In the 1960’s American Artist Andy Warhol was credited with the statement that everyone will have their “fifteen minutes of fame”. The stopwatch on my “fifteen minutes” starting ticking on Sunday evening July 6th when I stepped on the stage of the Palo Duro Amphitheatre before a crowd of 1500 people to make my acting debut. I was going to make a cameo appearance in the local production of “TEXAS” a historic musical about life in the Panhandle. I was cast as the local “reverend” or pastor decked out in my hand-me-down western gear complete with a floppy Cowboy hat, and western bowtie.
Needless to say playing the part of a preacher was not a stretch, but singing and dancing were a bit out of my comfort zone especially since I was not required to attend any rehearsals (because I suspect the director Dave Yirak knew it would do no good). To give you some perspective about my rhythmic motions I give choreography a bad name. My historic “anti-dancing” position was exposed before 600 members of my church to be nothing more a matter coordination rather than theological conviction. I simply do not have what it takes to stay in step with the music. Who knows maybe when I get to heaven I will be able to dance like John Travolta!
One of the highlights of the evening was my “line” in the script as adapted by Dave Yirek. Did I mention he is my hero—talk about a brave man! In the pivotal “party scene” Calvin Armstrong, the hero, makes a passionate plea to Chief Quanah Parker for peace. In response to his “sermon” his arch rival Dave Newberry breaks in and announces “Well, Pastor Lowrie it appears that we have a new preacher in town”. This was my cue to say “I need all the help I can get”. Sounds simple, but the spotlights went to my head and in my moment of fame, I decide to take a couple of liberties, first, I changed my line and said, “Just look around—I need all the help I can get”. It was a subtle powerful change from my perspective just like Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men” glaring back at Tom Cruise saying “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”. Well, maybe it was not that good, but I did not stop there.
In the scene I had strategically placed myself close to the Calvin Armstrong. So as I finished my line with the skill of a seasoned thespian I reached out to shake his hand. This was not in the script nor expected, I caught the young actor by complete surprise but by instinct he shook my hand to the delight of my adoring fan club (Robyn, and my three girls who were hiding under their seats in fear of being embarrassed by the dad before the whole community). Then suddenly life moved on for everyone else, and I was left with this quickly fading memory. My “fifteen minutes” may have been closer to “fifteen seconds”, but I have to admit it was fun while it lasted.
Just so you will know I am going to keep my “day job” as the preacher of First Baptist Church of Canyon. Acting is fun, and the stage is alluring, but I suspect I need to end my acting career on a high note! I would be wise to take to heart the words of Paul:
15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Eph 5:15-17 (NIV)
Sunday night I had a blast during my “fifteen seconds” of fame, but my greatest joy in life is simply “being” who God created me to be—all the time!