, and there Jesus grew up.

There are two types of people in the world: those who desire to snuff out the Light (King Herod and the scribes) or those who desire to worship the Light (the magi).

The scribes – teachers of the law – had the answers, but they missed the plan. They had the map but missed the Light.

On the other hand, simple astrologers saw a star, and by faith they knew the birthplace of the Lord. They went to worship Jesus and did not despise Him.

Do you have all the right answers and yet miss the Light? Or do you look at God’s creation and have faith that He holds all things together?

Take a breath and marvel at the skies. Have faith that you don’t need to know everything, that all things come to pass as He has written. He’s the best Author there is. (Hint: In His story, Light prevails in the end.)