Presenting The Gospel of Mark

I’m still trying to get over this virus that’s been attacking my body over the past week, while at the same time arranging a morning tea for 25 or so pastors and church leaders.

Tomorrow morning they’ll arrive at my place of work, The Bible Society of Western Australia, to experience a presentation of the Gospel of Mark. It’ll be presented by a guy named Noel Christian. You could say that Noel ‘recites’ the gospel but then you’d miss the essence of what he does.

His script is purely and simply the book of Mark, but Noel brings it to life in a very exciting way. He uses the King James Version, which normally would cause me to wonder about the presentation’s validity for today’s audience, but he manages to create a dramatic masterpiece. He holds people on the edge of their seats.

When he has presented it to secular audiences they have been amazed and made comments like, “Jesus is a more interesting guy than I realised” and even ” I didn’t know that the Bible was a spiritual book till now”.

Noel has been working within churches but I’m hoping to find more and more secular venues for him to perform. The idea of getting pastors etc. involved is to try to use local churches to facilitate this.

I know it’s long, but here’s a story that Noel quotes:

Once upon a time …

Early in 2002, Noel Christian was invited to present a number of short works in pubs for the wa fringe as part of the Festival Of Perth. At the time, he was well known in the secular world as a story-teller, oral poet and performer, and among Christian communities as a Biblical Storyteller. His sacred work had not, however, crossed the secular divide. On this occasion, he offered to present three secular pieces and an extract from The Gospel of Mark. The Festival had no objection, and so late one evening in January he delivered the opening chapters of Mark to about a hundred hardened drinkers, bohemians and artists in an inner city pub. This is what happened:

Three people shouted and yelled throughout the performance. Their language was intemperate and their attitude was aggressive.

Ten to fifteen people tried to hush them.

One person shouted them down because she wanted to listen.

A number of people smoked their cigarettes and sipped their drinks politely but were not interested in the performance.

Eighty people neither smoked nor drank, but sat breathless with fascination as they listened.

Three people came up afterward and said that the Bible was always worth hearing.

Five people came up afterward, each privately, and asked for assistance with prayer, spiritual guidance, and an insight into healing.

The gathering that night included artists, public servants, pagans, prostitutes, drug dealers, office workers, goths, poets, rock musicians, bikers, school teachers, building workers, the management team of WA Gay and Lesbian Pride, a Government Minister, and members of the Hotelier’s Association.

Hey, I know it’s short notice, but if you’re in the Perth area and want to be part of the morning tea, let me know. If you can’t make it but want to find out more, call me at The Bible Society in WA on (08) 9221 3488.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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