We Are Not Troubled Guests – A Play
There comes a moment in all of our lives when pain confronts our religious ideology. Our pain can come in many forms – tragedy, loss, brokenness. Mine was severe depression brought about by burnout. Burnout from working at a church even.
In that time, what I thought my beliefs were supposed to do for me failed… and I found myself wrestling with the fact that maybe faith as I knew it was over. This is a very frightening space to be in. More than that, I discovered something even more frightening than the possibility of losing faith in my life… the fear of losing community.
The truth is the “journey of faith” encounters many such seasons as this. Depression is widespread. All of us will encounter tragedy of some kind. Many of us will go through the “dark night of the soul.” Conversations like this can be very difficult ones in our religious communities though. Leadership is not fully free to talk about their own doubts. Congregants are afraid to question their beliefs for fear of being excommunicated. But the reality is this is a difficult but universal part of everyones faith journey. What we need is for someone to share their own story to help give us words and solidarity with our own questions, fears and hopes.
WE ARE NOT TROUBLED GUESTS is a multi-media storytelling experience where I explore many different stages of this journey. Through humor, storytelling, and curated video, I walk the audience through anger, pain, despair, helplessness, confession, acceptance – all of which leads us to a very transformational and transcendent personal experience I had… which changes the way I see the entire human race and our place in it.
See This Play:
Promotional copy:Artist Scott Erickson will be performing his new multi-media experiential piece titled “We Are Not Troubled Guests”. Through spoken narrative, live painting, and curated video, Scott shares his most personal experience with faith, doubt, depression, and the solidarity of karaoke. Often funny with moments of brutal honesty, we begin to see our own journey through Scott’s vulnerableness and are given the gift of seeing how we really belong in the world.
“We Are Not Troubled Guests successfully paints esoteric ideas like existential doubt and transcendence in a refreshingly tangible light, while still maintaining a charming dose of self-deprecating humor. It is worth seeing not only because it is funny and commendable and sincere, but because whenever someone stands up and volunteers themselves to be scrutinized for the sake of bringing beauty into the world, it deserves to be witnessed in person. The only thing this show is lacking is pretense. After seeing the show I was left with a profound sense of understanding that one can only truly be brave when they are exposed, unsafe, and vulnerable. WANTG embodies that defenselessness, which makes Scott Erickson one of the bravest people I’ve met.”
-Matt MacDonald, Musician – The Classic Crime
“Leading with vulnerability is a gift. Art exploring our own soul is a blessing. “We Are Not Troubled Guests” is a gift and a blessing. Scott’s ability to share his heart, life and pain is a present to the world. The dramatic outlining unwraps this unique present for the individual. Troubled Guests is not a show to be enjoyed, it is a ride. It’s an essential experience for today as for each person will be touched with some part of this shared journey.”
-Mason Rutledge, Young Life Senior Regional Director, Western Washington
“There is a lot of crap passed around these days under the guise of “Christianity.” The kind of stuff that I’ve got to imagine Jesus sorrowfully shakes his head at and thinks, “Really??? That’s not what I’m about at all.” In an imaginative and prophetic way, Scott takes the gathered community on a journey that leads to a more beautiful, honest faith. One that helps us see the Prince of Peace in a new way, or maybe an ancient way, one that I have to believe is a little closer to the person the Gospel-writers tried to describe.”
-Josh McQueen, Overlake Christian Church, Redmond, WA
“Its poignant and profound, hillarious and engaging, raw and real. Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightning – but in the best possible way.” -Hannah Glavor, Musician
“I remember when I heard about Scott’s talk “Troubled Guest” and having this nagging feeling that I needed to be there. I’d been struggling with the idea that maybe I’m wearing rose colored glasses telling myself that I’ve been called to spread light and hope through song and film. Then I heard Scott speak. I feel like his message wasn’t one to persuade me to think a certain way but a message to remind me that we’ve been given certain gifts and stories… and who are we to deny them or be selfish with them not knowing who’s life can be touched by our honesty about our hopes and doubts, fears and triumphs. I’ll never forget when Scott said “it is when you stay close to Me (Jesus), you will see the light that I’ve placed in you and you will see it in those around you.” Gosh, this man needs to be on TEDtalks.
-Liz Vice, Film Director/Musician
“Scott Erickson’s demeanor, talent and courage build the kind of bridge few artists can; one over which his audience is willing to walk into the tall grass of religion and human experience. We Are Not Troubled guests is an adventure into dangerous and provocative territory, to be certain. Thankfully, Scott is an excellent guide.”
-Justin McRoberts, Musician/Storyteller
Watching Scott Erickson create and inspire us to “call out the light” in people was much needed. Not because it was churchy or creative but it was those things too. It was deeply human. And amongst the laughter and the crying, questioning and silence, Bohemian Rhapsody karaoke and epic Tom Hanks clips set to a soundtrack of Radiohead and Death Cab; I felt like I belonged. Like it was okay being exactly who I was at that time. It’s okay to hurt and question and be angry and confused and yes, it’s okay to move on, let go, and forgive…even yourself. We are not troubled guests in this world. May we call out the light in those around us. Thank you Scott Erickson for being vulnerable and sharing your difficult conversation.
-Cisco Mora, Artist