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STEPHEN  5'1m*f RT: Stephen the first Christian martyr

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

SAUL -- (enters wearing tunic, headdress and sandals, crosses to
podium) Good Morning. My name is Saul of Tarsus. I am a Roman
citizen and a Pharisee in good standing with the temple. The
reason I called this press conference is to announce the
execution of the first of what we hope will me many followers of
the impostor known as Jesus of Nazareth.

REPORTER -- Can you give us the name of this person who was
executed?

SAUL -- Yes. His name was (reads) Stephen.

REPORTER -- Stephen?

SAUL -- Yes, Stephen.

REPORTER -- I'm looking at a list of the apostles of Jesus and
there is no Stephen among them. Can you tell us what was his
affiliation with Jesus?

SAUL -- Yes. I have it written right here. (points) According to
my notes, Stephen and another fellow.... (reads) Philip... were
put in charge of feeding the elderly and the poor.

REPORTER -- I have no such assignment listed in my notes. When
did Jesus assign these two men to this position?

SAUL -- Apparently, it wasn't Jesus who assigned them to feed
the elderly and the poor. It was the apostles.

REPORTER -- Is this part of the reorganization of the church as
a result of the amazing growth of the church?

SAUL -- There's no amazing growth in the church!

REPORTER -- According to my last nose count, there were over
fifty thousand followers of Jesus in Jerusalem alone.

REPORTER -- That's my count also.

SAUL -- Yes, well, there's one less follower now.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us what Stephen was charged with?

SAUL -- Charged with?

REPORTER -- Yes. What did Stephen do that deserved the death
penalty?

SAUL -- The charge was... (reads) blasphemy. Yes. That's it,
blasphemy.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us specifically what Stephen said about
God that got him condemned to death?

SAUL -- Not really.

REPORTER -- According to Jewish law Stephen must be accused by
two reputable Jews. Can you give us their names?

SAUL -- Not really.

REPORTER -- You're from out of town and you don't seem to know a
great deal about this case. Can you tell us why YOU were
selected as the spokesman for the Jews?

SAUL -- Yes. This is my job. I'm in charge of ridding the world
of all traces of the impostor known as Jesus of Nazareth.

REPORTER -- This sounds a little shady to me.

REPORTER -- Me too.

SAUL -- Shady?! We did everything according to the law!

REPORTER -- Isn't it against Roman law for Jews to execute their
own people?

SAUL -- Where did you get that idea?!

REPORTER -- From the Jewish leaders when they turned Jesus over
to the Romans to have the Romans execute him.

SAUL -- Well, that was different. The Jews tricked the Romans
into executing Jesus so the people of Jerusalem wouldn't start a
riot against them. The Romans don't really care who we execute
or why.

REPORTER -- This still sounds shady to me.

REPORTER -- Me too.

SAUL -- I don't know how you can say that!

REPORTER -- You can't give us the names of Stephen's accusers,
you can't give us any quotations of Stephen's alleged blasphemy.
Is this another one of those mock trials like Jesus had?

SAUL -- I'm telling you the man is guilty and deserved to die!

REPORTER -- Then why did Jewish leaders select YOU, -- an
out-of-towner -- as their spokesman to the press?

SAUL -- Quite frankly, I think they were afraid that some of you
might be among the fifty-thousand followers of Jesus. They
thought you might be inclined to throw things.

REPORTER -- I thought you said that the church was not that
large.

SAUL -- Did I say fifty-thousand? I meant fifty.

REPORTER -- Earlier, you said that your job was (reads) "ridding
the world of all traces of the impostor known as Jesus of
Nazareth".

SAUL -- Yes, I did.

REPORTER -- So, like the local Pharisees, you believe that Jesus
of Nazareth was a false messiah?

SAUL -- Yes.

REPORTER -- In spite of all the healings he did, in spite of all
the demons he drove out of people, in spite of the feedings of
large crowds with almost no food, in spite of the five hundred
eye witnesses who claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus?

SAUL -- In spite of all that.

REPORTER -- What evidence would it take to convince you that
Jesus was and is the true messiah?

SAUL -- Quite frankly you couldn't convince me, no matter how
much evidence you had.

REPORTER -- That sounds pretty closed minded.

SAUL -- Alright. Let me put it another way. I'm on my way out of
town now on the way to Damascus where I'm hoping to execute
another follower of Jesus. If this RESURRECTED Jesus of yours
blinds me and knocks me off my donkey on my way to Damascus,
I'll admit that Jesus is the true messiah of Israel.

(exiting)

Like that will EVER happen! 

(laughs)

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