Who is the Unconventional Disiple?

My name is Roger Price. But what’s in a name? Let me tell you a little of my story so far.

When I was a child my family had no direct connection with any church. My older sisters had links with a local Methodist chapel so I went along at time to the social and fund raising events. I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about their faith or encouraging me to go to worship services. At that time my picture of God was of an old man sitting on a cloud who was in complete control of the world and all that happened in and on it.

I was lucky enough to be the first member of my family who was considered capable of benefiting from a university education. This was in the early 1960’s when not many people had the opportunity to achieve this. My parents were supportive and I now know made many sacrifices to help with and encourage me in this goal. Naturally I wanted to do my best to honour them.

It was in the spring before my ‘A’ levels that my father died. He had not been well for a number of years. I felt cheated by God that he had not been able to see me go to university. Up until then I had an image of God sitting in His heaven being in control and pulling all the strings. The rest of that year was a blur. I did pass my exams and go to university but it was only at Christmas time I realised I no longer had any belief in God.

During my time at university I was exposed to many different ways of life. I suppose by the time I left I felt that the philosophy of everyone hurting was the norm and it was the way in which that hurt was managed that was important. I was trying to treat others in a way that I would like to be treated myself.

When I returned to my home town one of my sisters was running a coffee bar for teenagers after the evening service at the same chapel. While they were enjoying the coffee bar, they were finding it harder to relate to the service that preceded it. Knowing my interest in theatre, she asked me to work with those young people to put on plays.

That led to working closely with one of the teenagers who had musical skills to create a musical that used Peter as the central character. With the narrative in mind this enables the story to get beyond the Crucifixion and into the core of the Christian faith – the Resurrection.

Before the piece was completed my musical director went to university herself. That meant I went to see her there on a couple of occasions to complete the writing process. It was there that a friend of hers spoke to me about becoming a Christian. I said to him that it would take a moment like that which had happened to Saul/Paul in order for me to believe. He said that if that was the case, God would give me that. We then moved on to do some more work on the show.

It was the Sunday afternoon, while driving back up the M40, that I realised I was being demanding of God – telling a supreme being of any sort how to act. So I simply said something along the lines of ‘OK boss. Do it your way’. I remain grateful, for myself and the other road users, that He didn’t strike me blind at that time!

It was a month or so later when we were touring the new show that a local radio reporter wanted to interview us about the piece. Normally I would talk about the artistic side on it while the M.D./composer would field the more spiritual questions. Strangely this particular evening I found myself answering those questions as well. My friend and co-creator was amazed. Afterwards we talked and she pointed out the change in me.

By this time I had become involved in the wider life of the church. One of the things that I helped organise was a retreat weekend. At that weekend the leader said ‘Remember at your baptism you were signed apart for God’. I knew I had never been baptised and knew that it had to be done. That was arranged fairly soon afterwards and membership of the Methodist church followed.

My theatre skills then led me to various different situations. One of these was to attend a mission in London. In two separate weeks in two entirely different parts of the city I saw how with very little effort the lives of some of those already known to the church could be changed and the life of the church enriched and renewed.

When I returned to my home town and church everyone could see a change in me. They were keen to try and help me in my further growth. But, to put it simply, there was no room in the calendar to include my ideas. My frustrations grew as further planning was put off time and time again.

But still I wasn’t let off the hook by God. My interest and alleged skills in theatre once more came to the surface. I became the leader of a group of people drawn from across the Methodist circuit and a spectrum of ages from 9 to almost 90. This became Musical Truth. We presented several shows – Minstrel’s Song perhaps being the most successful and powerful – as well as supporting the preaching plan.

But, in the end, the time for me to move onto fresh challenges came along. By now I had drifted away from regular worship while still maintaining links with the wider Methodist church – local, regional and national. Once more drama drew me back in. ‘Parables’ was the result. At the same time I was encouraged by the minister of that church – now a very dear friend – to write more material. Some were suitable for use in church services and others were designed as ‘stand alone’ dramas. While most have been uploaded to The Worship Cloud, most of the whole collection is available Voices.

Parables enabled me to work with a small professional team and, while most of the people have changed, we continue to produce drama with a message. I continue to write and links to some of material, including Parables, can be found on this site. Once this lock down is over I plan to return to producing this way of spreading the message I have been given to share.

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