Thespyterians – taking a Walk Through Bethlehem

Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. – Philippians 2:14-16

Touring the set – guide instructions

Today I have – essentially – one job (other than all the other day-to-day responsibilities that tend to take up a good two-thirds of my attention!). Today I have to learn my lines; today I get to be a Thespyterian.

A thespyterian – just in case you have been unsuccessfully trying to look up a definition – is a word (made up by me) that means Presbyterians involved in acting. Its broader application could be “Presbyterians telling The Story”, or “sharing the good news”. It could even apply to Presbyterians who get caught up in drama – both the good kind and the less beneficial prima donna, or the over-reactor for whom everything is always some kind of a catastrophe!

But for me, this week at least, I have to put on my acting hat, and that is not something generally in my comfort zone. I’ll give you the short story version of what’s going on, and if you live within an hour’s drive of Wake Forest I’d like to encourage you to come over this weekend and experience the good drama for yourself.

Take a Walk Through Bethlehem:


Each year our church – WFPC – presents a one-of-a-kind interactive drama we call Walk Through Bethlehem. It’s our gift to Wake Forest, our Christmas Card to the Community. What makes this event unique is that it’s not a tableau, it’s not a “drive-by”, and it’s not a stage production. Instead, it’s an invitation to become a pilgrim, to hook up with a guide, and to literally become a participant in an authentic First Century experience.

Once you walk into the “green room” and meet your guide, you are no longer a visitor to WFPC, you are a pilgrim in Roman-occupied Judea, experiencing the events that took place on that Oh so Holy Night, two thousand years ago.

“The Way Toward”

So, for the first time since we moved here in 2013, I am a member of the cast. And, so cool for many reasons, I get to play the role of one of the guides (not, I trust, one of those “Blind Guides” Jesus talked about!).

My name, Derek, is also the Hebrew word דְּרָכַ֫יִם – (pronounced deh’-rek) – it’s literal meaning is “the way” or “way toward”.

How cool is that! It’s like I was always meant to have this job!

But, and this is what I will leave us with for today’s post, my question is always going to be this: “Does my life lead, guide, invite, people to know and to love the Creator Lord, and to follow in the Living Way of Jesus?”

I love the way Paul references this idea in Philippians 2: “Shine among these people like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life.” And what do stars do? Stars help people to navigate.

So watch this space over the next few weeks. I aim to help all of us to navigate the way to Bethlehem and to meet Jesus. – DEREK


Christmas faith message The Church

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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