POST: 'The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord' - whose gospel is true
What it's about.
Thomas Jefferson, Charels Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy are locked in a room, after death, awaiting judgment or an after life. They find that in their lifetime they have all wrote a gospel. So they think that in order to get out of the room they have to convince the other two people that ones own gospel is true.
I am always punctual because I hate to run. But for some reason, even though I left an hour before the show (when it should've only taken me 30 minutes to get there), I was running out of the train station to make sure I was on time. When I walked up to the tiny theater the man at the box office looked at me, and then glanced around to see who was with me and was surprised to find that I was alone.
When I walked in I was happy to find that it was a small, intimate theater. I was the youngest person in the room, naturally, but I was too excited to care. I was hoping that I would get to see The Gospel according to Jefferson, Dickens and Tolstoy, mostly because I was extremely familiar with Dickens and Tolstoy. I just finished War and Peace, as well as read (and performed) Oliver Twist in my freshman year of high school (I also read other works by both authors). Upon reading W&P I decided that it was the best book ever written, and I wanted to see one of my favorite authors brought to life. Once I like a writers work, I get this idea in my head that they can do no wrong - no matter how crappy they may have been in real life (prime example: Walt Disney). So I had high expectations.
Within minutes of the beginning, Jefferson walked in and mimicked his pose in that famous painting of them writing the Declaration of Independence (I know you know what picture I'm talking about). Jefferson had a quiet and smart humor. And then Dickens walked into the room and he was loud, bubbly and out right hilarious. Tolstoy evened it out with his rebellious nature and outbursts.
When they all began to talk about God, I got nervous, because God is a very serious subject to me. But they did something I haven't seen before. Although all three of these men were very religious they looked at the bible as a book, not a religious text. They argued over word choice and phrasing as someone would for another book. I actually really liked that.
I laughed at nearly everything Dickens said. He was super self absorbed and I loved it. The more I watched them argue about what they believe is true about religion, it reminded me of what goes on in my own head. When Tolstoy said “Resist not Evil” was the secret to life it clicked in my mind and it all made sense. I’ve always been a quiet person and avoided confrontation when it was possible but I never put words to this philosophy. Tolstoy did.
But what I thought was the most chilling part of the night was when Jefferson was looking back at his life and Dickens asked how many slaves he owned and Jefferson answered with “609”. Not only did I have to let out a “woah” under my breath, I felt everyone around me do the same. During the show I saw all the wrongs the characters have done: the slaves Jefferson had, Dickens ruined marriage and Tolstoy's hypocrisy. Seeing that they were crappy people in their lifetime took them off the pedestal I placed them on and made me remember to enjoy the work, but don't worship the writer.
By the end of the show, I’d laughed so hard my stomach hurt and they had come to the conclusion that none of their philosophies on God were completely right, but not completely wrong either.
On the way home as I walked to the train, I thought about God and what part of his scripture should be taken literal and what shouldn’t. What version is right and what isn’t. I thought about it all day, and I've been thinking about it now as I write this. But I have come to the conclusion that there is no way for me to figure out the answer because if three accomplished writers couldn't figure it out then I never will. I also came to the conclusion that I won't ever stop trying to figure it out because I'm that extra.
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