Oklahoma Baptist University

Staggs Portrays Bonhoeffer’s Legacy

Entering the stage dressed in a World War II-era prisoner's uniform, dramatic performer Al Staggs embodied the character of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Staggs' one-person play, "A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer," captures the period of Bonhoeffer's life while he was imprisoned, awaiting execution for his involvement in anti-Hitler resistance movements. Staggs shared his performance with Oklahoma Baptist University students, faculty and staff during a weekly chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Staggs' performance continued the year-long chapel theme of "Costly Illumination: Counting Everything Loss in Light of the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ." This year's theme is based on Bonhoeffer's book, "The Cost of Discipleship."

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Addressing the audience as representations of the future, Staggs depicted Bonhoeffer and shared the German theologian's insights on the church, his experience of solitude as a prisoner and his thoughts on the role of Christians in a world of injustice.

OBU students were challenged to live worthy of Christ's calling by choosing to follow Jesus's teachings daily, even when it is difficult, and pursuing costly grace, which demands discipleship.

Wednesday's chapel was part of OBU's Focus Week 2010. This year's Focus Week theme is "The Body of Christ." The annual emphasis is dedicated to helping members of the OBU community strengthen relationships with one another and with God.

Staggs' career as a performing artist began after his years of service as a minister. He was drawn to dramatic performance for the purpose of discussing peace and justice issues. His other character impersonations include Clarence Jordan, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Thomas Merton and Walter Rauschenbusch.

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