I have to murder someone today. Actually, I may not get to it until tomorrow, but that’s okay, as long as it happens soon.

I’m talking, of course, about a character in the script I’m working on. This will be the first time I’ve killed someone off in a play, and I’m a little nervous about it. Well, I suppose there was murder in the Passion play, but I didn’t truly write that. This will be the first time someone dies by my choice. I’ve written deaths in my prose, but that’s a little different, as I don’t then have to direct someone in acting it out.

This play is grimmer than what I usually write, and it keeps surprising me. My typical scripts are comedy, the kind that wallops you suddenly with a serious line here and there. People don’t have their defenses up when they’ve been laughing, and you can accomplish more with a single, well-placed line than with ten pages of doom and gloom. But this story won’t work that way. Not that it’s pages of doom and gloom – I can’t write without humor, it’s in there, it’s just that even the humor in this script is darker than my usual fare.

It’s kind of scaring me, actually. I’ve written a villain, something I haven’t done much of, and here’s the kicker – she’s a self-professing Christian. She does the things she does because she believes she’s following the Lord. She’s legalism  personified, and the things she says make my skin crawl. (Yes, I know I’m the one writing them. If you’ve done any writing, you understand what I mean.)

We’re many months away from presenting this, but I’m already wondering what the reaction will be. Actually, I’ll have to present it to our pastor this week or next, and I’m wondering what his reaction will be. Can we do this in church? Can we show evil, and show that sometimes it resides in people who give an appearance of holiness? Can we show that sometimes the one truly faithful believer will be the one to suffer for choices others make in the name of religion?

I believe, in my church, we will be allowed to show that, and I am so grateful for a church where we’re encouraged to move beyond “church drama” to the real issues. I know there are those in the congregation who disapprove. I’m sure, assuming the play is presented, there will be some in the audience who get offended. Sometimes people need to be offended. Maybe they’ll recognize glimpses of themselves. Maybe they’ll see that some of the choices we make (falsely) in the name of Christ can leave hurting souls dying of thirst. Maybe by showing murder in the church we can make a start toward preventing the soul murder that goes on in churches every day.