Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
Would you give me a few minutes of your reading time?
Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
View sample lessons
The Living Gifts
and Patricia Dodger are in their late 40ís approximately.
They are a typically Christian couple, struggling to raise
their children in a loving environment and sharing their home with
friends and strangers alike. Lee
is a businessman who works in the city, and Patricia keeps the home
and is involved in numerous community efforts.
Patricia prefers to be called ďTrishĒ, but her mother,
Gena, stays with ĎPatriciaí.
Lee, a take-charge type, pontificates when he gets a chance.
and Eric Dodger are the teen-age children.
Candy is 1 Ė 2 years older than Eric and thus a little
bossier toward him. He
is more of a tease to her. They
fake a lot of hostility, but are genuinely fond of each other. The
vocabulary of the young people may have to be updated or changed
according to regional ďinĒ words.
Patriciaís brother, is married to Lois. They are younger,
min-30ish. At first,
Kent dresses in 3-piece suits or the latest in ski war, or
fashionable sweaters. Together,
Lois and Kent make a definite Yuppy statement!
Their lives are caught up in the quest for all the material
pleasures of life, until Kent loses his job in the Endurance
episode. After that,
Loisí attire relaxes a bit, and Kent starts to imitate Howardís
Patriciaís Mother, is slightly infirm in her 70ís.
She needs to be a little stooped and gray and talk slowly,
loudly, and with a Scandinavian brogue.
She shuffles along when she walks and exhibits some pain in
movement. She wears the same clothes a lot, and a funny little hat
when she goes out. An
apron and slippers would appropriate for her when she is home.
The name is not the Italian Gina, but a Norwegian soft
ďgĒ sound, like Gheena.
(How Weird!) is a car salesman.
He is a bachelor who strolls in and out of the Dodger home as
though he was one of the family.
A strong bond of affection ties them together.
He is loud, crude, demonstrative, boisterous, and loveable!
His clothing style is flashy and ridiculous. A shopping trip to the Used Clothing Stores may turn up a
good wardrobe of loud print polyester jackets, gaudy ties, and
strange trousers of him to wear.
He may also sport a cowboy hat and boots and speak in a
semi-western drawl. Howard usually had a newspaper, or part of one (probably the
car ads) in his back pocket. This
stuck out over his jacket. As
Kent starts to work for Howard, he begins to wear these clothing
styles too, but not in quite so gaudy a manner.
narrator may want to emulate Mr. Fred Rogers of TVís Mr. Rogersí
Neighborhood. If so, he may come with a suit jacket, change into a sweater,
change shoes, hang up his coat, etc., as one sees Mr. Rogers do.
Perhaps he may want to do just one of those activities a
week, and slowly add the others.
One might also consider having the song played or sung at
least 2 or 3 times during the series.
When he becomes old Mr. Theodore in the last episode, he
should surprise the hair, a shaggy beard of audience when he comes
out in the last scene and have gray.
Control (Episode #3)
Seven Living Gifts: Faith (Episode #1)
Our Lenten Series this year is based on a New Testament letter
written to Christians who share in the faith, people much like us.
It reads like this:
People of Grace Lutheran:
we share in the faith, we know that God has given us everything
necessary for life. Godís
gifts and promises are great beyond all price.
He has given us the gift of faith and it is most important
that we make that faith grow by adding to it knowledge,
self-control, courage, and endurance, piety, brotherly kindness and
love. The person who
does not develop and use these gifts is shortsighted and blind and
has forgotten how he was forgiven for his sins.
But, my friends, if you make a true effort to confirm Godís
choice and calling of you. You will never come to grief and you will
have full and free admission into the eternal kingdom.
Grace and peace to you.
Signed, Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. (II
Peter 1: 3-11)
the next few weeks, we are going to consider what Peterís letter
might mean for us in life as we and others experience it.
In fact, we are going to have a very close look at an
interesting, unusual, and uniquely named group of people who are
related to one another by blood, marriage, friendship or
are going to meet the Dodger family:
Lee and Patricia Dodger and their children, Eric and Candy.
We will meet an upwardly mobile and active young couple
appropriately named Kent and Lois.
And we will get to know two very distinctive personalities
Ė Grandma Gena and Howard. Howard talks funny and is blunt but is generally a good old
boy. Grandma is not.
By the way, I am required here to state that any similarity
to persons living or dead, or to events past or present, could not
have been avoided.
these next weeks, I will be your interpreter and tour guide.
Since most of the action will take place at the home of the
Dodgers, I suppose we could subtitle this series: Mr. Dodgerís
Neighborhood. If we are
to visit Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood, I really should dress more
child to bring up his sweater and changes from jacket to sweater.)
then, letís look in on Lee and Patricia Dodger.
In the true traditions of soap opera, a crisis is brewing.
and Lee are seated at a dining table, coffee poured.)
What are we going to do?
I donít know. I just
canít figure it out.
Well, what did the doctor say?
He said that mother couldnít live at home anymore...that she was
becoming frail and forgetful. She
needs to be put in a nursing home.
Did you call your brother Kent yet?
Kenton? Heís never any help. You
know that, and now with Loisí broken leg, that ski accident,
theyíll have another excuse.
So once again, itís on your shoulders.
OUR shoulders, dear. Donít
forget all the times Iíve had to bail you out with YOUR relatives.
I have a good idea (uneasy laugh) Nutsy!
Ha ha! How about your mother coming to live with us?
Youíve got to be kidding.
She wouldnít be that bad.
Not that bad? She is
impossible to live with. Sheíll
stick her nose into everyone elseís business, just like she always
does. Sheíll make
everyone do things HER way. Why,
I canít even boil water to suit her.
Come on now, Trish.
Donít give me any of this come on now stuff.
Sheíll start telling
us how to raise the kids. Pick,
pick, pick. And then sheíll get into one of her moods and give us the
silent treatment. (Gets
lost in her own thoughts)
again, youíre stretching the truth.
I donít know. I wish
Kent were more reliable.
is a knock on the door. Kent
and Lois enter. Lee
goes to welcome
Hi, Kent. Howís the
leg Lois? (All go to
the table. Lois sits,
Kent stands near)
We were just going to the doctorís office and thought we would
stop by for a cup of coffee.
Is this a good time for us to hobble in?
That ski accident was so unfortunate.
Weíre sorry Lois. Weíre
so glad to see you, ESPECIALLY you, Kent.
Oh, whatís going on?
I just got a call from Dr. Wilson about Mother.
Dr. Wilson says that Mom canít stay at home anymore.
too forgetful and frail. Something
could happen to her.
You mean sheís not the tough, self-sufficient old gal she used to
We knew this day was coming and it looks like itís here.
Is that for sure? Mom can no longer live in her apartment?
Thatís for sure!
Oh my. Thatís going to pose a problem for us. Sheís been a real tyrant all her life, and thereís no
place in the whole world she would be happy...mmmm...Are you sure
about what the doctor said?
What can we do about it anyway?
Our lives are just so busy now, and I donít know what we
Sis, I wish our schedule would permit us to help more, but weíre
so committed right now. Letís all just settle down.
Maybe you need to talk to the doctor again and find out what
exactly needs to be done.
Kent, I have an idea. How
about your mom living at your house. You have that big family room.
I could help you build a little kitchenette and we...
Oh, no, you donít. You
must be pulling my leg!
Why, Lee. How could we? We are both gone all day.
We both have jobs.
We couldnít have her there alone. (Lois and Kent are
looking back and forth at each other for strength and encouragement
Ė a rather helpless and pathetic list follows.)
We have PacWest Ė our fitness club...
I have bridge, of course, and my Bible studies.
And now my physical therapy.
Thereís choir and our recreation Ė we hope to be back on the
It just wouldnít work out, Iím afraid, especially with my knee.
Mom couldnít handle our schedule, Iím afraid.
I truly feel guilty, but thatís the way it is.
In fact, weíre getting a little behind schedule right now.
We have to go to a doctorís appointment Ė need another
Well, Kent. What can we
Iíll give you a call tonight when we get back.
But Iím afraid that...
Donít worry! Weíll
work it all out and believe me, I will do my share.
You truly will call then?
Yes, Sis. It may be
late, 11:00 or so, but I will call.
(Hugs Patricia good-bye.
A knock is heard on the door.
Good-byes all around as Kent and Lois head toward the door.)
We gotta get moving.
(Walking in) Hi there
looking for my morning cup of coffee.
Hey, Kent, my boy, got time to chat?
Sorry, Howard, but weíre busy.
(Gruffly) Youíre always in a rush!
Never have time.
Lay off, Howard. (He
and Lois exit.)
(Continues talking to Kent as though he was still there.)
You never have time to sit down with me and have a cup of
coffee. Youíre going
to have a heart attack one of these days.
Always the same, every day.
Run, run, run.
Here Howard, have a cup yourself.
(Hands Howard cup.)
Trish, honey, I hate to tell you this, but your brother is a creep,
Donít be too hard on Kent. I
know he is a little self-centered, but heís my baby brother.
I love him.
Well, of course...(distracted by entrance of teenage boy from back.
He is in cut-offs, hair rumpled, yawning.)
Look what just crawled out of the sack.
Is it alive? Or is it
Brrr! Thatís a little chilly.
Itís Saturday. You-fix-em. Remember?
Is your sister up yet?
(Enters, bouncy and bright.) Someone
calling me? Here I am. (Goes
across and ruffles Ericís hair even more than it is.)
Give me a break!
Okay. How about your left arm?
(Grabs arm to fake breaking it.)
Kids! Go eat!
Yeah. Letís grab some Twinkies and watch the tube.
(They exit ďoverĒ Howard.)
Geeze, what is this? A
Oh, Howard. We have a
problem. My mother needs a new place to live. Her doctor says she just canít live alone anymore.
Your mother? Madam
Mouth? Who would want to have that lady for a roommate?
I know what you mean. (Sigh)
Weíve got to get serious here.
Regardless of your motherís personality and your past
relationship with her, we have to do something to solve this
problem. We need to
take the rational approach. What
are we going to do? What
are the options?
(Has been listening to the last speech at the door.)
How about her living here with us...(Eric enters)...in
Ericís room? (They tussle again.)
You know that his room isnít fit for human habitation.
Itís the pit of all pits.
No, I was teasing about that. But
she really could come here and live, you know.
We could handle that.
Yes! I like Grandma. We
would find a place for her here Ė the sewing room -the den.
The laundry room with the dirty laundry.
The attic with the other witches.
The basement to scare away the spooks.
Stop it! All of you! Grandma
is a sweetie!
(Gets quieter) Well,
yes, honey, we were just kidding.
But honestly, Candy, canít you see that I could not
emotionally handle her living here.
Youíre the one who has told us that we need to have faith for
tough situations...to trust God in all times...in all circumstances.
(Mocking her motherísvoice.)
ďGod will provide...for your every need.Ē
How many times have we heard you say that?
FELLOW SINNERS, THE VOICE OF GOD HAS SPOKEN!
Stop it! (She runs at him and they both exit.)
Iím outta here.
Youíre right, Howard. This
place is a zoo. (Throws
her hands up and exits.)
(Heads after Trish.) Wait
a minute. We havenít decided anything.
What are we going to do about Grandma Gena?
(Stands in the middle of the stage, all alone.)
If I have to live next to a zoo, at least I know thereíll
always be a feeding time. (Grabs
a doughnut and exits.)
One of the nice things about being in Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood is
that we can pretend a lot. We
can make time fly, stand still, or go backward.
In this case, several weeks have gone by and after a long and
painful struggle, a decision has been made about what to do with
Grandma. She will come
to live with the Dodger family.
Today is the big day. Grandma
Gene is scheduled to arrive.
(Frantically straightening the room, papers, cups.
She is in her robe.) Iíll
never have this place looking good enough for her!
(Entering) What are you
Dadís gone to get Gramma Gena and I am a wreck!
She makes me so nervous.
Oh, God, help me. Here,
dear, you dust a bit.
(Grabs Trishís arm and stops her.)
Come on, Mom, relax. Look
at it this way. Maybe
this is the chance you and Gram have needed to get to really know
each other. You and I
have a special relationship. Wouldnít
it be nice if you could have that same special relationship with
Is it possible? I
donít know. It seems impossible.
Whereís your faith? Even
when things look the worst, you know God is with you.
Donít you think He can see you through whatever happens?
Gramís always been good to me.
She has a good heart, if youíd give her a chance.
She needs us now.
Youíre right, of course. Maybe
it wonít be as bad as Iíve imagined.
of a door offstage. Trish
starts to take off her housecoat
and runs toward back stage to toss it aside.
She stands there to hide.)
Weíre here. Come in,
Gena. Iíll go get the luggage.
Itís cold in here. Canít
you people afford heat? I
didnít know I was coming to Alaska!
Where is that Patricia?
Do you suppose she has a decent cup of coffee anywhere?
(Looks back to see Trish.)
There you are...(Trish hugs Gena)
I suppose the reason you didnít come to the airport is
because you wish I wasnít here.
Oh, Mother! (They hug)
Come back in the kitchen and have a chair!
(Gramma exits Ė still stewing an muttering.)
Oh, God, please help me.
You know I canít do it without you!
(She exits to kitchen.)
(Exits, grabs cookie) This
cookie looks as bad as the ones on the airplane.
Gramma has indeed arrived and it appears that Patriciaís worst
fears are going to be realized.
Itís going to be a tough time for everyone and we will want
to check in on the situation when we next get together. Did you
notice that in this very dark moment, Patricia Dodger finds herself
looking upward and praying. ďGod,
please help me.Ē Isnít
that the same experience that you and I have?
When we are in trouble or in need, there is something inside
us, some instinct, that tells us that our help, hope and protection
is in God; in his power, his wisdom, his love. I think that that is
an instinct felt by all humans, whether they are rich or casual in
their faith. Maybe that
is the mustard seed of faith Ė an inner sense of a need for God. When the Apostle Peter wrote that letter to Christians like
us, he was writing to people whose sense of faith was more
developed, more than just basic instinct. He was writing to people
who have been taught and who know something of the nature of God and
his specific promises: that
He is indeed king of all and Father of all; that He is here and
available to heal us and to help us in our need; that He loves us
and forgives us for our sins and our weaknesses.
All we must do is believe these promises.
That is faith.
week we will come back again to Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood and see
if we can learn anything about what it means to supplement oneís
faith with knowledge. But Ė thatís another story for another day.
Good Evening, everyone. In
a minute we will begin our visit to Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood.
This is the second of our Lenten series in which we are
thinking about faith and how it grows and is used for building the
Kingdom of God. Peter,
in his second letter of the New Testament, wrote that faith is a
gift given to all of us. It
may be raw and undeveloped at the start, but as a gift from God, it
has great potential. It should not be left to stagnate, but must be put to work in
order to have the fullness and value that God intended.
An important ingredient to be added to our faith is
knowledge...and that is our subject for this eveningís play.
For those of you who were not here last Wednesday, I would
like to summarize what happened in episode one of Mr. Dodgerís
Neighborhood. It was a
tough time for Patricia Dodger.
Her mother, Grandma Gena, could no longer live by herself.
Where was she to go?
Brother Kent and his wife, Lois, the yuppie couple, were no
help. There was no room
in their inn. And for
Lee and Patricia Dodger and their two children, Eric and Candy,
having Grandma Gena come to live with them posed a real problem
because Gena had reputation of being, how shall I say it gently, a
bit strong-minded. In
fact, I think if the Dodgerís strange friend, Howard, had been a
witness to Genoaís arrival, he would have suggested that she came
in by Broomstick Express. But
then, all of these are first impressions.
We have mercifully spared you the trauma of the first weeks
of settling in with Grandma. By now some routine has again been
established in the Dodger household.
Episode of Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood.
(Grandma Gena is sitting alone with a cup of coffee, a plate
of cinnamon rolls, and her Bible.)
Now, where was I? Ah,
Psalm 23. The Lord is
my shepherd. I shall
not want. He makes me
lie down in green pastures and restores my soul.
Ah yes, Lord, Iím in great need of having my soul restored.
(Coming down from bedroom.) Well,
good morning, Gena. What
a surprise to see you up so bright and early.
I wasnít sleeping too well anyway, so I decided to come down and
make some cinnamon rolls and read my Bible.
Oh, cinnamon rolls. That
was thoughtful of you. Mmmmmmmm,
Iíll have one.
(Pours coffee and takes a roll.)
You werenít sleeping well?
I seem to have trouble now and then, you know.
I miss my own home, my own bed and pillow.
Yes, and then I start thinking about things.....
Just.....things. I miss
my own friends. Everything
seems messed up and just not the way I want it to be. I feel worthless, in the way.
Waitíll you get old. Youíll
(Entering) Hi Gram. Hi
Dad. Whatís that
Oh, please have a roll. (Proudly)
I made them myself. I
suppose you didnít know that I knew how to make fresh cinnamon
rolls? Iíd be happy
to teach you how.
Mmmmmm, deeeeeeelicious, Grandma. You must know all kinds of stuff from the olden days that we
Yes. Thatís true. And
itís just shame that in this day and age there is no longer any
pride in cooking a fine meal and caring for your loved
ones at home. Thatís a real art.
And you do a fine job of it too.
(Knock, knock. Enter,
Coffee time, I hope.
What are these little beauties? Are they Pillsbury? Duncan
I should say not! These
are homemade. Made at
home, with loving hands and domestic skills.
What are you up to Howard?
Glad you asked, my little chickadee.
Ever heard of the DaleCarnegiecourse?
Yes, of course.
Itís a course for successful living, ďGot to know ho to win
friends and influence people.Ē
Oh, poo! (Throws hands
Donít laugh. I know I
could practically teach the course myself, but a little brush-up
wouldnít hurt. Besides,
maybe the instructor will back himself into a corner and need my
Oh, you. (Leaves)
(Knock, knock. Enter
Kent and Lois)
Hi, everyone. How goes
the battle, Mom? (Hugs
managing. (Sigh) Have a roll, dear.
Here Lois. Itíll
help you leg feel
you like them?
I hope everything is going well with you, Mother.
We would have so loved to have you come to our place to live.
Iím so sorry that it was impossible, you know, with my
broken leg and all. (Pats Gena)
We really canít stay. We
wanted to come by and make sure that everything is all right.
Weíve got an important conference to attend.
Oh, whatís that about?
Itís on tax shelters.
With our two incomes, and the big tax bite, we hope this conference
will save us thousands. More
financial knowledge means more financial power. Itís always something, isnít it?
One problem after another.
Yup. Honey, weíd
better get going. (They
I guess itís time for me to make my exit too. Dale
Carnegie, hold on to your hat.
(Entering) Did I just
hear Kent and Lois? Where
are they going?
Theyíre off to some money-making scheme or something.
Is that what I heard?
Seems thatís all they know...money, money, money!
(Everyone looks at Gena puzzled.
I donít think thatís exactly what they said, Gena.
(Shakes head and chuckles.)
Why are you dressed up today, Trish?
(Putting on jacket.) You
must have forgotten, Honey. Today
is the day Iím going to the ďKnow YourselfĒ seminar.
Youíre right, I did forget. Whatís
that about again?
Itís about the changing roles of women in a changing world.
You see, todayís women have a much more complicated life
now that I Ė oh Ė Motherís day, for example.
Iíve been looking forward to going for weeks.
(Grabs purse, notebook.)
Enjoy your day!
I will. Good-bye.
Wait a minute, Patricia. At
least you can have a cinnamon roll before you go running off.
Cinnamon rolls mother? How
quaint. Thatís just
too heavy for me! Iíll
eat a power bar in the car on the way.
Now thatís what I mean, Lee. In my day, if a woman wanted to know herself, sheíd stay
home and just look in a mirror.
(Enter Ė a sleepy Eric, just out of bed.)
ĎMorning, Dad and Grandma. Whereís
You wouldnít believe all the high-falutin meetings and
seminars! Theyíre all
off to fancy meeting, donít even have time to eat a decent piece
of food. Here, Eric
dear, you have a nice, fresh cinnamon roll.
I baked them
You made these? Youíre
pulling my leg, arenít you Grandma?
No siree. This old lady
still has some tricks you havenít seen.
(Gets up, gives Gena a hug.) Well, Iíve got to get my things together and go too.
Where ar you going, Dad?
Iím going to the Home Bible Study leadersí meeting.
That preacher really conned me into something there.
Iím a discussion leader, of all things.
(Yawn) O boy, Iím impressed.
The most surprising thing about it is that I really enjoy it.
You wouldnít believe the good time we have together,
studying and learning. Itís
funny how interesting it is to share life and faith with other
(Stands up with a pretend microphone.)
The foregoing has been paid for by the We Hard the Word
(Chuckles) Oh, you! Have
a little respect. (Tussles
Ericís hair and exits)
I just donít get it. Why
would anyone study the Bible if they didnít have to.
Does it seem like a waste of time, Eric?
Well, sort of, in a way, that is.....(Evasive, not wanting to hurt
her feeling, finally being honest.)
Well, itís like this Grandma.
What does it really have to say for me today? We guys in school have other things to think about Ė like
sports, and cars, and girls. Some
of the guys brag about their conquests.
I donít go for that kind of stuff myself, but Iím sure
not going to stand up and preach at them and tell them what is says
in First Paul 26.
All you can tell them is what you know, Eric.
What do you know about God?
You want an
honest answer Gram? God
tells you what you canít do.
Heís a spoil sport, in a way.
It doesnít seem as though he wants us to have any fun.
Besides, how can I be
that there even is a God? You
canít prove him.
A spoil sport? Okay.
I see.....But the God I know is love, lots of love, love
inside of me even when I know I donít deserve it.
Love through the good times and bad.
Like when your Grandpa died.
And now when everyone thinks I am a feeble old fool.
I know that God is still with me.
I know...I know...
I understand that, Grandma.
Deep down, you know God too, Eric. You can prove God is real because you have felt his love
there in your heart.
(Comes running in.) Quick,
Eric, youíre missing your favorite program, Power Rangers.
Thanks, Gram. Itís
been great to talk to you. (Exit)
Arenít you watching the Power Boys program too.
(Chuckles) No, Grandma. Itís
Ericís favorite, not mine. Do
you know where Mom is?
Off on some kind of meeting about how good it is to live now and not
when I was young.
What? (Puzzled Ė
thinks a second) Oh, I remember.
Today is the day for her seminar on ďKnow Yourself.Ē
Yes, thatís it, alright. But
what a bunch of hooey! She
has a lot better things to do than run off to meetings.
She shouldnít be off gallivanting every which way like she does.
In my day, it wasnít like that Ė a woman stayed home and
did her work.
Grandma, why donít you two like each other?
(Surprised) Not like each other? Is that what it looks like?
Yes, sort of.
I love her, of course, but she doesnít seem to have time for me
anymore. When she was a
little girl, we used to do everything together.
As she grew, she didnít want my advice or help anymore. Now she doesnít need me at all.
Oh, Grandma! I know Mom
love you too.
(Absently) Iím just in her way and when I try to help her with
things, she seems to resent it.
I donít know why.
Youíve probably both just changed a lot.
I suppose. (Sigh) I
didnít think it would be like this. I thought we would always be
So you donít really know each other anymore, do you?
I hope that when Mom is through ďKnowing Herself,Ē
sheíll get to know you. Come
on, letís go see if Eric enjoyed his Power Ranger show.
(The two exit, Gena shuffling slowly along.)
Now, it is late in the afternoon. Lee, Lois, Kent, Trish and Howard
are returning from their meetings.
(Singing to self) Hi everybody. Anybody home?
(From kitchen) Iím in the kitchen, cleaning up my mess.
Grandma, Iíve been thinking about that conversation we had this
What about it?
Well, I was talking to my friends at Bible study, many of our
parents are the same age. We
compared notes: and
itís tough getting old.....things are changing for you.
I realized I havenít been sensitive enough to your
feelings.....to your situation.
Why thank you, Lee. Itís
so hard for me to depend on someone, on you and Patricia.
It makes me feel old and foolish.
Youíre older, Grandma, but not useless and youíre nobodyís
fool either. You bring
new energy and wisdom to this home.
shuffles back to the kitchen)
(Enter Lois, Kent and Howard; also Trish behind and in
Oh, that lecture was fantastic, Howard. You just canít imagine who
valuable it was.
He was absolutely sparkling! A three-piece suit, witty, very smooth. We learned so much.
If we follow his advice, we can save a mint on our taxes.
Oh, boy. Mediterranean
cruise, here we come.
And I bet Grandma Gena would love to go along with you.
(Dryly) Ha, ha! Funny!
How was your buddy, Dale Carnegie?
Learn anything new?
(spots Gena) Hey watch this. (Approaches Gena) Oh, Gena, what a marvelous person you are.
Why those rolls you made this morning are a work of art.
(Grabs her hand) Look
at these graceful, creative hands.....the shape, the strength, and
the lovely nails.....
(Jerks hand away) Cut the crap, Howard, or Iíll nail you one.
Why, Madam, your wit and charm is astounding.
Whatís astounding is how you bright people can spend so much time
looking for wisdom and knowledge, when anyone with half a mind would
know there is only one thing that is really worth knowing.
Knowing God...knowing love...knowing those we love...(hurt
Howard...so positive...may I say, so puffed up with phony praise. But I know what you say behind my back. Puffed up praise is no substitute for loving.....
Come on, Gena.
And Kent? You seem to
want to know more about your money than your mother.
Kent and Lois:
And Trish, you run off and spent the day going to some seminar about
knowing yourself, but Iíve been here for weeks.....you donít sem
to want to me.....or care about me.
Iím just old and useless, a feeble old fool.....who tells the
truth. (Muttering to
God will help me through this. I gotta finish the cinnamon
rolls. (Shuffles back to the kitchen.)
Kent and Lois:
Now, I think we had better go. Yeh, time to go. (Visibly
upset, begin to exit)
Itís time for me to go to.....(Kent, Lois and Howard all exit)
Lee what are we going to do? (Moves to center stage to hug Lee)
Patience dear. Patience.
Your Mom? She
just needs to know we love her.
Then the rest will all work out.
(Walk out to family room arm in arm)
As you know, it is my role to try to make some sense out of what we
see happening in Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood. Not always easy, is it?
Tonight, our theme was knowledge and we watched our friends
pursuing and, in some cases, finding it.
Several wanted knowledge about things that would help them in
this world: self-understanding, greater wealth or increased
popularity and influence. Howard,
of course, may have missed some of the finer points of his course.
On the other hand, Eric, if he truly let himself listen, may
have discovered that his concept of God was much too small.
But certainly, he, Candy, and those of us who listened in,
learned a great deal about Grandma Gena.
Although she may be a woman of sharp of sharp tongue and
shrill voice, she is also a person of iron faith, built on a strong
personal knowledge of God. But we also found out that inside her
rough exterior, she hurst, hopes, and feels and that is very human.
She is struggling with growing older and feeling worthless
and useless. Iím glad
that we have come to know her better.
I think we all understand the value of knowledge in helping
us rewards people who have knowledge by giving them better pay,
greater prestige, and more power.
So we tell our children, and sometimes even ourselves, to
study hard and learn well in order to be the best they can be.
Even more so would God, our Creator, want us to be the very
best that we can be and He clearly wants us to know Him on a
personal level. He is
not a distant, unapproachable God like Eric still thinks.
He is a God who so loved us that He sent His Son to earth to
live, teach, suffer and die for us that we may truly know God and
His love for us. Knowing
God depends not on wealth, status, age or brilliance, but on
attitude Ė on how we set our mind.
We need to want to know Him and in wanting to know Him, we
will open ourselves to Him and be alert to His signs and His will
about us and in us.
Next week, when we return, we are going to deal with the
matter of behavior and self-control.
From what we have seen, that is a ripe field for the Dodgers
and their friends. BUT
Ė that is another story for another day.
Biblical Bases for ďKnowledgeĒ
Psalm 46:10, 100:3, 139:23
John 6:68-69, 8:31-32, 10:3-5, 14-15, 17:3
Seven Living Gifts: Self Control (Episode #3)
This evening, for an introduction to our script on self-control, I
have brought along something I want to show you.
Could I have my friend___________ come up here and help me
show it to you. First
of all, ___________have you ever ridden a horse? I have tried, myself, but I donít do it very well.
Every time the horse comes up, it meets me coming down and I
get very sore!
Horses are beautiful animals, arenít they?
They run so fast and are so full of spirit, but they need a
good rider to control them. (Brings
out bridle. Have
__________help hold it.)
Do you know what this is?
Itís called a bridle.
Itís one way in which a rider can control horse.
It fits over the head of the horse and this bar here, called
a bit, goes into the horseís mouth.
The reins are attached to this bit and bridle and a good
rider can pull on the reins just right so that the horse feels the
pressure in his mouth and will turn in the direction the rider wants
him to go.
Animals havenít been given the gift to be able to control
themselves, have they, ___________?
So if we want to tame them and use them, we must control
them. But what do we as
human beings do for control? Who
or what controls us? Perhaps
we can learn something about self-control tonight in our visit to
Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood, for the Dodgers and their friends are
sometimes mirrors of ourselves.
(The scene is the living room. Gena is knitting. Lee
and Eric are sitting on the sofa and chairs watching TV. Trish is standing behind, opening a box of chocolates, poking
and prodding and eating them. Candy
is off to the side on the telephone.)
(Eyes bugging out and making faces at the disgusting things she sees
on the TV.) I canít
believe my eyes! (Mouth
pops open.) That looks like underwear!
This is terrible!
Candy, how long have you been on that phone?
Dad, Shawn just called. We
just started talking.
Just started talking? I
have been timing you and you started over 45 minutes ago.
No! Youíve talked
long enough. Tell Shawn
youíll see him in the morning in school.
Continue your talk there.
Candy! I donít want
to have to tell you again! Get
off the phone.
I have to go,
Shawn. See you
tomorrow. (Hangs up.)
You always pick on me! (Stomps
to chair and continues to pout.)
I donít believe my eyes. Trish.
Lee. Do you let
your kids see this awful stuff?
Their eyeballs are being corrupted...their little souls
Aw, Grandma. We see
that stuff all the time.
Oh, no. Look at that! Kissing
with their mouths wide open. Yuk!
All that slime and
Grandma thatís the way a lot of kids kiss today.
Candy, Eric, your mother and I donít agree with this kind of
television show or movie. Change
No, we donít. You see
all that sex stuff? We
just donít approve of those life styles.
Youíre right, Lee. Everyone
living together, with no marriage, no respect for each other.
Itís not right.
Here we go again. Morality
lecture number ten!
You were showing me your confirmation stuff earlier, Eric.
What was that your pastor said about sex?
What did you learn?
Come on. What was it he
(In a sing-song style) Our generation goes too far, too fast, too
soon. Sex before
marriage is wrong, control our sexual desires.
There! Is that
what young people need. Why
when I was a boy your age...
Yes, Dad. Tell us all
about your sexual behavior back there when you were a boy.
Weíd love to hear.
And donít leave out the good parts!
Why, I...that is...
Good ahead, Lee. Iím
really interested in what you have to say, since we were high school
sweethearts. Tell them
about how pure you were!
Okay, so I was no perfect angel either.
But the pastor is right. This generation goes too far, too
fast, too soon. You
need to control your sexual desires.
Especially you, Candy. Youíre
the girl and girls need to be in control more.
Girls are the ones who have to say no.
Boys all think about sex.
What? Thatís a sexist
thing to say! Girls are
the ones to control boys? Whatís
with the double standard. (Makes
face to Eric.) Just
look at Eric. So guys donít need self-control?
Now, Candy. That
isnít exactly what I mean. That
is..eh, Trish. I think
I need your help on this, Honey. You know, about the birds and bees.
Huh uh! You got your
self into this. I can
hardly wait to see what comes next.
Birds and bees? Oh,
boy, Dad. I think I learned about that in second grade.
(Makes face back to Candy.)
Maybe she needs special help though.
Okay, so you both think Iím old fashioned, but I know what God
wants for us, is whatís best for us.
In the Bible, it says that we are to confine our sexual
relationships to our marriage partners.
Yes, it is a BIG DEAL! Is
teen-age pregnancy a big deal?
Is venereal disease a big deal, or AIDS or herpes?
Well, sure it is. (Gets
up and goes to side.)
We know! We know!
We know! (Candy
joins him where they converse quietly.)
If this generation knows so much, why are there so many of them that
are turning to drugs and even suicide because their lives are such a
(Still watching TV and knitting) If I had seen stuff like this when I was going with your
Grandpa, it would have riled him up!
He would have been like a raging bull!
what they need. You
feel better about your life and yourself if you exercise
You mean like Patricia and her chocolates?
Mother, that wasnít nice.
Who said I was nice?
I like chocolates. So?
But you donít like yourself for whoofing those chocolates down one
after another. Youíll
get on the scale tomorrow and groan and complain that you have to go
on another diet. Nope,
Patricia. Youíre out
of control and you donít even like it yourself...stuffing yourself
like a fat pig!
(Knock is heard on the door.)
(Before Howard can even enter, Eric and Candy have escalated
their conversation to a wilder and higher pitch. We can hear some name-calling and remarks about Shawn, or
other friends. Gena and
Trish are still arguing about the chocolates as Gena tries to grab
the box. Lee is in the
middle of the two feuds, gesturing on both sides.)
Everyone settle down! Control yourself, control yourself!
If this isnít the picture of a perfect family, a charming
Christian family. Talking,
sharing, watching TV. (Laugh)
Whyís that, Trish?
Because Mother is getting on my case about eating a few measly
chocolates. She says I
donít like myself when my eating is out of control.
Your Mother said that? Madam
Mouth? (To Gena)
Grandma Gena, Iím surprised at you.
How could you say such a thing like that to little Trish
here? (Starts to light
cigar with huge flame.) Out
of control, indeed.
And you, Howard, sucking on that cancer stick of yours.
All the doctors know it will kill you sooner or later! Yet
there you are sucking away.
(Puts out flame)
Blowing smoke on all of us, stinking up the living room.
Itís a sin, Howard.
No, itís not a sin. A
bad habit, yes. I smoke
because itís a habit, a bad one.
You smoke because you have so self-discipline, and you donít like
yourself either when you puff away.
You gum up your
lungs with black, gooey tar!
Iíve tried to quit! Iíve
been to Schick Center. To
a hypnotist. Tried
electric shock, prayer, the Vatican.
Iíve tried them all, but I just canít quit.
(On a roll!) No
self-control! This new
generation doesnít have what we old-timers had Ė inner strength.
We had a will to say ďNo.Ē
Youíre all soft!
Old Gram is really socking it to you, Howard.
love it, Grandma. You
call a spade a spade. When
you old folks speak the truth, you get away with it.
Grandma, your words are great.
And as for you, Lee, your mind is often a thousand miles from home.
When you get home from work, your brain is still at the
office. I look into
your eyeballs (looks in Leeís eyes and waves her hand in front of
them) and say to myself, ďIs anybody home there? Is anybody home?Ē You
donít listen to the kids when they talk.
All you said is, ďuh, oh, hmm.Ē
You need to control your thoughts and put your mind where
your body is.
(Meanwhile, Eric and Candy have broken into a quarrel again.)
Eric, you make me so mad. Why
do you tease me about Shawn?
I didnít! I just
said, ďShawn, the Fawn.Ē (Candy
stomps to the middle of the room.)
There you go again. (Turns
back to him with threatening fist.) Donít you EVER say that again!
Did you hear what he said!
(Stomping off stage, followed by Eric.)
And nobody even cares.
What was that you were saying about self-control, Gena?
That people donít like themselves when they lack
(Knock on door Ė enter Kenton and Lois, boxes and bags
Guess where weíve been? (They
plop all that stuff on the floor.
Trish gets down to start looking them over.)
Presidentís Day sale (or whatever suits the season)
Boy, did we find the good buys.
I got three new suits, shoes, new pajamas.
You wonít believe the fabulous prices.
I feel a tad guilty, but not much.
Looks like you spent a mint!
Sure. We spent a lot, but think of how much we saved at those
prices. We didnít
have to pay for it; we just charged it.
Thatís living! Going
shopping, spending money, lunch.
Thatís really living.
Grandpa and I really lived, and we never did that.
We had to live on $50.00 a month.
But the world has changed, Mother. You and Dad had each other, an old oil stove, the radio at
night, the old featherbed. Life
was simpler then.
Thatís right, it was simpler. But Iíll bet youír not one bit happier than Grandpa and I
Youíre probably right, Mom.
Where you gonna put all that junk?
In our home! In my new
Our house is as stuffed full of junk...as Patriciaís stomach is
Here we go again!
(Joking, and patting Gena) Weíll
just have to build a bigger barn, Mom. Donít get upset. We
feel good about what we bought.
Besides, itís good for the American economy.
Look, we both work hard at our jobs.
We deserve to buy what we want.
Do you think weíve lost control of our buying habits?
Humph! That seems to be
the way people live these days!
Lost control? You
and everyone else! No
control. No discipline.
Well, good friends, as much as I hate to leave this tranquil scene,
I have to be running.
And so do we. Gotta get
all these things home.
(Good-byes all around.)
(Changing channel on TV.) Gotta
catch the evening news. (Trish and Gena awkwardly staring off into
space, glancing at each other.)
(Finally, after pause) Patricia, I feel badly when Howard calls me
Mighty Mouth. I laugh
it off, but it hurts.
(Some sympathy) Mother.
I wish I could control my tongue better.
Mom, maybe that is one of the reasons we have had troubles between
us. To me, you always
seemed so quick to point out my faults when I was growing...nagging
at me, sort of.
How I regret that now.
I guess I sort of expect that when you open your mouth to say
something to me, it will be a criticism.
When your Father was alive, he didnít let me get by with that!
He would say, ďGena, you keep your mouth quiet this
time.Ē I need him
around now, to help me bridle my tongue.
Funny thing is, when you do speak out though, there is usually a lot
of truth to what you are saying, but...
But I need to find a kinder way to say it, donít I!
More gentle. (Trish grabs her hand and they smile at each other.)
(Coming back to join them.) Youíre
not the only one, Gena. Weíve
all acted like a bunch of bozos this evening.
What do you mean?
We were all carrying on Ė the children fighting, us arguing about
sex, smoking, eating, buying...
Ranting and raving...
Out of control. Weíre
all out of control, our lives and habits.
We are supposed to be a Christ-centered family but we cling to our
self-destructive ways. Itís
a good thing God is so forgiving.
(Stands and pats Trishís hand.) And itís a good thing we can forgive each other too, eh?
Come on, Gena, letís go brew up a cup of hot chocolate.
Want one, Trish? (The
two start to exit.)
Oh, no thanks. How about a diet soda for me.
weíve just seen happening in Mr.Dodgerís Neighborhood has not
been a shining example, has it?
Self-control is the exercise of will power and discipline
over the things that we thin, say, and do.
The book of Proverbs says that a person without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls.
In other words, a person without self-control is without
protection and an easy victim of anything or anybody who would
mislead or cause harm.
Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love God
with all our heart, minds, and soul, and love our neighbor as
ourselves. If what we
do alienates us from God or gives control of our lives to someone
other than our Creator, it is wrong.
If what we do is our relationship with others or to ourselves
causes harm, it is clearly not consistent with these commandments as
restated by Jesus. Then
it is time to exercise self-control. That is not easy!
We all have problems with it.
We saw that when we looked in on the Dodgers tonight and
recognized ourselves. We
saw decent people, who in some aspect or another of their lives,
were out of control and hurting themselves and others.
Certainly, we feel emotions! Theyíve been given to us by God Ė emotions, appetites,
passions Ė and he wants us to use them.
He wants us to live and care, to be grieved and angry over
injustice, to experience joy and sorrow.
These have a joyful and positive use.
But like the horse that needs proper control, so we need to
have control over our spirit, emotions, passions and appetites.
And, when in spite of all that, we fail?
We know we have the promise of God that through his grace and
love in Christ, he has forgiven us.
Next week, we return again to the Dodger neighborhood to
consider another important supplement to faith Ė endurance.
That is another story for another day.
Seven Living Gifts: Endurance (Episode #4)
Good evening, everyone. Welcome again to Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood.
I got a late start leaving home tonight and I was so afraid
that I would be late getting here. That would test your endurance, wouldnít it?
Anytime you have to wait for someone for a long time, it
Endurance is a word that means being able to keep strong and
brave when things are difficult and painful.
It is an important quality to possess.
A Christian often finds that endurance is both a result of
faith and a part of faith.
An athlete needs to endure Ė to keep on running or
competing even when he or she is very tired.
A boy or girl needs endurance when it is tough for them tat
home or in school. Adults
too need endurance in their lives when things go wrong for them.
The Dodgers and their friends need endurance right now, as we
will see in Episode 4.
(Lee and Trish are sitting at the table talking.
Trish is scanning the Help Wanted section of the paper.)
Trish, do you realize that Grandma Gena has been with us for three
months now? It seems
that she adjusting pretty well to the new situation.
What do you think?
Youíre right, sheís doing fine. Itís my nerves that are
You still havenít adjusted to her being here?
I donít think I ever will. My
endurance has run its course. I
donít think Iíll ever get used to having her looking over my
shoulder all the time Ė interrupting me constantly.
Oh, come on. Hang in
there, Trish. Itíll
Hmmm, you have been a bit cranky lately, havenít you, Trish?
(Sarcastically) A bit
cranky! Iím ready to
punch the person who says that.
Well, excuuuuuuuse me! (Pause,
Trish looks at paper.) Do
you really think you can help find Kent a job by looking the Help
Iíve got to try! I
just canít believe he has lost his job! His future seemed so
Thatís the business world. One
day youíre flying high, everything is great, and the next Ė
But not Kent. He is so
bright and hard-working....
(Interrupted by Gena who is running the vacuum cleaner.
She is oblivious to them as they both make gestures to her to
to her) Grandma!
(Jumps) Whatís all
Canít you see we are trying to talk?
Talk, talk, talk! Thereís
work to be done! I
canít stand living in a pig pen.
What is so all-fire important that it canít wait?
After all, we have company coming for dinner.
Weíre worried about Kent. We
want to help him.
Oh, he will be fine. He
is young, strong, and healthy.
He can find job somewhere.
Maybe you could put him to work cleaning your house.
This is serious, Gena. Kent
and Lois are used to a high standard of living.
He wonít take just any position, you know.
Thatís the trouble with young people these days.
They think they have to make thousands and thousands of
dollars for little or no work.
Grandpa worked his fingers to the bone just to put food on
the table, and was glad to be able to.
(Gena starts to wind up the vacuum cord and move toward door
(Going to her rescue and helping.) Times are different now. Keep looking Trish, if you want to,
but youíre probably wasting your time.
He may already have a new offer.
(Enter Candy and Eric from school, loaded with books, jacket.
They plop down
How many more years of 19 hour days do we have to take?
I donít think I can last through these ďbest years of my
No kidding! That old
bag Miss Krebs is throwing her third test at us tomorrow.
You two have a hard day?
You know it! Every day!
School until 2, work until 6...
Study until 10, collapse into bed.....
We donít have time for anything else.
Itís hard, isnít it? Thereís
so much to do. Donít
forget that your father and I are behind you all the way.
Does that help any?
I suppose it keeps the problems manageable, not impossible.
the attitude! Your
problems are difficult, but not impossible Ė not over-whelming.
What do you mean?
Well, like someone, say, who has no family support, who has to go
through it alone with no one to care.
Someone whose home life is in shambles.
Oh, like Patty Hammer. I
saw her crying today at school.
Her family is all busted up.
She acts so cool most of the time, like nothing bothers her.
It makes her not much fun to be around, and hard to make
friends. I usually
donít talk to mer much.
What might you do for her? Sounds
like she could use a good friend at our church.
Maybe she could talk to our pastor.
What? Patty Hammer?
She wouldnít fit, Mom.
She has been around!
What do we say? ďHey
want to be wonderful like us? Come
Just be open to the possibilities. It sounds like she needs good, stable friends.
And I know you two are sensitive to people in need.
Too late for the flattery now, Mom.
I gotta go change Blue Light Specials at the K-Mart. Bye. (Exit)
Yikes! It is late!
My babysitting job! (exit)
Patty Hammer. Now that
little gal has a tough situation to endure. She needs help. Kent.
And Lois. They
need help too. My
problems with Mother are nothing by comparison.
(Trish picks up books, etc., talking to herself, then stops
and offer a prayer.) Dear
loving Father, be with all of them. Give them the strength they need for the trials in their
(Knock at door Ė enter Howard)
Howdy, howdy. Where is
Everyone? Iím here.
What am I? Invisible?
Whoa, there, Trish. It
was just a figure of speech. You
seem to be a bit cranky these days.
(Make a run for him with both arms flailing the air.)
both sit, as Lee enters.)
Whee! Iím unarmed.
anything from Kent and Lois?
No. We are truly
concerned. The dinner
conversation tonight might get a little tense.
I wonder if Kent is still looking for work.
Why? You have something
Donít trouble yourself now. Iíll
talk to Kent myself.
How are we going to handle the tension tonight?
It might be easier if we knew why he lost his job.
Could it have been that his skills werenít what they should have
Maybe he was exercising too much independence.
Thereís a bit of that in his family.
You two donít know anything about the business world, do you?
What probably happened is they simply needed to reorganize
and Kent got the short end of the stick.
It had nothing to do with what he did nor didnít do.
Letís just help him all we can.
(Knock and enter Kent and Lois in subdued tones.
Quiet hellos around.)
Howís it going, brother? (Pats
his shoulder, and he pulls away.)
Just fine, Trish. (Firmly)
It must be pretty tough being without work for a while, Kent.
Got anything in mind? What
will you do?
Come on, Kent. Letís
be honest here. About
your job, of course. What
have you got lined up?
Iím working on it.
This must be hard on you too, Lois, being the sole provider
now, living on one income.
Kent has the situation under control.
I have faith in him. Weíll
be just fine.
Thatís easier said than done. I know people who have been out of work for long periods of
time and itís tough! Youíre
going to have to do some serious thinking about this.
You canít run away from it.
Look, do we have to talk about this now?
Canít we just have a pleasant evening together?
(Looks at Kent.)
(To Trish and Lee) You
guys arenít any help here. (Then
to Kent) Kent, my boy,
if you need work, come and see me.
That does it! Thatís
the lowest blow! Itíll be a cold day in hell before I go to work
for you Howard! Everybody
here seems to know exactly what I should do with my life.
Itís time for us to go, Lois.
Obviously, we canít have a peaceful evening here.
(Runs to Lee) Oh, Lee.
This is terrible! (Cries
and they exit.)
Maybe I should have phrased that a little more carefully.
Guess I could go home and check on that chapter in my
Carnegie course. (He
Poor Kent. He has just
had insult added to injury. He
is hurting. Like so
many of us, when things suddenly go wrong, he is angry, embarrassed,
and tense. Unfortunately
for Kent, things were not going to get better.
Weeks have gone by. There
have been 200 resumes sent out and from these 20 interviews, and
still no job. Kentís self esteem and frustration have shrunk lower and
lower. Itís been
tough for Lois too, for so much of what they valued has disappeared
rapidly. PacWest Club
went early as did the ski weekends.
The new bedroom set went back last month.
The tax shelter investment is now a cash flow prison.
Today, Kent has been to the bank to ask again for an extended
loan. He has now
(Kent and Lois sitting at the table.)
Please, tell me again. What
did they say?
We canít get a loan. The
bank said ďNoĒ. Itís
plain and simple. You
canít get a loan unless you donít need one.
What are we going to do?
Iím not sure.
(Long pause) Do we have to move?
Yes, we canít afford to live here any longer.
Where can we move to?
Guess weíll have to look at something downtown.
(Shakes her head an sighs) Guess so.
Coming out of the bank today, I felt like such a total failure.
I have never felt so completely alone and lost, so helpless.
I donít know why this is happening to me, and I donít
know how to fix it. I
And you know what, Lois?
I prayed, really prayed.
I spilled out all my worries to God Ė not for the problems
to go away, but for me to find some peace.
Oh, Kent. I love you.
Know what happened? As
I was walking back through the park, I looked around and saw things
I hadnít seen before - the beauty of the river, the trees and
flowers. Everything had
such vivid color. It
was as though dark glasses had been removed from my eyes.
(Reaches over to take his hand.) Honey.
Then I saw this old, bent-over, seedy-looking man.
He was hurrying along with a paper bag in his hand and
started coming toward me. I
thought for sure he was going to put the touch on me.
I had to laugh to myself at the situation.
Iím glad you could.
But instead of asking for money, he asked me what time it was.
I told him that I thought he was going to ask for money and
he smiled and said, ďNo, thereís nothing that I need that I
donít already have.Ē Then
he hurried away Ė over to a park bench and started feeding the
squirrels peanuts from his paper bag.
(Chuckles and shakes head.) What
have I been hurrying for? Iíve
been spinning my wheels. What
have all my worry and anxiety done to help me?
have only robbed me of the pleasure of the ordinary, daily event of
life. For the first
time in months, Lois, I feel at peace.
Our problem isnít fixed, but I am.
you know what Iím going to do?
Iím sending out another 200 resumes, 2000, if I have to.
Iím not going to give up.
Iíll help you.
Iíve got everything that I truly need for life.
I have peace inside. I
have you. I have
discovered beauty, and renewed faith in God and the strength that
only he can give.
Kent, I love you.
Thereís something else I need to do right away too.
It may surprise you. I
need to make a phone call. (Goes
to phone and begins to dial.)
What are you doing?
Youíll see. Hello.
Howard? This is Kent.
Can we talk?
Good evening and welcome to another episode of Mr. Dodgerís
we are going to be talking about piety or godliness.
Piety is a difficult word to understand.
Itís a good word, but is often misused.
Some people think that those who are pious are
stick-in-the-muds who have no fun. think that pious people act more
saintly, more holy, or more Christian than others.
Notice said they Ďactí more holy, not that they
necessarily Ďareí more holy. But that isnít what
piety means. It seems to actually be the opposite
Of that, because it means having the right kind of
relationship to God and to others.
It means knowing that God is our creator, our hope and
salvation, and that leads to acting toward others in ways that God
would want and encourage. If
we are God-centered, our lines will reflect that in love and
friendship toward others. And those acts of love will be so natural that we wonít
have to show off or parade our goodness to others.
It will be a part of us and thus we will be in harmony with
God and with others. We
will learn more of piety tonight in Episode #5 of Mr. Dodgerís
(Lee and Eric are sitting at the table finishing breakfast.
Trish comes walking in from the kitchen with a gorgeous cake
and sets it down in front of them.
They both make a dive for it and Trish shoos them off.)
No, no, back you beasts! You
canít have this.
Aw, Mom. I promise I
wonít let it ruin my lunch.
Iíve never seen anything that could!
(Comes walking in.) Hi,
everyone. Trish, are
Yes, but we still have a few minutes.
How about a cup of coffee?
Sure. Eric, is Candy up
Yeah! She finked out
early with Grandma so she wouldnít have to help me and Dad with
old Mrs. Barnes today.
Eric, I thought you wanted to help our neighbor with her window
washing. I didnít
mean to force you into it.
Weell Ė sheís a nice lady and all that, always has a sympathetic
ear for my problems, but what a bummer way to spend a Saturday!
Oh, come on, with two of us working at it, weíll be done in no
time at all. Besides,
if she did it alone, she might fall off the ladder or something Ė
maybe break a leg.
Yeah! All those blood
and guts all over our driveway.
(Gets up and goes.) Iíll
go get the bucket and squeegee.
Whereíd they go? Grandma
You wonít believe this. Mom
says she needs a car. Is
that hilarious? She
isnít fooling us for a minute though.
No. Sheís actually
buying it for Candy and Eric to use.
Then when she needs to go on errands or to an appointment,
she can have a chance to be with them and visit.
Not a bad idea. I
couldnít imagine Gena driving herself!
Watch out world! Genaís
on the loose.
Guess we had better be going. Grab the cake there will you, Lois? Iíve got to get my purse. (Turns her back while Lee and
Lois both lick the frosting.)
(Takes cake and leaves.) Iíll
go start the car.
Where are you going with the cake? I really did think it was ours.
Oh, honey. Donít be
silly. Itís for the
church bake sale.
You ladies and your bake sales! You bake this stuff and then go off and sell it to each
The church probably ends up with $3.00, and it costs you
$5.00 to make!
(Leans forward slightly perturbed.)
You wouldnít want people to think that I wasnít doing my
share, would you?
Seems all we get around here for dissert is store-bought cookies and
stale ice cream. Wish
you had time to bake for us.
I resent that, Lee. You
act as though I completely ignore my familyís needs.
Sometimes I wonder where we stand in your list of priorities Ė
right after church charities and just before the Bill Cosby show.
Maybe after that too!
Me? What about you?
(Argument starts to escalate as phone rings two or three
times.) Talk about
priorities! Where do we
fit in with your life? Where
does your quality time get spent?
It seems to me......(Goes to phone and sweetly says) Trish
here! (Pause) Yes,
certainly. Weíd be
delighted to pick you up. We
were just leaving. (Slams
phone down and says angrily.) Good
You might remember what happened last week.. Kentís world had come
crashing around his head. He
lost his job and spent months trying to find another position
fitting his style and income needs. He was not successful however. What he did find, though, was an inner peace, which not only
allowed him to endure, but also encouraged him to make the best of a
bad situation. The best
he could do was accept a job working for, of all people, Howard. If It was match
made in Heaven, we have to know our Creator has a great sense of
humor! Scene 2 takes
place at Howardís car lot. It
is Kentís first week on the job.
(Howardís Dealership office. Howard comes in with his usual outlandish garb, newspaper in
rear pocket, cowboy hat and boots.)
You just come on out here, Kent. You got to get to work.
(Calls from back.) I
donít know about this, Howard.
It just doesnít seem to suit me.
Youíre going to love it! You
(Enter, dressed similar to Howard.)
Iím not so sure! (sigh)
Youíll see. Whatís
on our agenda today?
You wonít believe who is coming in to look for a car today.
No, Grandma Gena.
Oh thatís right. I
promised not to say that anymore.
Do we have anything for her? I think she really wants to get a car for the grand children
(Looks through file) Letís
see here...hmmm...we got a couple of dandies for her.
Be honest. Do
you think Iíll ever make it as a car dealer?
What? Why, sure enough.
Do you see that beautiful, big, neon, blinking sign out
You mean the one that says, ďNowís the hour to buy from
Yep thatís it. Ainít
it a beauty? Well, in
no time at all, when
you learn the ropes, itís gonna say, ďNow that itís Lent, buy
Hmmm, that is ehhh, thank you, I think.
My boy, stick with me. There
are just a couple of basic things to keep in mind and then you build
Basics? Like what?
First off, youíve got to dress for success and Iím proud to see
that youíre on your way. (Kent
stands and turns around to show off his finery.) Secondly, my friend, youíve got to know your product.
Well, you being an engineer and all, that wonít be
difficult for you to understand, once you know our inventory.
Guess that will just take some time.
Right. Then, you have
to get to know your customers.
Get acquainted. Be
their friend. Be
sensitive to their dreams and sell them what represents that for
You better believe it. And
never, I say never, cheat Ďem on prices or sell Ďem a bad car.
Be honest, 100%.
Iíll bet youíve sold enough lemons to supply every
lemonade stand in the state. (Laughs)
Ho, ho yourself, laughing boy. This may surprise you, but I just donít operate that way.
Here, let me show you my cost sheets and prices.
(Opens desk with key.) I
always keep this under lock and key.
The government would have to get a search warrant to get in
(Gena and Candy have been walking in slowly through the last
speech and are now
spotted by Kent who jumps up to welcome them.)
(Hellos all around.)
What a pleasure! What
can we do for you lovely ladies today?
Cut the soft soap, Howard! I
want a car Ė one that works, if you have one.
Why, Madam, I am wounded!
And donít you go trying to take advantage of me just because of my
age. I may be old, but
Iím not stupid.
Of course, my dear. (Nods
to Kent.) Th customer
is always right. Weíre bound to have something that will be just
your cup of tea.
Howard, do you have any with an awesome stereo and mag wheels?
Iím sure we can accommodate you both.
Grandma, Iím so excited! Youíre
such a sweetheart to do this. (Gives
her a big hug.)
Just donít forget that you two young folks have to take me on my
errands too, not just chase around like fools.
Yes, Gram. We will.
(The three start to exit for the lot.)
And Howard. It better
be a good bargain because we already saw Cal Worthington down the
street and he gave us a nice Christian calendar with Bible verses
for every day of the week. (Exit)
(Left on his own, starts to look at the price sheets Ė starts
rummaging through desk. Picks
up a book, looks, another boo, papers, ledger.)
Hmmm, whatís this? Well.
I donít believe it. Not
So we have a mystery. The
innermost secrets of Howard lie in that drawer, kept out of sight
under lock and key. What
can it be? Dare we
wonder? Does that drawer contain the name and address of his tailor?
Is Howard a former choir director, defrocked for having the
choir sing ďYellow Rose of TexasĒ for an anthem?
What is the truth? Perhaps
we will find out in the final scene of Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood.
(Back at Dodger home. Kent,
Lois, Trish and Lee sitting down...)
What a day we had down at the car lot!
Oh, how is it having Howard for your mentor?
That must be quite an experience.
Oh, heís really not a bad sort of fellow to work with.
No, itís the uniform thatís peculiar!
I understand you had an interesting older client today.
You must mean Mother. That
was not an easy sale, but we did find her something finally.
She seemed quite delighted with her purchase.
Yes, but that was not the most interesting event of the day.
You would not believe what I found in Howardís drawer.
Oh? Tell me?
What was it?
I found some pretty startling information.
Ah Ha! So the old crook
got found out, eh?
Oh, Kent. Heís our
friend. If thereís
anything incriminating, I donít want to know.
Incriminating? Yes, I
guess it is.
(Leaning forward eagerly, beconing to hear more.)
What? Tell us.
(Teasing) Howard Ė has a.....a secret life.....about which we know
Youíre teasing us. What
Looking through his secret drawer, I found some ledgers and books
that seem to prove that Howard..Öour friend, Howard, is
a.....generous, giving, prayerful, devout person.
He had worn out Bible, a special book on ďMeditations on the
PsalmsĒ, another prayer book.
He must use them every day.
You mean he has a serious reverence for God?
Thatís amazing. Heís
always seemed so uninterested in our church and its activities.
Heíll hardly ever attend with us.
He does like to tease, of course. But when you think about it, he is never really cruel or
angry to anyone that I ever heard of.
He has a page full of amounts given to charitable causes.
You wouldnít believe it.
Do you know he works at the Food Bank once a week?
He helps buy and serve the food.
Howard. What a guy.
The manís a saint. He
practically gave some cars away when there was a need.
Why do you think he has tried to keep his piety such a secret?
When you think about it, piety that is flaunted is more of an acting
of showing off than it is an act of love to God.
(Grabs her head.) Oh,
Lee! Iím so
about flaunting oneís piety!
That sounds like me with my cake today.....thinking I could
show off my godliness by bringing a lovely cake to sell.
What a fool! Iím
so sorry that I barked at you this morning.
There was no need for that.
Please forgive me.
Of course, Honey.
Come on, everyone. Iíve
got a surprise in the kitchen.
You see, you can have your cake and buy it too, because I
bought back my own cake at the sale.
(All exit, laughing and talking about Howard.)
Perhaps the most difficult challenge for an actor is to create a
unique character. To do
that successfully requires the actor to completely absorb the
history, personality, and manner of the character.
Actors and actresses who do that often pay a price.
They have difficult returning to their normal selves.
So we might wonder what happens when Grandma Gena goes home
as ________________ or when Howard returns to his family as
Letís bring them back now, two of our characters who have
added such special
spice to Mr. Dodgerís Neighborhood.
(The two characters return to discuss the personalities they
play in the dramas and
also the theme for this evening on Piety and how they perceive that
as being lived out in
the Christian life.)