Plotting Murder

It was sometime in early 2012 when one of the teenagers we knew revealed his plan to host a murder mystery dinner. He had bought a used murder mystery kit for a dollar, and wanted to use it to raise money for an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic.

“Those are horrible,” I told him. Kelly, who had experienced boxed murder mysteries before, agreed. “Well, it’s what I have,” he told me. My annoying urge for excellence jumped into the conversation. “I’ll write a real mystery for you.”

I decided to write something that would draw an audience, generate some repeat performances, and maybe raise a few bucks for the trip. All murder mysteries need a victim, but I didn’t want some nondescript character that no one would care about. I needed someone whose death would add to the drama. A quick search for names that garnered a lot of attention in the likely audience turned up a result, and thus I decided to plot the murder of Glenn Beck.

Writing the first draft of the script took only a few days. I had a couple of friends proofread it, then did a bit of rewriting based on their inputs. Since it was supposed to be for a murder mystery dinner, I wrote four acts, so that a meal could be served between scenes. By the end of the third scene, the audience would have all the information required to determine the identity of the killer, and (while eating their desserts) could fill out a card naming the person they believed to be the culprit.

I presented the script to our young friend, and he set out to line up actors from his circle of acquaintances. Sadly, that proved harder than he had imagined, and eventually he announced that the play was canceled. The Murder of Glenn Beck was covered up.

A year later one of the original actresses remembered my script and asked if she could perform it as the finale of her acting class. I was delighted to know the script might finally get a performance and lent it to her at once. Unfortunately, the playhouse vetoed its performance, not because of its controversial main character, but because it involved a murder. The Murder was covered up a second time.

Two more years have passed, and by now the play has become quite dated. Its references hearken back to a different age, but I still find some elements of it quite delightful. Rather than leave it to languish in my directory of past writings, I decided to dust it off and present it for your amusement. The truth of the Murder of Glenn Beck must be known.

The Murder of Glenn Beck

Cast:

Reginald Winchester – Self proclaimed “World’s Greatest Detective”, he has an unflagging thirst for the truth and the ability to take any set-back in stride. The only element missing from his detective’s toolkit is deductive ability. Occasionally adopts a fake British accent, especially when saying something he considers to be of great importance.

Caitlin Axelrod – Talk show host bumped by Glenn’s show. She is stable and methodical, a no-nonsense type, and her style has won her leagues of fans and enemies.

Justin Harding – Arms manufacturer supported by Glenn. A true professional in every sense, he is never out of control, and constantly on the lookout to expand his company or his influence.

Gary Lexington – Eager fan impersonating honored military veteran Dan Jacobs. Overwhelmed at the prospect of meeting Glenn Beck, he is in way over his head.

Tabitha Reed – Socialist who broke into Glenn’s compound. A true child of Reddit, she was raised in a conservative home, and sought the liberal elite as a form of rebellion in college. She has never looked back. She views her role as one of bringing freedom and transparency to the evils of the right wing.

Therese Fischer – Glenn’s faithful maid. She moved to the US from Austria as a teenager and still speaks with a noticeable Austrian accent. Seemingly simple, because that is what people expect her to be.

Jess Thomas – Glenn’s publisher, about to be dropped by Glenn. She is frazzled and overwhelmed, but trying to make the best of everything. She constantly has too many irons in the fire and worries that any misstep may ruin her future.

Officer Daniels – Police officer called to investigate the murder. Jaded at the world, but efficient and effective in most situations.

Setting:

Glenn Beck’s home in Westlake, Texas. In particular, a lounge area in the house. It has, among other furniture, a large desk with a red phone, a chalkboard, a dresser with a lamp near the door, and at least six chairs spread out around the room. (The audience is seated around a table in the center of the room) Continue reading →

Jesus of Nazareth

Now the moment had arrived, the time for Peter to explain to the waiting crowd what the God of their fathers had done. It was something that Peter himself was still struggling to grasp. God had done all that the ancient prophets had foretold, but in a way that no one had imagined. And that fulfillment was summed up in three words: “Jesus of Nazareth”.1

News traveled slowly in the ancient world, but there was little chance that those listening would not have known the name. The apostles reminded the crowd of the many miracles God had performed to confirm his selection of Jesus.2 Even those who had only heard the criticisms from the Pharisees would know that strange signs had followed Jesus wherever he went. They also knew that, despite the many wonders he had performed, his split with the Temple had eventually led to his arrest, and no miracle had come to spare his life.

Peter himself could not forget that arrest either. He had been there, wanting to take a stand before the Sanhedrin and tell them that Jesus was a righteous man.3 Instead, he hid in the courtyard and lied about who he was.4 The blood of the Messiah hung heavy over all of them. Peter pulled no punches as he screamed into the temple, “You used sinners to carry out the dirty task of executing the one sent from God himself.”5


  1. Acts 2:22 

  2. Acts 2:22 

  3. Mark 14:13 

  4. Mark 14:66-72 

  5. Acts 2:23 

Converting the Heathen

What is the sickness that inspires us to divide the world into Christian and non-Christian? Why do followers of Jesus think that hanging out with non-Christians is either backsliding or missions work? Why do we ask questions like “How do I love someone without condoning their lifestyle?”

Did Jesus want his followers to provide one more cultural division? Did he intend for us to literally and figuratively put up walls to keep out the world?

Why would I ask six questions in a row? Why does one of the questions quote another question? Is anyone still reading this?

I know Paul says that the message of the cross is an offense, but when I read the accounts of the apostles, the people offended were the powerful and the religious. A local radio station is running a series about how to share the gospel without ruining our relationships, as though somehow those two were related. It’s only because we’ve spent so long believing that “sharing the gospel” is code for “preaching at people until they hate you” that we worry so much.

The world has enough people preaching at them from atop high horses. Maybe we should try sharing the gospel in a new way.