Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Anachronisms, Depression And Interpersonal Conflict

The following is a Sunday School lesson I wrote. The College aged audience wanted to study depression. Their topic, not mine. Polling the group, the most troubling issues they faced was relationships. So King Saul meets Judas the betrayer in this tongue in cheek play.

Scripture Lesson:
Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16; 27:1-10
1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-10

Main Idea: Some of the most poignant conflicts in life are from those who are supposed to be on our side; both those who we are supposed to be supported by or to whom we are giving our support.

A Reader's Theater About Depression

(Two patients at a mental hospital, Judas and Saul, go out under the tree to smoke. They strike up a casual conversation to pass the time as they puff on their cigarettes.)

Saul: Hello. I am Saul.

Judas: How's it goin'? I'm Judas. ... (mutters to himself.) Why do they have to put this smoke area all the way out here? (Looking into his cigarette pack he sees that the thing is empty. He ensures he is visibly disappointed.) Man! I'm out and they don't sell my brand here.

Saul: I can perhaps help you. Here you go. (Flips a cigarette so Judas can pull one from the pack. Judas takes one up.)

Judas: Thanks man. I'll pay you back.

Saul: Don't mention it. Nice day out.

Judas: Better since my boss left.

Saul: Your boss visited you here, at this place?

Judas: Yeah, he drives me crazy.

Saul: How so?

Judas: Well, he is always doing things, you know. I mean if you’re in charge you gotta take the bull by the horns sometimes. I was hoping we could complete this acquisition of another software company. He let it pass without so much as even trying to put in a bid.

Saul: So you are in here because you are disappointed that your boss did not take advantage of an opportunity to purchase one of your competitors?

Judas: No, I'm in here cause I tried testing out the harakiri thing. The cops frown on that, especially if you do it in a public area. They want you to do it all private like.

Saul: I see why they brought you here, but I'm a little lacking as to the reason that you are all up set with a failed business opportunity.

Judas: It's kinda complex. I have this 401K and a little nest egg. The stock in this software firm, CosmicLogos, was bottoming out like. I saw that it would be dirt-cheap. So I took all my 401K, my nest egg and even some of the assets of my company and bought up almost 40% of their stock. I knew it was a sweet deal. I showed my boss that with just a little more cash, we could own the whole kit and caboodle. My boss new I had risked every thing, but he was unsympathetic. Something about not our business line. Anyway, I lost seven years of savings when no one bought controlling interest in the firm. Instead of being a great opportunity, I lost everything.

Saul: Let me get this straight. You used your company's money with out talking to the boss.

Judas: Yeah, I was allowed to make purchases up to $100,000.00. That was sweet. I had 96 grand of my own. But the thing was, the obvious choice was for him to kick in an extra 80 grand and we would have had controlling interest in that dinky outfit. If only he would take a little risk. This guy!

Saul: Sounds like decent fellow if he is visiting you here.

Judas: I wish he would just quit all this nice guy stuff. You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders. How did you get in here?

Saul: Well,...I had an altercation with one of my employees.

Judas: Come again...?

Saul: I was having a bad day. I was really concerned about the new composition of the board of directors. David comes in. He is an intern. He starts telling me how nice my office looked, and kept going on about my Bose stereo. This guy wants my office I tell you.

Judas: What's this guy do for you?

Saul: Like I said he is an intern from one of the MBA programs. He does a little of everything. He gets me coffee, but he also has typed several proposals for me. To tell you the truth, he wrote a better proposal for the board of directors than I could ever have hoped. He seems to have a lot of natural talent. I could see how he wants my office in the executive suite. The water cooler talk is all about his red hair and fantastic leadership abilities.

Judas: So what does altercation mean exactly?

Saul: I had a decorative sword on the mantle, a Samurai sword given to me by a Japanese customer. He said he was trying to cheer me up. I just could not listen any more to his lusting after my office. I took the sword and thrust it his way. Security came, I was taken into custody on assault charges, and the judge could see that I was an upstanding citizen so he and my lawyer came to an agreement.

Judas: Who was trying to cheer you up? The Japanese customer or this David dude?

Saul: David.

Judas: So you came after this kid because......

Saul: Yes, it seems quite trivial now. He is so young, not nearly a man of my stature but to be frank and honest, I'm fretfully jealous of him.

Judas: It seems we both are having people problems; you with David and me with Mr. Nice guy. And they say we have an illness. I would say we have both been injured. Where is the hospital for those nursing their pain? Let’s blow this joint and go there?

(Both men laugh.)




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