DEBATE   5'2m2f Debatable issues: a matter of conscience

(This event never happened, but it could have...)

(scene: two rows of three chairs face audience; all characters 
wear drab tunics)

MARV -- (enters, sits in end seat, second row, faces forward)

JOSH -- (enters, sits in end seat, second row, tries to greet 
Marv, is ignored)

BARB -- (enters on Marv's side, points to middle seat) Is that 
seat taken?

MARV -- Well, no, but isn't there somewhere else you could sit?

BARB -- Well, I suppose I could sit in the front row.

JOSH -- No, please, sit here. (points to middle chair)

BARB -- (side steps to middle chair) Thank you. I'm sorry I'm 
not more accustomed to the way things are here. This is my first 
time in church. 

JOSH -- Oh, you're a new believer?

BARB -- Yes.

JOSH -- (offers hand) Well, welcome. 

BARB -- (shakes) Thank you.

JOSH -- I'm not a new believer, but I am new at this church. My 
name is Josh. 

BARB -- I'm Barbara. Nice to meet you, Josh.

JOSH -- Likewise.

BARB -- (turns, offers hand to Marv) How about you? Are you new 
here too?

MARV -- (ignores hand) No, I'm not new here and I liked things 
the way they were before.

BARB -- (drops hand) I'm sorry, have I done something to 

MARV -- ...the men didn't used to sit with the women, you know.

BARB -- Oh, well, maybe I should just (stands) find another...

JOSH -- (motions toward middle chair) No, please, sit. There is 
no command in the Bible to separate men from women. There is no 
reason for you to move.

BARB -- (sits)

MARV -- (facing ahead) I suppose you're one of those liberals 
who think we can drink wine and spirits too, huh?

BARB -- Me? I'm new at this. I'm not sure what I should be...

JOSH -- I think he's asking me, Barbara. 

MARV -- Well? Are you one of those liberals that think 
Christians can drink?

JOSH -- Well, there is no command in the Bible against drinking, 
only against being drunk. When I'm with people who drink, I 
usually join them, like when I was at a wedding in Cana in 

MARV -- Figures. The man's from way out in the boondocks. What 
does he know?

BARB -- What if you're with people who DON'T drink, Josh?

JOSH -- It depends on the person. If our friend here would be 
offended by my drinking, I suppose I would not drink in his 

MARV -- I should hope not.

BARB -- That makes sense.

JOSH -- Also if he were an alcoholic, and my drinking would 
cause him to stumble, I would actually be sinning if I drank in 
his presence.

MARV -- I am NOT an alcoholic! Wine has never touched my lips. I 
suppose you're one of those liberals who eats meat too.

BARB -- I eat meat. Should I....

JOSH -- I think he's asking me. Once again, there is no clear 
command to eat meat or not eat meat in the Bible, so I think we 
should allow some slack for both practices in the church.

MARV -- Says you.

JOSH -- If I go to the house of a vegetarian, I would never ask 
for meat with my meal. But if I was invited to dinner at the 
house of a meat-eater, I would not want to offend him by
refusing to eat what is put in front of me.

BARB -- I see.

MARV -- I don't. You liberals are ruining this church.

BARB -- I'm sorry, I don't know what a liberal is.

MARV -- They are the ones who forced us to move the church 
service from the Sabbath to Sunday.

BARB -- I'm sorry, but I thought the Sabbath WAS Sunday.

MARV -- Thanks to the propaganda machine of the liberals.

BARB -- Is that true?

JOSH -- Some churches decided to change their day of meeting 
together from Saturday to Sunday in honor of the resurrection.

MARV -- The sabbath is the fourth commandment, you know.

JOSH -- He's got a point there. But the ten commandments were 
given to the Jews, not to the gentiles. And the fourth 
commandment tells the Jews to REST on the sabbath. It says 
nothing about meeting together. Are you both Jews?

MARV -- No.
BARB -- No.

JOSH -- The ten commandments were all repeated in the New 
Testament for the Christians, except the fourth commandment. So, 
Christians should let their own consciences dictate what day 
they should meet together.

MARV -- Says you. If it was good enough for Moses, it's good 
enough for me.

KATE -- (enters sits in front of Marv)

MARV -- (speaks over Kate's shoulder) Don't you think it's 
terrible the way the liberals are ruining the church?

KATE -- (looks over shoulder toward BARB) I'm sorry. Were you 
talking to me?

MARV -- (speaks over Kate's shoulder) Yes, I asked you, don't 
you think it's terrible the way the liberals are ruining the...

KATE -- (notices Josh, stands, shouts) Jesus?! Is that you?

MARV -- Can you keep it down, please? The church service is 
about to begin.

KATE -- It is you! Jesus! It's really you! (approaches)

BARB -- I thought you said your name was Josh.

JOSH -- (stands holds hands with Kate) Joshua is my Hebrew name. 
My Greek name is Jesus. 

KATE -- They said that you had raised from the dead! Then it's 
really true!

JOSH -- Yes.

BARB -- (stands) You mean it's really him?!

JOSH -- (holds out hand to Barb) Yes.

MARV -- Can you take your conversation outside please? This IS a 
church, you know!

JOSH -- Oh, sure. I'm sorry. 

(Barb, Josh and Kate exit speaking excitedly)

MARV -- (sits for a moment, looks around) Where is everybody? 
The place is empty. (stands, exits) I knew it. The liberals are 
ruining the church.

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