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by Sara B. Dykins Callahan A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Communicatio n College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Stacy Holman Jones, Ph.D. Eric Eisenberg, Ph.D. Navita James, Ph.D. Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D. Date of Approval: January 22, 2010 Keywords: tourism, pilgrimage, heritage, sacre d faith Copyright 20 10 Sara B. Dykins Callahan
To Rick: the reason.
Acknowledgments I would like to thank all of the people who supported me through this process and who generously contributed their time and ass istance. my husband, Rick whose love, patience, and faith in me are my foundation I would also like to acknowledge Tr u man, Tula, and Ollie, for their ability to keep me sane: sitting on my lap when I was dejected, lickin g my face when I needed comfort, and always their uncompromising adoration I would like to thank my committee members for their mentorship and their willingness to read this very long document. And thank you, Stacy, for your guidance and your unyielding b elief in my ability to finish this project.
i Table of Contents List of Figures v Abstract vi Prelude: It E nds H ere 1 Chapter 1: Genesis 3 Field Notes: July 14, 2007 3 To Tell the Old, Old story 4 5 Buil ding a Mystery 8 Mapping the Site 9 Controversy W ith the Jewish C ommunity 10 TBN and the New HLE 12 Casting Lots: Administrative Reorganization 13 A Mixed Mar r iage: Theological Differences 14 Shro uded in Controversy 17 Other Chr istian B ased Parks and Museums 18 Local Sites 19 National Sites 19 International Sites 20 Historic al Antecedents 22 Reading i n to Religion and Authenticity 23 Clarifying Authenticity 27 The Secular/Sacred Binary 29 Strange Bedfellows: Postmode rnism and the Christian Master Narrative 31 T h e Implications of Simulation 33 Conclusion 35 Interlude: Journal, May 4, 2008 39 Interlude: God I ncidence Field Notes, August 18, 2007 46 Chapter 2 : I T ell Y ou the T ruth: Museum Status a nd the Educational Imperative 52 5 2 An Educational Imperative 54
ii Identity Crisis 55 To What Purpose ? 57 Museums a nd the Educational Imperative 60 Theme Parks 63 Precursors to the HLE 66 Palestine Park 66 W New Jerusalem Exhibit 70 Similarities to the HLE 73 Contemporary Museum Exhibits W ith Religio us Content 78 Conc lusion 83 Interlude: An Imagined Conversation W ith Timothy Beal, Journal, April 28, 2008 86 Interlude: The Scriptori u m, Field Notes, June 27, 2004 95 Chapter 3 : In Situ 100 Field Notes: July 7, 2007 100 I s I t Real? 101 Museology and the Making of Museum s 102 Authentic it y, Actuality, and Virtuality 105 The HLE Mus eum 107 Of Labels and Learning 107 T he Orchestrated Model and the Co C reation of Meaning 111 Into the Scriptorium 113 In Situ and In Context 115 The Objectification of Faith: Dea th of the Living Word? 116 Displaying Conviction 121 The Empowe red Flneur 123 Conclusion 127 Interl ude: Journal, July 1, 2008 130 Interl ud e: Journal, August 28, 2008 132 Chapter 4 : Heritage, Iden ti ty, and a Christian Homeland 135 Theming and Heritage at the HLE 135 Theming 136 Heritage 138 Living His tory Museums 139 Turning to the Past 14 1 C reating a Christian Homeland 142 Collectively Confiscating Jewish Ritual 143 The Powerful Draw of Blood 148 Field Notes: August 18, 2007 149 s Performance of Pilgrim 152
iii Theore tical Approaches to Pilgrimage 153 Pilgr im age as Metapho r and Paradigm 155 A Portrait of Pilgrim History ; Or Denying the Indigeneity of Native A mericans 157 Heritage an d Home as Catalysts for Change 161 Memory, Memorials, and Dark Sites 164 Memory 165 Memorial s and Dark Sites 166 Onward Christian Soldier 169 Conclusion 172 Interl ud e: Journal, October 30, 2008 175 # Interlude: Good Frida y, Field Notes, March 21, 2008 178 Chapter 5 : And the Word W as Made Flesh 189 Field Notes: March 21, 2008 189 Pass ion(ate) Performances 191 Theatre, La w, and t he Church in the United States 193 Introducing the Pas si on Play in the United States 196 Contemporary Passion Plays as Cu lt ural Performances and Ritual 197 Behold the Lamb : A Passio n(ate) Play 200 Participating in the Passion : HLE Visitors as Spectactors 202 Witnessing as Spectacting 205 Bearing Witness as an Ethical Action 207 Replacing the Antagon is t; Becoming a Silent Witness 208 Portrait of a Silent Witness 210 Suffering T hrough Simul ac ra: Bearing (False) Witness? 2 17 Field Notes: Dec em ber 13, 2008 (The Scourging) 220 Field Notes: July 27, 2004 223 Suffering, Bearing Witne ss, and the Role of the Camera 223 Conclusion : Suffering Through an Execution 227 Interlude: Journal, July 28 2008 230 Inter lu de: Journal August 15, 2008 232 In te rlude: Journal, July 6, 2009 234 Chapter 6 : In the Beginning 236 Field Notes: June 27, 2004 236 The Beginni ng of the End of the Beginning 236 Behold, an Execution 240 Repression of the Violence of Execution 242 Sacrifi ce as Sacred Violence 245
iv at h as Sacrifice and Execution 246 A Postmodern Passion for Pain? 250 Field Notes: June 27, 2004 252 Acquiring Embodied K no wledge of Pain and Suffering 255 Sacrifice M ade Strange 256 Field Notes: June 27, 2004 259 Journal : December 21, 2008 259 Notes 264 References 287 Appendices 299 Appendix A: Photographs 300 About the Author End Page
v List of Figures Figure 1 Gates of Damascus 293 Figure 2 Bedouin W omen W eaving 294 Figur e 3 Sara P laying Samson 295 Figure 4 Moses and the Ten Commandments 296 Figure 5 P alace at the Temple Plaza 297 Figure 6 The Scriptorium 298 Figure 7 Bronze A ltar in the Wilderness Tabernacle 299 Figure 8 Pilgrims in a P rayer C ircle 300 Figure 9 Li ving R oom G allery 301 Figure 10 Roman S oldier 302 Figure 11 Roman S oldiers 303
vi Where Christ Dies Daily: Sara B. Dykins Callahan ABSTRACT This manuscript focuses on performances of pl ace and faith inside the Holy Land Experience (HLE), an edutainment complex nestled in the fantasy nexus of Orlando, Florida. A self proclaimed living history museum, the HLE includes animatronic Bible characters and musical dramas. The HLE enacts and embo dies evangelical narratives of Christianity and Christian faith, and visitors to the park are asked to join the performances, blurring the distinctions between spectators and professional actors. I e of the HLE with sacredness, while the location and design of the HLE infuses the space with elements of the secular. The HLE exemplifies the performative nature of the sacred and shows how sacredness is a process (a performance), not an inherent property Through participant observation, interviews, and critical/cultural analysis, I engage the multiple meanings of the HLE with the intention of facilitating empathic understandings of the complex, embodied phenomenon of faith as it manifests in this hybrid space.
1 PRELUDE It Ends Here 1 And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. 2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness.) 3 And his name is the Word of God. 4 And they clothed him with purple, and plaited a crown of thorns, and put it about his head. 5 And on him they laid the cross. 6 And there followed him a grea t company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 7 And my toes challenge the translucent barrier that keeps the crowd from blocking the path. I strain to see, to find the dying savior. Rick taps my shoulder and points in silence. C hrist drags his brutalized body through the street. His knees break beneath the weight of the large wooden cross. Guards mock him; scream at him; kick him. I witness the agony in his dark eyes. 8 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he mig ht be crucified. 9 And when they come to the place which is called Calvary they crucified him. 10 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 11 Pictures. I take pictures trying to capture som ething of the dying Christ. I need a memory, a memento: proof. And then I realize my distance. I am numb and cannot feel His presence, His pain. I want to feel His pain. I try to lower my camera, to witness with my own eyes the horror and the sorrow. But I is gone.
2 12 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts. 13 The crowd, too, seems numb, disinterested, restless. Where is the care for the dying Chr face. I am jealous. 14 And Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani? 15 And I question, Why am I here? 16 And Jesus saith unto me, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 17 My faith has left me: Judas. 18 And ye are witnesses of these things.
3 CHAPTER 1 GENESIS Field Notes: July 14, 2007 I knew the question had to be asked sooner or later, but I was still taken aback by Matthew wood counter. beautiful blue eyes held my gaze and pierced my nonchalant faade. My colleague, Brianne, and I had just arrived at the Holy Land Experience and were desperately in need of caffeine. I had been in the little caf several times and suggested we grab one of their not too expensive coffees. The caf was intimate and comfort able, cooled by the obligatory air conditioning and shadowed from the blaring July sun. Tasty confections secured inside a plexi glass case, strongly reminiscent of the museum cases which house Biblical antiquities in the Scriptorium, tempted me. But I res isted, deciding on the simple house coffee. After assessing the state of my research and finding my interview collection lacking, I had promised myself that this visit, with Brianne as my wing woman, I would force myself to extroversion. Starting conversa tions does not come easily to me, but I knew I had to try. So, with this resolution fresh in my mind, I decided to ask Matthew blonde hair. I knew he had to be younger than m e, and I figured that was a good thing. The older Christians scare me with their intensity and their willingness to transgress personal boundaries. I introduced myself to Matt hew (a spiel I was still working on perfecting at the time) as he rang up my or der
4 out three years. Well, three summers. I work here over the summers because just finished his degree at a two year college and was now looking for a full time, permanent position. hew tilted h is head slightly and began to really look at me, or at least I now perceived him looking at me. I could see him assessing my clothing, a purple tank top and khaki cargo pants (pretty much the same outfit I wore every visit), and then shifting his focus to Brianne. She was also wearing a tank top and shorts. Is there any other choice in the middle of a Florida summer? Matthew returned his focus to me as Brianne moved away from the counter and towards the shelves lined with souvenirs. seem to find our clothing offensive, but I could see that he was finally processing my intent at the park. I was a researcher, a why I was studying this site. With wide eyed excitement, he leaned forward, straining against the counter, and silently demanded I meet his gaze. I knew in this moment that he was reversing our roles. The air was charged with his enthusiasm and my apprehension. And then he asked, Not a question, but rather an inqu isition. To Tell the Old, Old Story This is the greatest story ever told. Or, at least a version of it. Many are the tales and many more the tellers: hundreds of years of Biblical scholarship, thousands of thoughts crafted in the minds of great thinkers, billions of notes sung in the service of the a fountain of discourses running so deep
5 and wide? A simple story? Or, simply, another story? This is the story of a fascinating place that captured my imagination and continues to confound my efforts at sense making. The story of this place intertwines with the story of my life, lived in and out of religion. My soul, like so many others, is a soul starved for communion in faith; a faith that can never be complete b ecause of constant questioning. This is a quest(ioning). An inquiry and investigation. A search. A ccording to Christian doctrine, salvation is found in the accept ance and profession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. But where do we find Jesus? This manuscript is a documentation of my quest into, out of, around, and through a spectacular three dimensional simulation of the story of Jesus But this quest, like most quests, is more complex than a physical journey to and from a space. The thing sought resides in the act of seeking. The quest is both noun and verb. The story I will tell you is the story of a layered and continuing quest. This is not a dissertation on religion. I know very little about religion. Rather, I am seeking insight into the meanings manifest in contemporary popular expressions of religiosity. This is a story about performances of faith inside the interstices of popular culture, tourism, and Chr istianity. While this inquiry is framed by communication, sociological, anthropological, and various other disciplinary discourses, it is also intensely personal. I am seeking a purpose for my scholarship, a thesis that will shape and guide my writing, my program of research, my future. I am seeking a salve for the unresolved tensions between myself and my lost faith. I am seeking a resolution in revelation. As I step into this process of creation, of dissertation, of revelation, I wonder what I will find. past Disneyland, Universal Studios, and several name brand outlet malls, situated s Largest
6 restaurants, souvenir shops, and retail stores. Take Exit 78 off of Interstate 4 the monolith yellow brick road that twists its way through this Sodom or Gomorrah o f the Sunshine State a left and a right and another right brings you to the almost obscure gates of the Holy Land Experience Biblical attraction. Just as important as its physical location amidst one of the largest fantasy nexuses in the world, is the sit self defined geo temporal location; the Holy Land Experience is 1 2 The website specifically the massive re plica of the Gates of Damascus that separates the twentieth century United came to dwell and 3 Creator Marv Biblical Jerusalem reincarnate. I visited the Holy Land Experience (HLE) for the first time on June 27, 2004. I destination and write a paper about their journey. My classmates were travelling all over travel and tourism became sy nonymous with Orlando and Disney World. I remembered American interpretations of international cultures might be an appropriate and fun class had already discussed Disney ad nauseam. After much deliberation and frustration with my financial limitations, I remembered this Christian theme park. My brother James, an artist, visited the sit e in 2001. He worked for a local jewelry company that designed jewelry sold in the HLE gift shops. As any good atheist would be, James was sickened and angered by the site and ranted about it for days. Remembering his reaction and vivid description, I knew that this was my destination.
7 That Sunday morning in June, as my mother and my husband prepared to visit the HLE. I opened the Tampa Tribune there in vibrant color spanning half the page was Holy Land Jesus, dead and being lowered from Calvary. The Tribune had devoted almost two full pages to an article describing the HLE. After voraciously consuming the article, I begged my family to make has te. Now, I imagined myself on a mission, though I did not know to what end. Four years later, as I write this manuscript, I continue to question, To what end ? I look back on my journey through fieldwork and research and know that I have not been interest ed in the intricacies of institutional religion. Rather, what is pertinent what I am enamored with is the materiality of and processes of engagement with the HLE. What does the HLE embody? How do I and other visitors move through the space? What identities are constructed and performed here? What does this site mean when situated amidst contemporary sociopolitical events? Why do I want to return? In order to begin addressing these questions, I became a participant observer, frequenting the site Because I was not quite sure of how to engage this space, each visit I would try on different personas: park survey taker, student researcher, book author, doctoral student, Florida resident, infatuated enthusiast, sensationalist, sympathizer, critical Christian, cr itical cultural scholar, tourist. These personas were never singularly manifest. They tangoed and tickled one another, occasionally merging, boundaries blurring to a state of unrecognizable distinctions. As I moved through the space, actively trying to see through one lens, moments of personal significance I thought were suppressed slipped into consciousness and into my research. Complacent daughter donning pantyhose to be respectable; belligerent girl refusing the racism of a pastor; terrified five year ol d dreaming of hell; disturbed child thinking she was the antichrist; asthmatic breathing in cheap perfume; bereft soul seeking salvation in the lifeless words of the Holy text; amateur existentialist fearing nothingness, but petrified by the thought of ete rnity. I am a researcher subject who recognizes her fluctuating positionality, and rather than attempting to stifle my biases, I embrace them and acknowledge them in this project.
8 Identifying and understanding my subject position helped me to determine th e theoretical framing I use to interpret this site. The HLE is a site of convergences and contestations, an interstitial space which demands an interdisciplinary approach. Themes central to this project include authenticity, identity, and spectacle and are addressed in performance theory, postmodern theory, phenomenological theory, critical theory, cultural theory, and rhetorical theory. Throughout this manuscript, I engage these varied perspectives as archeological tools enabling me to dig deep into and th rough the conceptual dust and dirt. Sometimes these perspectives act as hiking gear helping me traverse the rugged terrain of my personal and professional quest. Always, they function as a map providing a landscape where I can locate the HLE within larger sociocutlural, political, and historical contexts. Building a Mystery The Holy Land Experience opened its gates to visitors on February 1, 2001, and more than eight hundred people attended opening day. 4 Visitors eagerly paid $17 for adults and $12 for kids. Families explored the fifteen acre site that rivals Disney and Universal, not in size, but in technological innovation and implementation. The HLE cost $16 million dollars to build, and integral to its conception and construction was ITEC Entertainme nt Corporation, the design team responsible for Islands of Adventure, the Spiderman attraction for Universal Studios, and has also worked for the Kennedy Space 5 Bill Coan, CEO of ITEC, commented, "The challenge of compressing literally thousands of years of Biblical history down to an entertaining and inspiring three to five hour guest experience has driven our design team to come up with some of our most inventive ideas and approaches ever." 6 ITE C does not disappoint. The park is aesthetically interesting, interactive, and technologically savvy. Rosenthal, as demonstrated in the creation of the HLE, embraces new technologies and media as modes of witnessing (telling people about Jesus and Salvatio n by Grace) modern technology, that presents accurate Biblical history and creates a one of a kind
9 experience. This is not only for Christians, but for people from all walks of life. When people come here, we hope the Bible will come alive for them and, I pray, change their 7 Mapping the Site Visitors enter through an impressively large recrea tion of the Gates of Damascus ( see fig. 1) and move directly into the Jerusalem Street Market, pausing beneath a fabric draped Bedouin tent where souvenirs are available for purchase ( see fig. 2). A Bedouin woman distributes Welcome pamphlets with accompan ying maps and answers visitor questions. Several Centurion guards roam the area, interacting with guests and enthusiastically pointing to their favorite performances. Smile of a Child KidVenture area is immediately south, offering children the opportunity to climb a rock wall, watch a see fig. 3), and step into various Bible scenes. Heading west, visitors discover the Wilderness Tabernacle where white bearded grandfathers shepherd the flock into a multimedia extravaganza depicting ancient rights of the Lavitical priesthood ( see fig. 4). North of the Tabernacle is a miniature mountain topped with lambs and shepherds. The mountain is a replica of the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and is the site of an undisclosed future exhibit. From the Caves, visitors geographical center of the park. Here, Behold the Lamb climaxes with the crucif ixion of Christ followed by his resurrection. The Temple Plaza is east of the Tomb, and hosts several musical and dramatic presentations ( see fig. 5). This location includes a towering summer guests. Directly attached to the palace is a theatre where movies specifically created by the park are shown throughout the day. As visitors move towards the back northeast corner of the HLE, they encounter yet another theatre space, the Shofar A uditorium, designed for live musical performances 8 Finally, the Scriptorium, a copper topped stucco building built in 2002 in
10 cooperation with the Sola Scriptura or ganization 9 marks the end of the journey ( see fig. 6). According to promotional materials, the Scriptorium boasts the largest collection of Bibles and scripture paraphernalia in the U.S. 10 Then a new journey begins as visitors enter the Scriptorium and emb ark on a fifty five minute audio guided tour of the history Witnessing, visitors are compelled to conviction and the ministerial purpose of the HLE is apparent. Co ntroversy W ith the Jewish Community nonprofit organization, was conceptualized as and functions for ministry the proliferation and dissemination of the al parent organization of the HLE, was founded by Marv and M arbeth Rosenthal in August 1989 as a means of witnessing the gospel to Jewish people in the United States and Israel. The Rosenthals left a sixteen year stint with a New Jersey based ministry to c believing, faith 11 12 Rosenthal is clear regardin g the purpose and advertisement of the HLE: "We are interested in sharing the gospel with the Jewish people," Rosenthal says. "But we do not focus exclusively on the Jews. We do not target Jewish people. We think there are a lot of things Jewish people wil l like here. Other things they will disagree with." 13 While Rosenthal is seemingly straight forward in articulating his mission, his with Jewish people, then the missi on is disclaimer. Yet conversion of Jewish people is not the exclusiv e focus of the HLE. The HLE is intended to minister to all people. The presence of Jewish history, culture, and ritual at the HLE, and R own Jewish heritage. Rosenthal self identifies as a Hebrew Christian a Jew who believes Jesus is the Messiah. He converted to Christianity over thirty years ago and attended Philadelphia
11 Col lege of Bible and Dallas Theological Seminary. 14 Rosenthal has served as a Baptist minister and missionary since he was ordained in 1968. Over the course of his theological career, Rosethal has authored two books, Not without Design (1980) and The Prewrath Rapture of the Church (1990). 15 In these books, Rosenthal details his theories regarding the divine creation of humankind and our inevitable demise. In Not Without Design Rosenthal makes a case for creationism, the intelligent design of the universe and hu mankind by God. The Prewrath Rapture of the Church Christians will be subject to the period of Tribulation when the Antichrist ascends to 16 His explanation of the ministerial nature of the HLE did nothing to subdue outcries from local Jewish communities. Local Jewish res idents took offense to the use of sacred Judaic symbols and rituals, such as the Seder dinner, to convert Jews to Christianity. Leader of the militant Jewish Defense League, Irv 17 Rabbi Aaron Rubinger from Congrega tion sacred in Judaism and it does so for the purpose of alienating Jews fro m their own 18 Though some members of the Jewish community were outspoken in their protests, most congregations in Orlando ignored the opening of the HLE. They did not want to acknowledge, and thus publicize, the park. Rosenthal recognized that the controversy would be good for business, resulting in free publicity from CNN, other news outlets, and The initial attention from media outlets definitely impacted attendance. By the end of 2001, Rosenthal reported over 3 00,000 visitors had passed through the park. After the first year, though, the HLE experienced a significant decrease in attendance, mostly because there was no money for advertising. By 2007, the park was on the verge of bankruptcy and was forced to seek financial assistance through a merger with Trinity Broadcasting Network.
12 TBN and the New HLE the Holy Land Experience. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is the faith child of Paul and Jan Crouch and a subsidiary of their larger evangelical endeavor, Trinity Christian Center (TCC) of Santa Ana, California. The Crouches, in collaboration with Jim and Tammy Bakker, founded the TCC in 1973. Besides TBN, the TCC is comprise d of five other networks, 67 satellites and 12,500 television and cable affiliates world wide. Two hundred seventy five of these television stations are located in the United States and, according to TBN, attract more than five million viewer households pe r week, making them the ninth largest broadcaster in the U.S and the largest Christian television network in the world. With TBN available to over 92 percent of American households and their website ( www.tbn.org ) boastin g more than 27 million hits monthly, TBN is a media empire. Empires are always seeking to expand. The Crouches wanted to establish a presence in Orlando and, in September 2006, bought WTGL Channel 52, a local station that reaches over four million viewers Currently, TBN is planning to use the Holy Land Experience as the host studio for TV be a faith based version of Universal Studios," said Paul Crouch, Jr. 19 The Crouches often compare the HLE with area theme parks, a risky rhetorical move considering that the nonprofit status of the organization depends upon its definition as not a theme park. In TBN was necessary becau se it avoids references to money exchanging hands. Nonprofit pivotal in seeking an alliance with TBN, but supposedly TBN did not purchase the site by paying its debt. R ather, as a new ally of the HLE, TBN donated the sum. implications for both the HLE and TBN. For the HLE, it means maintaining nonprofit ity as a missionary venture. TBN, too, nonprofit status. As a subsidiary of TBN,
13 itself a nonprofit organization, the HLE must maintain its nonprofit designation so that it does not jeopardize the classificati on of TBN. Casting Lots: Administrative Reorganization Initially p ark employees and administrators were optimistic about this marriage, seeing an answer to their prayers in the deep pockets of TBN, a fellow nonprofit organization. Job security was ass umed. The Crouches stated that they liked the park the History Randall Balmer compar backed by its size and strength. 20 This gorilla, or if we stick with the Biblical metaphor, Goliath, began instituting changes immediately after the transition in administration While the term marria ge connotes a partnership between two existing entities, what has occurred at the HLE is more like a takeover. The Crouches assumed four out of CEO. Within weeks HLE adm inistrators and employees were being fired and quitting. Numerous employees and former employees responded by posting to the Comments section of Brad online The Holy Land Experience: Who Shall published by NewsI nitiative.org. 21 One former employee counted officer], VP of Park Operations, VP of Productions, Director of Operations, [and] 22 Another poster tipped Just about all of the Holy Land's leadership is no longer there some terminated, some 23 nly member of the Board of Directors not related to the Crouch family), resigned August 21, 2007, two months after the merger. One former HLE employee claimed by way of a comment to reporter Flora that Powell was fired, but n due to a nondisclosure agreement between Powell and TBN. John Casoria a TBN spokesperson,
14 submitted a resignation. He was offered positions doing similar things at other places, even in the secular world, whe re he'd be paid a lot more money." 24 the secular world and the possibility of more money casts a decidedly negative tilt to capabilities, cutting $2 million contacting and brokering the marriage to TBN. His departure, as reflected in the dis loyalty and less than Christian motives f or leaving the site. that the way this came together it was designed by God for us to continue the way we need to. I don't think the end result is because of anything any pers on did. I think it's the end result of what everyone here was asking for." 25 An anonymous park employee asked to respond to the merger told Flora the story of Habakkuk: A prophet named Habakkuk was distressed by the injustice and strife of his day. So he p etitions God to intercede. God answers. His plan? To raise up the of their ways. 26 going to 27 TBN, while A Mixed Marriage: Theologic al Differences The changes TBN wrought were visible in the overhaul of the gift shops and the remodeling of administrative spaces. In particular, the Shofar and Scriptorium shops were targeted because of what Crouch Sr. referred to as a deficiency in the
15 rearranged and stocked with books by Crouch Sr., as well as with TBN t shirts, umbrellas, magnets, and bookmarks 28 The shops were also refurnished with orn ate, richly hued chairs, drapes, and counters. The draped fabrics of Bedouin tents were replaced with great, white Roman pillars and porticos. The dusty, village aura of the HLE was quickly transformed into a regal, regiment ed atmosphere characterized by o pulence not always consistent with the historical period of Roman occupation. The Guest Services building, for instance, has been upholstered in red velvet and decorated with furniture distinctly Baroque in design. The presence of these types of texts and seemingly opulent furnishings signals a shift in ideological and theological perspectives. Wealth demonstrated through material artifacts suggests the influence of the Prosperity gospel. Prosperity theology, also known as Prosperity doctrine, contends that God grants favored individuals material wealth. similar to Prosperity gospel in that adherents to Word of Faith believe that to speak (with belief) scripture relevant to those needs. 29 The Encyclopedia of Religion notes that Word of Faith teachings claim 30 In ess ence, through faith, followers can speak what they desire into existence. This notion is similar to the popular New Age bestselling book The Secret written by Rhonda Byrne, which claims that the power of positive thinking will result in health, happiness, and wealth. Rather than speaking, we should be thinking prosperity into being. The difference between the Prosperity doctrine and this Word of Faith and New Age optimism is that the Prosperity doctrine suggests faith is not enough to achieve prosperity. Go d has to be on your side. Material wealth and prosperity are indicators that you are favored by God. The Crouches, though they profess Word of Faith rather than Prosperity gospel, embody Prosperity gospel in their lifestyle choices, 31 as well as in the choi ces they have made in refurnishing the HLE. The P rosperity gospel is ideologically incompatible with traditional evangelical philosophies of sacrifice upon which the HLE is based. Traditional e vangelical Christians shun worldliness (the investment of mea ning and value in the secular), though they
16 understand the necessity of engaging in the secular world in order to spread the gospel of Christ. Integral to e vangelical theology is the notion of sacrifice. As Jesus sacrificed his life for humanity, so must h umanity sacrifice their worldly possessions to save other people from poverty. 32 Bill Jones, current Senior Bible Teacher at the HLE, refuses to teach the Prosperity gospel which implies that poor people are poor because they are not favored by God but does perspective. Powell briefly addressed the possible conflict prior to his departure, saying 33 and a particular thrust mission and thrust fits into that and basically we agreed to operate with a similar look and 34 Commenting on the u nlikely event of these divergent theologies coexisting at the HLE, 35 od, about the recent acquisition of the HLE. Crouch Sr. weaved a story of salvation aro und himself as savior. When Crouch set foot inside the HLE he diagnosed the ailing Spirit was n of charismatic books in the gift shops. After TBN acquired the HLE, Crouch ordered his . book s in the bookstore . real estate and I holiness into being.
17 Shrouded in Controversy Though initial hopes were high in regards to an amicable partnership between original HLE staff and the new TBN administrat ors, the reality of a corporate takeover has been difficult. The transition has not been helped by news reports speculating about the legitimacy of TBN as a nonprofit organization or the controversies that shroud the Crouch family. The TCC has over $1 bill ion dollars in assets and is registered as a nonprofit organization. Yet, allegations have been made that the Crouches have used funds from the TCC to support their luxuriant lifestyle, 36 Hollywood aspirations (to the tune of $3 2 million TBN dollars), and pay a $425,000 settlement to employee Enoch Lonnie Ford with whom, it has been alleged, Crouch, Sr. participated in a homosexual encounter. The 1998 Ford incident encouraged unwanted comparisons between the Crouches and the Bakk ers. In 1987, after having an affair with Jessica Hahn, secretary of Praise the Lord ministry (PTL), Jim Bakker paid Hahn $265,000 in hush money, but the money was from PTL coffers, resulting in a national 37 ons prompted inquiries into the Crouches and TBN, and in September 2004, the Los Angeles Times began an investigative series delving into the organizational practices of the nonprofit empire. What they found was a prayer mill. Viewers of TBN are encouraged to call and mail in prayer requests over which the Crouches were supposed to pray. They did, but apparently without regard to the individual details of the requests. According to the Times prayer ver, all names and contact information are retained and inputted into a database for mail outs and fundraising. Apparently, while individual attention was not afforded for the purpose of prayer, it was for marketing. These controversies, combined with acc usations leveled by Christian watchdog groups, such as the Trinity Foundation and MinistryWatch.com may prove detrimental to term success and financial viability Trinity Foundation founder and president Ole Anthony believes that it is just a matter of time before a federal financially stable, but I think some Senate agency or government group is going to look
18 38 Minis tryWatch.com has given TBN an 39 Managing director of research Rodney Pitzer advises charitable people to donate 40 TBN refuses to release the specific financial details of the merger with the HLE, which only reinforces skepticism and suspicion regarding the intentions and practices of TBN. Individuals who have posted responses o nline news article addressing the HLE/TBN merger have also noted what they believe to be misuse of funds. One and their business practices now 41 . u nwise . capricious . . . xuriant materialism going on in the name 42 It remains to be seen how these issues will play out at the local level of the HLE in terms of employee satisfaction, visitor attendance, and administration. However, issues such as these have face d and will continue to face modes of evangelism that embrace contemporary popular culture, information technologies, and business practices. What HLE exemplifies the incr easingly complicated relationships between traditional understandings of secular and sacred spaces. Other Christian B ased Parks and Museums The Holy Land Experience is not a singular or new mode of evangelism. Many examples of entertainment and ministry hybrids exist in our contemporary world. The HLE shares Orlando with several of these sites and scholars such as Timothy Beal and Daniel Radosh have documented similar locations throughout the United States.
19 Internationally, an HLE employee noted the deve lopment of a sister site to the HLE in Seoul, Korea and the ArkAlive project is currently in the preliminary stages of development in the United Kingdom. Local Sites Christian themed attractions in the Orlando area include Campus Crusade for Christ Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Disney's Celebration Presbyterian Church. Campus Crusade for Christ, a nonprofit organization carrying the same 501(c)(3) movements e 43 Wycliffe Bible Translators, named for fourteenth century Biblical scholar and linguist John Wycliffe (whose animatronic effigy performs daily in the Scriptorium), is a mission organization dedicated to the translation of scriptures. They have translators present and working with local populations in more than 90 countries. Wycliffe USA Headquarters and its museum component, WordSpring Discovery Center, are ten minutes from the HLE. Celebration Presb yterian Church, located on two prime acres of Disney real estate, was commissioned by Disney in 1996. The fantasy empire solicited bids from religious organizations and denominations across the U.S. Because of their funding, as (U.S.A.) was awarded the contract. 44 The active church is visible from the Irlo Bronson Highway and is one of the primary attractions for visitors touring Celebration. National Sites A number of these types of spaces purportedly educational, entertaining, and religious exist in the United States, including the Creation Museum in Kentucky, Mount Blanco Fossil Museum in Texas, and Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida (a creation theme park 45 Currently, Bible Park USA is under construction in Tennessee. Thirty five miles southeast of Nashville in the town of Murfreesboro, over two hundred acres of land situated in what was once the heart of farm country (though very close to Route 840) have been slated for
20 development into Bible Park USA. 46 heels of massive residential growth. Residents of the area, known as Blackman (Rutherford County), have openly and vigorous ly opposed Armon Bar the value of this site to the local economy. Bar Tur, managing director of the New York undertaking. This is not some hokey park that 47 The Biblical focus of the park has upset many residents who feel that the area was targeted because of its reputation as being part of the Bible Belt, accusing developers of assuming their faith was translatable into dollars. Resid ent Susan Hunnicutt expressed her be religiously themed. 48 Bar non evangelize. 49 Yet, the park will include spaces for Bible study. Chief executive officer Ronen Paldi locates the value of this site in its ability to offer Americans who cannot or will not embark on pilgrimages to the Middle East a convenient, affordable Holy Land experience Paldi asserts 50 Unlike Disney, the park will not contain roller coasters or rides, but Paldi compared the International Sites Sites like these can also be found on the global scene. Brazil boasts a Catholic theme park called Aparecida Magic Park where visitors can ride roller coasters and witness an animatronic Nativity scene. The United Kingdom may soon be home to a Holy Land Experience type park. Sunday school teacher Andrea Webster began the initial stages of building her evangelical theme park, Ark Alive, in 2005. Like the HLE, Ark Alive claims to be non denominational and educational. Unlike the HLE, Webster 51
21 entertainment focus of the theme park with the educational imperative of a museum and the sacred mission of saving souls. The Ark Alive website Webster at this moment) mission is, To serve Jesus Christ by spreading the Good News through the provision of a Christian visitor attraction based on the Bible. We aim to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel for the whole p erson by including and welcoming all people. 52 Like the HLE, Ark Alive claims inclusivity, purportedly inviting diversity. What is this is not clarified on the website, I read this statement as acknowledging the multifaceted and mutable nature of personhood. Webster recognizes the need to cultivate and nurture spiritual identity or be encouraged to find out more a but also and cultural importance of the Bible as a book and Jesus as an historical figure. She asserts the value of Ark Alive to non Christians is being able to hear about how events recorded in the with embodied versions of the Biblical narrative Like the HLE, it is through the use of these recreational and educational technologies that Webster hopes Ark Alive will T he goals of Ark Alive mirror the goals of the HLE; both sites are evangelical tools intended to a id in Christian witnessing. I t has yet to be seen whether or not this mode of evangelism will fair any better in the U.K. than it has in the U.S.
22 Historical Antecedents These modes of witnessing staged imaginations of the Christian narrative are not uni que to our time. In Imagining the Holy Land Burke Long eloquently describes Chautauq ua Institute in western New York was host to one of the first incarnations of an imagined, three dimensional Holy Land in the United States. The Chautauqua Institute was designed as an educational facility anchored in immersive pedagogy and intended for tr aining Sunday school teachers. After its opening in 1874, the Institute quickly became a popular recreational destination where visitors could amble through a scale model of Biblical 53 The Jerusalem Exhibit at th opportunity to stroll through the streets of a Jerusalem model. Unlike the miniature model at Chautauqua, the Jerusalem Exhibit, which occupied eleven acres, was an almost full sized version of Ottoman Jerusalem as it appeared in 1900. 54 celebrations of the progress of modernity and advertised as educational and entertaining. The Jerusalem Exhibit was a testament to the achievements of modern Christianity where 55 Chautauqua was conceptualized as a tool for witnessing and teaching Christians how to witness. Like Ark Alive and the HLE, the Jerusalem Exhibit and the Chautauqua Institute confound finite distinctions between educ ational and entertainment complexes, and between sacred and secular spaces. More recently, and conceptually the closest relative of the HLE in the U.S., was Belk studied Heritage Village in 1987, subsequently publishing one Heritage Village, USA 56 The article details the landscape of the now defunct 57 theme park and identifie 58 partnered with the Crouch family to found the Trinity Christian Center and Trinity
23 Broadcasting Network, imagined and constructed a 2,300 acre $200 million resort that included a television studio that broadcast Praise the Lord ministry. Heritage Village, USA opened in 1978, and by 1986 was the third most popular theme park in the country, trailing Disney World and D isneyland. Like Disney World, Heritage Village contained a fantasy castle and a Main Street lined with shops. The site had replicas of Jerusalem, but the centerpiece was a five acre water park that occasionally doubled as a giant baptismal. eached the gospel of prosperity, the sacrilization of material acquisition, center and center of congregation in Heritage Village was the shopping mall. What made Herita ge Village highly controversial among Christians was the blatant emphasis on worshiping God through mass consumerism. The Holy Land Experience, like Heritage Village, USA, is grounded in contemporary modes of consumption. U ntil its recent shift in adminis tration, the HLE was not associated with the gospel of prosperity. What will prove interesting in the coming year s is how various ideas about consumption and its relationship to the sacred will play out in the transitioning performances of faith at the HLE Several contemporary scholars who are interested in convergences of religion and popular culture have probed the relationships between consumption, the sacred, and notions of authenticity at the HLE and offer useful insights into popular performances of faith. Reading into Religion and Authenticity I am not the first academic to find the Holy Land Experience strange and fascinating. Journalist and popular author Daniel Radosh published his first book, Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Univer se of Christian Pop Culture in April Radosh is a self witty contributions to periodicals such as T he New Yorker GQ The New York Times and Playboy He was also recognized as a preeminent blogger by Time.com in 2008. 59 Not only is his narrative about the HLE entertaining, it is also enlightening. Especially useful ith former HLE executive director Dan Hayden
24 (currently serving as the director of Sola Scriptura) who articulates the HLE as a postmodern project. Though Radosh avoids the academic jargon and theoretical situate the HLE within a postmodern paradigm. 60 Postmodernism is a philosophical perspective that questions the grand narrative of huma n history as characterized by linear progress. Instead of this grand narrative of modern progress, postmodernism suggest that multiple narratives exists and that history is a subjective construction, rather than an objective Truth. Several scholars have written about the HLE from various other perspectives, but none at length. Kristin Dombek, a theatre and performance scholar interested in popular expressions of evangelical Christianity, offers an analysis of the roles of live animals at the HLE (this wa s prior to the removal and relocation of those animals) in her article, 61 Dombek Apocalyptic zoo disciplinary intersection between animal studies and performance studies 62 ) theorizes what animals do in Christian apocalypticism 63 us that the apocalypticism that is too often at the heart of secular humanism can be fatally 64 Evangelical animals function paradoxically, serving as a canvas on which human 65 Regarding the HLE, Dombek argues that the animals perform what she refers to as authenticity in a space of simulation. (I will return to the concept of authenticit y and its applicability to the HLE momentarily). 66 Their presence works to evoke the gement (the petting area and the mingling of smells and sounds), and references the necessary concept
25 67 The HLE simultaneously reveals and conceals the violence of the Biblical sacrificial system, involving visitors in performances of (in)visible violence. Re ligious studies scholar Timothy Beal is also concerned with what the HLE does, what it performs. In his book, Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith ng non 68 Though seriously as unique expressions of religious imagination and unique testimonials au 69 Beal does not, however, afford this same respect to the HLE because he visit to the HLE is incomplete (as was his actual visit since he missed the crucif ixion) and 70 He accuses the HLE of being 71 What is useful about Bea the centrality of issues of authenticity, issues which are at the heart of the controversy Anthropologist Scott Lukas, editor of the anthology, The Themed Space: Locating Cul ture, Nation, and Self is also concerned with authenticity and, in particular, how it i s related to the cultural phenomenon of theming. 72 Theming is the organization of an environment based on a specified narrative. Themed spaces offer visitors an opportun ity to engage in narratives in an immersive environment. The Themed Space the sp the Holy Land Experience I had the reflection that I had just visited one of the best themed venues that I had ever seen, and, yet, I c ould not connect to the theming 73 He
26 ; 74 on these 75 This narrative, which I identify as the e), is 76 His judgment was that the HLE most closely 77 In his effort to make sense of the spa ce, Lukas stumbles directly into the crux of the public, legal, and philosophical debate as to the sacrality of the HLE. Does the HLE resemble a site of worship or is it a site of worship? Is the HLE themed as sacred, or is it an authentically sacred space ? Authenticity is a distinct theme in each of these works Dombek, Beal, and Lukas use the term authenticity loosely, paying little attention to the complexity and contested nature of this concept. Each author uses the term to reference a perceived genuin eness (or lack thereof) of the space. Dombek understands the role of animals as, in part, legitimizing agents whose presence creates verisimilitude between Biblical Jerusalem and locations. He believes the HLE lacks authenticity because it is associated with a larger organization and located in Orlando, and is therefore corrupted by commercialism. Lukas understands authenticity as a property achieved through strategic use of themin g techniques. In all cases authenticity is understood as a quality that is either present or absent. Dombek comes closest to the notion of authenticity I will employ in this manuscript, referring to authenticity as the verisimilitude of the Biblical narrat ive achieved through the performances of the animals. In the following section I define authenticity as experiential, created through the process of engagement and I demonstrate how a performative theory of authenticity is necessary to understanding the HLE
27 Clarifying Authenticity The HLE confounds strict frameworks of interpretation, troubling notions of authenticity by transgressing the increasingly ambiguous and often tenuous boundaries between sacred and secular, pilgrimage and leisure travel, a nd education and entertainment. Scholars from various disciplines have struggled for decades (centuries, in by distinguishing authentic from inauthentic, work from leisur e, and sacred from secular or profane. These are all (false) dichotomies constituting moral hierarchies and influencing value systems. Authenticity is a highly contested theoretical concept often used to hierarchically designate landscapes, artifacts, and experiences. Since authenticity is a concept addressed throughout this manuscript, I would like to establish here what notions of authenticity I find useful for this project. Is it useful to attempt to label the HLE as authentic or inauthentic? In 78 The language of authenticity has historically been tied to the language of Tr uth and the Real. Theorists of travel and tourism have built scholarship upon the dichotomies authentic/inauthentic, sacred/secular, and work/leisure, often uncritically employing them as foundations for grand theories that caricature tourists as dupes who willingly consume the inferior artifice (in the case of Daniel Boorstin) or fall for the front stage ploy (as suggested by Dean MacCannell). These theorists position authenticity as a fixed property of an object or location; an immutable characteristic th at must be diligently sought, critically approached, and tentatively identified. None of these approaches to authenticity can provide anything more than cursory insights into the HLE and its visitors because HLE is a simulation Instead, I draw from the w orks of Edward Bruner and Tracy Stephenson Shaffer in developing a performative theory of authenticity applicable to this project. I am writing both a performance centered and performer centered analysis of the HLE. As such, I ascribe to an experiential, p as a social construction the meaning of which varies with different people, at different
28 79 authenticity in the li terature and in the fieldwork, is that one never knows except by 80 Thus, it is necessary to employ ethnographic case studies such as this one. Bruner, in taking postmodernist theories of authenticity derived from Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco to task (for asserting that the Real no longer exists, thus there can be nothing authentic), posits what he terms a constructivist perspective 81 of authenticity that locates the meanings of auth enticity in social practice. Meaning is emergent in the engagements between individual(s), texts, and contexts. Ultimately, inauthentic. Referencing cultural studies schola r Arjun Appadurai (1986), Bruner argues these distinctions are technologies of power employed to garner and assert power: whose voice is privileged and determines what is authentic? Debates over authenticity (and thus, legitimacy) are struggles for the rig ht to interpret culture and history. Inevitably, both the 82 So it is more productive Like Brun er, performance studies scholar Tracy Stephenson Shaffer locates authenticity in the process of engagement. Writing about her backpacking trip through Europe, Stephenson Shaffer argues for the relevance of performer centered analysis to studies of tourism 83 Specifically, Stephenson Shaffer makes claims to knowledge based on her 84 Further, she theorizes authenticity as performance : . 85 E xtrapolat ing her argument to analysis of the HLE a u thenticity becomes salient not in the sense of the geographical location, but as a means of evaluating performances of faith, spiritual devotion, and religiosity. And so, my questions in this project are: How does the HLE perform faith and Christianity? H ow
29 do visitors interpret these performances, as well as engage in performances of their own? What does authenticity mean in relation to these performances? In the following chapters of this manuscript, I will employ the concept of authenticity as I have o utlined it here (processual and experiential) to speak to my own experiences as researcher, pilgrim, and tourist, as well as to the performances of the site. How does authenticity factor into the legal battle over the nonprofit designation of the HLE? What does authenticity mean in regards to the rhetorical construction of the HLE as a museum? Does the live performance of the crucifixion provide a means of establishing an authentic connection between the visitor and her theology? What constitutes an authent ic experience of the sacred in a site marked by secularity? The Secular/Sacred Binary In order to begin to understand how the HLE functions as both a secular and sacred space, it is necessary to mention the history of thought that has bifurcated secular from sacred The Enlightenment, Western dualism (body/mind), and modern rationality spawned the division and subsequent opposition of secular and sacred: that which has to do with the world and that which transcends the world. Religious scholar R. Laurenc e Moore asserts in his book, Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture that differentiating between the secular and the sacred has become particularly difficult in contemporary American culture even though the binaries of church and st ate are sanctioned by the constitution. 86 Moore highlights the strengths of this binary system, including the acceptability of religious diversity, but argues this promotion of diversity has historically relegated religion to the private sphere of individua l choice, restricting the presence of religious dialogue in public spaces. Many scholars who have studied religiosity have supported this theoretical binary, reifying seventeenth and eighteenth century denotations of the sacred and profane as religious and secular. 87 Inquiries into religion and culture by several contemporary scholars challenge the validity of what they believe to be a false dichotomy. 88 These scholars intend to broaden the scope of the sacred to include icons, rituals, and personalities a ssociated with popular culture. Conrad Ostwalt seeks a more practical understanding of the relationships
30 as society becomes more secularized, religion will bec ome unnecessary and vanish to task. 89 If the institutionality of religion is waning, that does not suggest religion is disappearing. Rather, a shift in religious authority is occurring. Secularization disrupts the locations of spiritual authority in religio us institutions, allowing religion and spirituality to move into other arenas. 90 Instead of religion disappearing as the general population becomes more secularly oriented, Ostwalt believes that religion and popular 91 Religion is reliant upon popular culture and vice versa. In a secularized society, religion must embrace popular forms of culture associated with spirituality. This tandem codependency is evident in the manifestations of Christianity in various media outlets, as well as in the generic, commercialized spirituality currently linked to the health and wellness industries. 92 This muddling of the boundaries between religion and popular culture further complicates distinctions between sacred and secular. How can we identify something that is authentically sacred in this muddled mess? Only by und erstanding authenticity and sacrality as fluid identities achieved through performance. The HLE is a manifestation of tandem codependency: the HLE relies on characteristics it shares with secular entertainment venues to draw an audience, and that audience is then subject to the educational and ministerial purpose of the site. Performances of faith at the HLE invest the hybrid site with sacredness and authenticity. of the plasticity of religion. Religions that survive and remain relevant are protean in 93 Cults and virtual religions conform more to what Chidest er and
31 94 Contrary to Ross and Chidester, I would contend that Christianity is also plastic, thriving for thousands of years. Its adherents have adapted the system to the cultural context, as exemplified in the nineteenth century leisure movement, 95 as well as contemporary postmodern sites like the Holy Land Experience. Strange Bedfellows: Postmodernism and the Christian Master Narrative A remarkable adaptation of the Christian system that proves its plasticity is the adoption and mainstreaming of postmodern theory by some Christian leaders. T his is remarkable because the premises of postmodernity the rejection of a grand narrat ive for multiple, subjective narratives would seem to contradict the foundations of Christianity in the master narrative of Salvation by Grace. And yet, some Christian leaders, including individuals related to the HLE, espouse affiliations with postmodern theory. Before discussing this contemporary phenomenon of Christian postmodernism, I will first provide a brief background on postmodern theory. Postmodern social theorists vary in their perspectives on postmodernism and its implications. In general, pos tmodern theory suggests knowledge is de centered and History no longer exists as a fixed, knowable past. Rather, it is a fluid and mutable process better understood through historiography, the study of how history is conceptualized and told. Our post industrial, media saturated society is characterized by whole sale commodification of culture. Some postmodern theorists offer a decidedly nihilistic reading of the postmodern human condition. Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, and Fredrick Jameson see a world defined by commercial culture, characterized by shallow 96 and lives emptied of meaning. They see a world disintegrating in the shadows of ontological uncertainty; in essence, a crisis of faith in the existence of meaning. Not all theorists of postmodernity are quite so pessimistic. Ihab Hassan points to the possibilities created by postmodernism. History is not dead; it is rejuvenated
32 reinvigorated by voices previously excluded from elitist discourses that determined the Truth of the past. The fragmentation of postmodernism, which disrupts the p rogress of investigation and expression. 97 Intertextuality is valuable for deep inquiry and bricolage and pastiche become venerated forms of experiencing and writing about the world. Rather than losing the ability to engage in critical engagement (as suggested by Baudrillard), postmodernism is marked by self reflexivity, questioning, and the collision of seemingly disparate d iscourses in generative ways. Postmodernism is valuable because it challenges generalizations and essentialization of knowledge and experience established from the perspective of normative masculinity intrinsically tied to Enlightenment rationalism. It i s this challenge of grand narratives and of the essential i z ing of Truth and the Real that would seem to position postmodernism at odds with Christianity. Radosh briefly reviews literature written by contemporary Christian scholars who address postmodernism William D. Romanowski, author of Eyes Wide Open:Looking for God in Popular Culture and an evangelical professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at for understanding and talking about Christianity today. 98 He believes that postmodernity offers a place for Christianity in public discourse and encourages Christians to forsake believe and i 99 Also resisting the either/or dichotomy of modern Ch ristianity are Cr aig Detweiler and Barry Taylor, authors of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture 100 Detweiler and Taylor find postmodern popular culture refreshing and necessary to understanding contemporary human experience. Most notably, the authors identify p op 101 They characterize
33 Jesus as a revolutionary and a storyteller who employed modes of communication r elevant to his time and place: He developed his theological approach within the marketplace . . Pop culture is our marketplace the arena we visit daily to encounter issues of life and death, to discover what it means to be human, to hear the questions society asks, to meet God. The marketplace 102 can (and must!) inform our theology. 103 Because of its foundations in popular culture, its employment of spectacle and deployment of synaesthetic technologies, the HLE exists comfortably within a postmodern framew ork. Former HLE executive director Dan Hayden identifies the HLE as a postmodern project offering visitors a mode of experiencing the Bible that jives with contemporary cultural emphas i chosen for ease of us e, conceptual elasticity, and current cultural capital. Yet, the nuggets of postmodern theory are there: o feel it . . T he simulation [of Biblical history] helps you realize that Jesus was a real person, he really did die. So that enhances the understanding and turns it from a theological understanding to an experiential one. 104 The express goal here is to augment theological knowledge with knowledge acquired through the body via simulation their faith through a physical relationship with a simulation. The Implications of Simulation Jean Baudrillard theorizes simulation and simulacrum as endemic in the postmodern process of engagement and meaning making. In Simulacra and Simulation Baudrillard theorizes hyperreality, or a society of the simulacra, by addressing how societies employ certain forms of c ommunication as formative and meaningful. Baudrillard believes, following Marshall McLuhan, that Western societies are increasingly confusing the medium and the message to the point that the medium is no longer identifiable as separate from, or other than, the message. In this collapse of
34 distinction, Baudrillard also sees the collapse of other distinctions (and the process and active and passive, between subject and 105 Polarities collapse into one another. Baudrillard writes, [N]othing separates one pole from another anymore, the beginning from the end; there is a kind of contraction of one over the other, a fantastic telescoping, a collapse of the two traditional poles into each other: implosion . an implosion of meaning. That is where simulation begins (emphasis original). 106 The HLE is a site of hyperreality, where polarities are collapsed, the medium (performances of faith) matter what domain . in which the distinction between these two poles can no longer 107 Simulation, according to Baudrillard, is not pretending. Simula tion is the performance of presence in the face of absence, thereby producing signs of that which is not there (or does not exist). Signs created in the performance of presence stand in for the absent thing; or as Baudrillard says, simulation 108 109 The significant difference between simulation and representation, as discussed by Baudrillard Real; they are a sign with a clear referent. An original exists to which the sign refers. Simulations, in contrast, are unanchored signs that refer only to themselves; signs for which no original exists (or can be traced). They are copies of copies of copies and so on. rs (or at least I) engage a site like the HLE. The HLE is a system of simulacra. The administration and a good majority of visitors would probably not understand or classify the HLE in this way, seeing it instead as a series of representations. The referen t, of course, is the Bible; enactment of a story, a manifestation of human desire for redemption from our transgressions and salvation from death. It is a hyperrealit
35 110 The HLE substitutes performances of belief for be 111 It is thus that for faith, there can be substituted the signs of faith, the performances of faith. Conclusion While Postmodernism may seem as though it is simply the next master narrative in a linear progression of intellectual thought, it is itself highly contested and amorphous. Jean Franois Lyotard asserts postmodernism does not chronol ogically follow modernism. There is not a specific, finite transition of eras. Instead, postmodernism exists alongside and within modern narratives. This simultaneity makes room for more complex understandings of postmodern religious expression, travel, an d tourism and the inherent identity work that happens in these processes. I feel an affinity for theories of postmodernity because I am not a linear thinker. My thoughts are fragmented and often filled with contradictions. I thrive on multiplicity and re sist any single definition or claim to truth. Once bothered by the instability and ambiguity of liminality, I now find it liberating, filled with gaps and moments and fissures where possibilities sprout like weeds in the cracks of a sidewalk. Through a pos tmodern framework, I can stand in the midst of my research and breathe. 112 And yet, postmodernism is no sav i or here. It proves promblematic, both personally and theoretically. While the multiplicity of meanings enabled by postmodernism make room for my voice in this project, this multiplicity leaves me awash in an ocean of meaning that, due to its vastness, becomes meaningless. The fragmentation and alienation seemingly inherent in postmodernity compound the alienation I feel when faced with my lost faith. I have stood in the midst of the Holy Land Experience more than fifteen times over the past two years and have inhaled the pungent odors of salty bodies and sweet jasmine. My lungs have been overcome by suffocating heat and humidity. I have smelled
36 the co ntradictions of smoked turkey legs and fake blood. I have breathed in the sweat of fanaticism, the acrid tensions of consumerism and fetishism, and savory moments of fleeting satisfaction. This is a space of fragmentation and conflation, a dynamic system of meaning making where identities are in constant (re)construction. It is a space of tourism, theatre, leisure, entertainment, education, history, technology, religion and spirituality, consumerism, nationalism, and fantasy. And each of these tropes is a ccompanied by specific discourses that find expression in and can illuminate the HLE as a meaningful phenomenon. As I have previously mentioned, this manuscript is not about religion, per se. I am not evaluating or making claims as to the appropriateness o f performed expressions of religion, spirituality, and/or faith. Nor am I inclined to provide an 113 What I am interested in is the lived experiences of playing in the both/an d of the secular sacred. I am interested in the power relationships inherent in representing and participating in the enactment of certain narratives of faith, belief, justice, punishment, sacrifice, violence, and love. What I find most useful for this p roject is that postmodern theory provides a space for particularity, for examining subject positionalities and the complicated, dynamic processes of identity construction. In the subsequent chapters, I ask how theories of postmodernity can help us better u experiences playing in the both/and of the sacred/secular? Can we find the sacred in a space of hyperreality and simulation? W hat do spaces like the HLE mean in contemporary society? How is the HLE used? What does it say? What does it do ? What is being created in the interactions of visitors in and with this space? Ultimately, the HLE functions as a stage upon which visitors and site administrators alike perform the signs of faith. Like the physical, spiritual, and intellectual journeys at the heart of this investigation, this manuscript is a process of engagement and a performance of faith (or more aptly, a performance of the s igns of faith). With this in mind, I include selections
37 from my writings as a researcher, as well as writings from my personal life. Separating the two, making distinctions between my observations as an academic and as a woman living through a profound, in tensely disturbing experience, became increasingly difficult as I moved through this process. Separating events and feelings based on their relevance either to this dissertation or to my personal revelations and growth as a human being became impossible. T hus, I have organized this manuscript as a performance of the sometimes competing, often confused, and always passionate voices that constitute my subjectivity. Each Chapter privileges my academic voice, offering analyses of the specific elements of the HL E. Most Chapters contain storied sections from my field notes, providing specific moments of experiences and observations that elucidate the issues addressed in that Chapter. Between Chapters between the spaces in my life defined by my commitment to resear ch, controlled by the conventions of academia there are spaces of personal awareness, moments of significance that affect how I engage the world. These spaces manifest in this document as Interludes. Some of the Interludes are derived from field notes, oth ers from a personal journal I kept as I stumbled through this process. All of these writings are intricately connected to my understandings of the HLE as a site where faith is performed. They are also performances of faith my faith in the process of becomi ng (a scholar, a seeker, a believer). own fascination while sketching a theoretical framework and method of inquiry through which I will analyze the HLE. In Chapter 2, T ell Y ou the T as a nonprofit organization. The HLE claims to be a museum, whereas county tax officials argue that it is an entertainment. I a rgue the HLE is an edutainment complex, discussion of the structure and function of museums in postmodernity. In Chapter 3 contemporary Museology, specifically focusing on how visitors interact with performative display practices like those employed in the Scriptorium. Chapter 4 discussion of museum design broached in Chapter 3 focusing on the HLE as a themed
38 space and a heritage site. I argue that the HLE functions as a heritage site offering visitors a means of physically engaging with an imagined past and publicly participating in the narrative of Salvation by G race. In Chapter 5 the relationship between theatre, performance, and religion in the United States, focusing on the development of Passion plays in the twentieth century. I assert that visitors become actors in th Behold the Lamb Chapter 6 closes this project by linking my personal experiences with faith, love, sacrifice, and punishment with larger sociocultural issues of violence.
39 INTERLUDE Journal May 4, 2008 love this project. It interests me, fascinates me, and haunts my waking moments. Why eye s? I plead with the screen, Give me something Anything, really. Just a word. Help me find the answer Help me find the way. I seek answers in everything that poke fun at my obsession: Jesus the Son of God Tales of Glory figurine, complete with a wide to me. I can grow my own Jesus whe never I want, but right now he remains stunted inside his plastic wrapping. Parachute Jesus donning his story book backpack sits prominently on the poorly mounted white wall shelf, positioned over my printer the symbol of completion, text to page. I seek answers in everything. * Rick and I and Joe and Sapph sit on the living room floor playing games. We finish Cranium and look for another. Sapph wants to play with the tarot cards I bought at Goodwill several months ago. I am reluctant I remind myself
40 pay attention to the meanings of the cards. I read for Sapph, paying close attentio n to the cards. She is serious. I feel the cards in my hands. I imagine I can feel the energy. question: How will the next six months of dissertation writing go? I h and the cards to Sapph and as she begins to lay them in the Question and Answer Spread, I quickly revise my question: What lay in store for me over the next three months of dissertation? The cards have been laid. Sapph turns the first card in the sequence the card representative of the past. Card XV, The Devil (Key words: struggle, decisions, manipulation, potential) We all gasp in surprise. Rick and I look at each other and acknowledge the relevance of the card: my past, my fascination with this morbi d topic, my mother. The Devil warns of struggle and symbolizes the conflict of opposites. Game on. this situation that allows it to continue in a way that is ultimately unsat isfying. A financial agreement, relationship, or career commitment has become imprisonment rather than liberation. Follow your higher instincts and protect your long 1 In one jump, I can be free. Is this no l onger a game? Maybe it never really was. My gut is now tied to the moment, anticipating the next card. The journey has begun.
41 We all sit rapt in the pulsing energy that moves inside and among our circle. Sapph flips the next card indicative of the present, the question at hand. The Page of Cups ( minor arcana 2 ) Page can be any age, so, in a reading, this card may represent a youthful attitude. However, this joie de vivre c an belie insecurity. When this card portrays a 3 The question at hand: the progress of the dissertation. Emotional, vital and intuitive the characteristics I resist including in this process. I am insecure. I want this dissertation to be meaningful creative and inspired, but I fear the process. I doubt my ability to produce a beautiful text. I think it would be simpler to write the dry pages of dissertations past. keep myself off the page. Is this scholarship? Will I be accepted? Will I get a job? The Page of Cups offers s upport and reassurance. The Quest continues. The third card hidden influences that must be considered: Card XXI, The World (Key w ords: comp letion, birth, endings, beginnings) life landmark, a key move in terms of your lifestyle, or an opportunity to discover new territory physically through traveling to new countr ies. One chapter of your 4 The World is the final card in the tarot sequence. It is completeness and finality seeded with the new and birth. It symbolizes creation. The World gives birth and the cycl e begins again.
42 Rick and I have just moved into our new apartment. We all sit in a circle on the floor smothering space of our old apartment. The light here is magnificent. I hav e been living in literal darkness for three years. Now, every room teems with the renewing energy of light. I am happy and free. Three years of darkness in the old apartment. Three years of metaphorical darkness in my Ph.D. program. Struggle and oppression and depression. Now, committed to the dissertation process, I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I can see myself being birthed into a new life. I understand that my journey, my quest outside the text parallels my quest inside the text We sit in silence, in awe of the accuracy and profundity of revelation. Sapph flips the hinge card It represent s the attitudes of others around you. The Knight of Swords ( minor arcana ) need to be overcome. He represents the arrival of battles that are unavoidable if progress is to 5 Unavoidable battles. Rick is so close to finishing his degree, but here we are, again, faced final class, a challenge for us both. Challenges, obstacles, and battles. This is the hinge card. We continue. Next, the best action to take Seven of Cups ( minor arcana ) of achieving a dream. You need to be sure that offers you accept will lead to fulfillment and not the undoing of your hard work. Naturally, confusion threatens 6
43 Persevere. Fight. Continue. If we can fac e the challenges, overcome the obstacles (The Devil and The Knight of Swords ), and win the battle, the dream is in reach. It is my dream. I want to write creatively and live a comfortable and fulfilling life as a professor. I want Rick to finish his degree right on the other side of the hinge. (An invisible obstacle: in the narcissism of the dissertation process, I forget to think about what Rick wants.) The mood is marked by excitement, anticip ation, and expectation. We are so close to the outcome. Can the cards stay the course? Will it all fall apart at the end, leaving us in The second to last card indicat es Obstacles in my path. Card XVII, The Star (Key w ords: Vigor, new life, happiness, imagination) around her signify imagination and ambition, and the water represents creativity 7 Meaning: fortuitous card for those starting out on projects or relationships, as it indicates a brilliant combination of conscious and unconscious creativity. This is shown on the card by water flowing onto the ground and into the pool. On a practical level, it indicates that you feel energized emotionally and physically, ready to mak e 8 Hmmm. The obstacles are behind me? No more allow this. They shake their heads
44 ition of the card is an obstacle in your path. This suggests the collective, as if we have been tapping into this force all of our lives and intuitively k now the process of directing and interpreting this energy They all agree. We must read the reversed meaning. Reversed Meaning: reversed can also mean living entirely in a dr eam world with unrealistic expectations that get you nowhere. Equally, this card can advise you to watch out 9 A turning away. Creative blocks. Unrealistic expectation s. Nowhere. This is where I am. I am living in a creative block. I have unrealistic expectations of myself and this process. I am spinning my wheels in a motionless race. I am surrounded by peers who appear to be reaching for the stars, surpassing me; over shadowing me in their quest for success. This is where I am We look at each other and take deep breaths. The final card: the outcome. Will it now fall apart and leave us disenchanted? Will the spell be broken? Will it all be meaningless? Sapph touches t he final card. It ends this journey. It is the only reversed card in the series. We know it must be meaningful. Card IX, The Hermit (Key w ords: i nner knowledge, separation, perspective, individualism) We exhale.
45 ermit appears bereft and outcast. Yet his lamp illuminates his path so that although he has chosen to be separate, he can see clearly the road ahead. The Hermit is numbered IX and, like The Fool, is embarking on a quest, but for the Hermit the traveling is 10 Reversed Meaning: you know have been partly created by your own attitude. Resist the temptation to display anger and resentment, and look for meaningful solutions rather than 11 The quest. I am living on the edge of change.
46 INTERLUDE God I ncidence Field Notes: August 18, 2007 The sun is relentless. Rick and I ease our way towards the little bit of cover offered by the textile display ten t to the left of the Judean Village stage. The Judean dozen rough hewn wooden benches are nestled in the pale sand offering seating for the audience, but no respite f rom the August heat. We are here to see the Ministry of Jesus a performance I have yet to witness in its entirety. Besides the crucifixion, this is the only other performance that features Jesus. We stand close together, trying to make room for the other over heated bodies vying for even a scrap of the shade. Two women stand next to us, close enough that we bump elbows. then back Cora and Alita are red faced and glistening with perspiration. Alita looks exhausted, but Cora fidgets, a bundle of energy and anticipation. She bubbles over. the benches. Cora is petite, somewhere between four and five feet tall. She reminds me of my grandma Demorest, all white hair and fragile skin. At eighty two years of age, Cora is any of those benches over here? Here, in this Alita, sixty one, is far more subdued. Her blotchy red skin attests to her unfamiliarity with the harsh climate. Noticing their pale skin, so easily sunburned, I figure Cora and Alita ar e from the north. I ask.
47 Ricks agrees and they make their way to one of the seats situated on the outskirts of the audience. time here ? determined that I should have what for all intents and purposes looks like a staff identification badge so that I can pass security without hassle and park in the staff parking lot. I am supposed to wear it when at the site, but have felt self conscious doing working on a research project about the Holy Land. The administration gave me this consciously begin to remove the badge from my shirt. and I try to regain her attention. her face softens Alita and Rick return em pty handed after being chided by a park attendant.
48 wants to do what you do! Tell her what you do something about being a cl own and working in her church. do, conversation. She keeps eyeing the benches. Her physical discomfort seems to be increasing. project. She motions for me to tell Alita my spiel. r my two minute synopsis. Her focus immediately returns to a futile attempt at battling the heat with her make shift pamphlet fan. I look at m y She looks at me as she begins to vi indicating her casual outfit. eyelet shirt and her simple white shorts. to use my Jesus is walking towards us and our conversation ends. She grabs Alita and pushes her forward into the sun and closer to the stage. As more people crowd the stage to hear Jesus speak, I lose sight of the women. I forgot to have them sign the IRB release forms! When the presentation ends, I scan the waning c bright blue tropical shirt. They had moved the short distance from the Judean Village theatre to the Tomb, where the khaki clad, clean cut HLE version of Indiana Jones is ready to start his Garden Tomb presentation. Cora and Al ita stand without the benefit of
49 shade at the front of the slowly amassing audience. I want to take notes about our encounter, so Rick and I stay in our sheltered location. When the fifteen minute presentation ends, the audience dutifully files down into the Tomb. Cora and Alita are among them. Rick and I weav e our way through the lethargic crowd and manage to catch up with the women. She grins and grabs the pen, quickly scr atching her name onto the paper and picking up our conversation where we left off. possible, but Cora seems to be even more energized. Alita, in comparison, appears ready to faint. We show Alita where Behold the Lamb is listed on the daily agenda. called Behold the Lamb know if Alita looks exhausted and red, but Cora is animated and healthy. As we talk to Alita for a minute, Cora goes into the Tomb. Moments later she emerges with two young people. Zan dra and Ballmer are twenty something newlyweds from Mississippi finishing their week long honeymoon. Zandra has a large pile of mission tracts in her hand and gives one to Cora explaining they are in Spanish, but the address of their church is on the back. Cora smiles and bursts into a stream of Spanish conversation. in Spanish. Alita turns her attention question. Alita chuckles uneasily and says, Are you .
50 As she searches for appropriate words, the pause becomes awkward. placed been immersed in an env ironment where people converse in this vernacular. I am a bit lost. Rick stopped listening ages ago. I see the blank stare spread from his eyes to the rest Rick and I, too, step into the circle. with such confidence and comm and of the language of prayer. I cannot keep up with the many requests for blessings. We break apart, our sweaty hands dropping once again to ou r sides, the brief physical and visceral connection severed. I am overwhelmed by the moment the event an electric sensation, dizzy with the strangeness of the connection. I felt outside of myself. Not transcendent, really. Not spiritually fulfilled. Rather, like I had become permeable. I could not feel where I stopped and they began, where I stopped and the HLE began. The borders of my body, of my being, became fuzzy. My a wareness of myself as takes an other picture for Zandra. Later, I lament my bedazzled state and the missed opportunity to have Alita take a picture with our camera. I would have liked to have had a
51 picture of the people with whom I participated in this moment of spontaneous community, t his occasion of communitas. I believe Cora is extolling the wonderful nature of the HLE as a space that welcomes believers, and pitying non believers that choose not to share this opportunity for communion. Still recovering from the shared moment of prayer, I can barely keep up with the conversation. I think that Zandra is expressing how lucky we were to meet one another in this place and to share this event. Cora laughs, blessed God has blessed us to garner appreciation. beams back. This strange reference to ownership anchors me fully in the pre sent, the hangover from the prayer circle now gone. I turn to Rick and raise pale and disgruntled. He tells me later how ostracized he felt during the entire escapade. The language was exclusive an able to glean the meaning, especially the implications concerning non believers prayer circle the way I did as spontaneous connection, a performance of inclusion, as communitas. Instead, he felt unwelcome, excluded. Where my boundaries blurred, his became precisely defined. Turning my attention back to the little group of quick friends, I realize Zandra and Bell mer are saying their farewells. As they walk away, I thank Alita and Cora for participating in my research and wish them a safe journey home.
52 CHAPTER 2 I TELL YOU THE TRUTH: MUSEUM STATUS AND THE EDUCATIONAL IMPERATIVE stands center stage illuminated by a spotlight that trails his pacing form. Mabry, like all archeological gear. Because we are inside the Shofar auditorium, Mabry has removed the half of the people seated in the darkened, partially full theatre raise their hands. t here are a lot We laugh at his feigned seriousness. The crowd quiets. He gleams I poke Rick in the side and glance at him knowingly. Mabry fails to mention that his cre intellectual. I wink at Rick, and he nods his head.
53 thinking, non not an amusement park, a non I want you to think Because what I would like to do is propose to you a theory about Hanukkah and Christmas. But in order to tell you how that t heory fits together, I have to tell you about the festival or the feast of take a breath and assess the interest of the crowd, to make sure that we follow his argument. He has our attention. because I like honest people how many of you do chuckles while he strolls the stage, hands clasped behind his back. Trul y, he looks like my high school history teacher walking the isles between our desks, checking for cheaters. Ah, he finds one! man sitting in an aisle seat near the fron t. The woman with him reluctantly raises her hand, too, and tentatively smiles. honesty implicated. App The audience bursts into applause.
54 An Educational Imperative Walter Mabry is passionate about the educational imperative of the Holy Land Experience and believ es it is ne cessary to school the audience by distinguishing the HLE from other Orlando attractions and theme parks. Why is Mabry so adamant? Why does he take the seriousness of the HLE so seriously? Because the HLE is a fascinating hybrid form of attractio n, melding characteristics associated with museums, theme parks, and religious institutions. Its hybrid constitution leads to an ambiguous institutional identity. Traditional typologies of tourism, religious practice, and popular pedagogy are not sufficien t when isolated from one another to understanding and analyzing the HLE. Yet attempts have been made by government officials to fit the HLE into a fixed identity category. My primary concern in this chapter will be to underscore the importance of the publi c debates about the identity of the Holy Land Experience through an analysis of the nonprofit status. Orange County officials attempted to define the HLE as an entertainment, a theme park. The HLE defines itself as educational, a museum. What certain state officials refused to concede is that entertainment and education are not and have never been mutually exclusive in popular culture. Edutainment, a contemporary term often used to refer to forms of performance and display that m erge the functions of education with amusement, is not a new phenomenon. The HLE can be understood as an edutainment venue both museum and amusement park and is closely related to its historical antecedents, including the Chautauqua Institute, the Jerusale American museums which employed spectacle and theatricality to elicit patronage. The HLE also has much in common with contemporary museum exhibits whose legitimacy has not been questioned even though the curators employ edutainment techniques similar, and sometimes identical, to the techniques for which the HLE receives criticism and skepticism. I argue that the HLE is subject to these critiques because of its stated purpose: to witness. I end this chapt er with a discussion as to why I side with HLE administrators who successfully argued the site should be designated as a museum and hypothesize about the
55 implications this identity crisis had and continues to pose for visitors experiencing the site. Ide ntity Crisis At the center of the controversies over the creation and presence of the Holy Land 1 Donegan is the Orange County Propert y Appraiser exempt status. The HLE is now classified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, a distinction entitling the HLE to nonprofit organization status reserved for public charit ies, certain private foundations, and private operating foundations dedicated to educational, religious, or scientific purposes. 2 Donegan argued the HLE is more closely aligned to a for profit business model ry well done, thought out religious theme 3 Dan Hayden, Executive Director of looks like a theme park and smell 4 Liberty Counsel, 5 a nonprofit law organization nationally recognized and Evangelism Fellowship, Dr. Jerr y Falwell and the Christian Educators Association nonprofit status. Liberty ministry. Everything it does is 6 Four years of litigation resulted in a 2005 ruling by Circuit Court Judge Cynthia entitled to the same tax exempt status e 7 Judge any evidence that Plaintiff is using the Holy Land Experience to make money or for some other purpose than evangelizing and wors 8
56 Bus 9 County Property Appraiser Donegan argued that the profit orientation of the HLE is in part based on admission fees which were initia lly under $20 per person, but are now $35 for adults and $20 for children ages 6 to 12. Judge MacKinnon countered that many nvinced that it serves a religious purpose like 10 Frustrated Sen. Dan Webster (R Winter Garden) attempted to curtail the de bate by speaking to the press about the five year court making. It is used for religious purposes. 11 re introduced two bills, SB 2676 12 and HB 7183, 13 offering state tax exemptions to any Biblical Biblical history & Biblical wor 14 The first of the bills, HB 7183, signed by Governor Jeb Bush on June 9, 2006, and Biblical manuscripts, codices, stone tablets or other Biblical for property tax exemption. 15 the umbrella of this bill. 16 As it now stands, the HLE is the only Florid a property eligible HLE. 17 reports, the HLE garnered 8.7 million in total revenues, but 9.2 million in total expenditures. 18 expenses and overhead. He likened these contributions to chur ch tithes. 19 Even with the
57 contributions of patrons, if the HLE had been forced to pay back five years worth of federal income taxes, which amounted to $786,000, combined with yearly property taxes estimated at $215,000, the site would have been forced to c lose. 20 viability and long term survival depends on its continued ability to prove its institutional identity as a nonprofit organization. To What Purpose? This argument over identity has very practical, material ramifications, not the least of which is the financial viability of the site. I ssues that emerge in this public discourse center around ontological and epistemological questions. What is religion? What is ministry? What does it mean to worship? What does it mean to educate? Wha t constitutes knowledge? What does a church look like or feel like? What is the purpose of religious theme park, not a religious entity. What does the Holy Land provide? Goliath 21 Questions about what the HLE provides to visitors also plagued founder Marv sturbed Rosenthal and he parted from the HLE after disagreements about the identity of the park. Rosenthal was dedicated to a vision of the HLE as a ministry and was ideologically opposed to marketing the site as a leisure attraction. As the HLE was in th e process of winning public and legal recognition as a religious and educational facility, Rosenthal was packing his bags because he believed the HLE was losing its quintessential identity as a ministry. But what is a ministry? According to the Oxford Engl ish Reference Dictionary a ministry is a government office (Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Tourism) or a religious office (pastor, priest). 22 A ministry is a tool for ministering, which is defined as and secular, church and state are conflated. Denotatively, there are no restrictions on how ministering is accomplished or what is ministered.
58 includes witnessing, spreading the word of God; it is a sacred, not secular, activity. Though Rosenthal was obviously willing to blur the sacred/secular binary when designing the HLE, he values the distinction when it comes to the purpose of the site. The purpose, according to Rosenthal, must be sacred, which includes ministry and not marketing. The double bind is that to be a successful ministry, at least in the situation of the HLE, successful marketing campaigns are necessary. Successful marketing campai gns appeal to the largest possible audience. The board of directors understood this balance and recruited new members to the management team, individuals like Bob Montgomery who had experience working on the board of directors of theme parks. This new mana gement team immediately identified the absence of marketing as the key issue Herein lies the rub, at least for Rosenthal. Scripture dictates that Christians must not act or interpretation of Christian doctrine allows him to embrace certain contemporary and popular technologies to achieve his purpose: winning souls to Christ. But his purpose cannot be compromi sed by worldly desire for money and wealth. Christians must sacrifice as Jesus sacrificed. I can recall hearing in my childhood that it is more difficult for a rich man to get into heaven than it is to lead a camel through the eye of a needle. 23 For Rosenth al, the boundaries between sacred and secular are fluid in terms of mode, but must be acknowledged and maintained in regards to purpose. Ministry must have a sacred directive. c riteria for how ministering should be accomplished. The board of directors believed that savvy business management was necessary to sustain the ministry and so implemented marketing strategies influenced by other secular attractions. Condemning its mode, D onegan attempted to classify the HLE as an amusement more akin to secular entertainments such as Disney. Rosenthal appears to have sided with Donegan to some degree, leaving the HLE in part because he believed it was becoming too focused on
59 marketing. Howe ver, in each case the criteria as to what can count as ministry and the subsequent boundaries these individuals attempted to create were tenuous at best. claims hinge on the fac formulation commercial businesses cannot be religious entities. Businesses are places of trade and work, whereas religious entities (like churches) are spaces of what? Donegan 24 In fact, his other th e purpose of the site. 25 ambiguous nature of the HLE. It is uncategorizable, not fitting neatly into preconceived typologies. This ambiguity troubles the seemingly clear, bounded categories recoginized b y the law. between pilgrimage s traditionally understood as sacred travel and religious touris m a form of mass travel to sacred places (see Chapter 4 for further discussion) T he distinctions are ultimately about preserving the categories of sacred and secular, which reaffirm hierarchies associated with elite/popular (travel/tourism) and work/leisure (righteous/hedonistic). By classifying the HLE as a business that is part of a commercial realm, Donegan associates the HLE with work and labor, with the economy, a matter of everyday life distant from the sacred. And yet by declaring it a theme park, he locates the HLE within the realm of leisure and tourism, opposed to the legitima te, righteous the HLE is that these existing categories which attempt to function autonomously do not make sense for sites like the HLE. Nonetheless, the struggles and neg otiations that result from attempting to fit this square peg into a round hole offer moments of insight into what individuals (and societies) value and how we make meaning. identity is that secular authority conferred upon the HLE sacred status. 26 Judge
60 ministry and s ecular amusement based on profit and, as a result, what happens to the education] and worshippin generates money that determines its designation, rather where that money goes to what purpose In essence, MacKinnon and the law agree with Rosenthal and Donegan in that purpose is the key to ide ntity. Museums and the Educational Imperative Park lecturer Walter Mabry knows his purpose. He takes it as his responsibility to teach visitors the difference between the Holy Land Experience and other Orlando amusement parks. The HLE, he insists, is a provide information, the obvious directive of lecturers, but also to inspire us to want to is ministry (education) by any means necessary. In the contemporary United States, education and entertainment are often locked in a tandem co dependency each needing the other to stay relevant and attract an audience ; a fact that the HLE utilizes. The HLE clearly defines its purpose in promotional materials: inspiration and through immersive experiences. 27 As evidenced in these promotional materials, the HLE is rhetorically constructed as a living Biblical museum. It is no insignificant matter that the HLE chooses to define itself as a museu m. Museums accrue significant cultural capital. They are understood as repositories of important objects, communicators of mise to safeguard the aura of the original 28 The Oxford English Dictionary ( OED ) confirms the vernacular use
61 29 The OE D 30 31 It is a temple of and for learning. In this original manifestation, distinctions between museums as secular or sacred spaces did not exist Museums continued to be associated with what we now identify as sacred places. Collections of art, antiquities, and objects cons idered natural curiosities were often owned by religious institutions and displayed together in medieval churches in England prior to the Protestant Reformation. 32 Religious institutions provided a set of rules and procedures for maintaining systems of know ledge power, as well as the authority of the 33 Of religious imaginations, inspire awe an small monetary offering . 34 Protestant Reformers found this practice too similar to idolatry and condemned the offering as a form of commerce, then set about purging churches of thes e objects. Few items managed to escape outright destruction, but those that did ended up in secular domains in England. T he Tower of London provided refuge for some of these objects and eventually national collection. 35 Public exhibits of cultural artifacts such as art and antiquities date to Renaissance Europe. 36 These collections were typically privately owned and were toured by a small number of visitors ranking among the socially elite. The shift in audience from elites to a general pub lic occurred as collections, cultural displays, and museums became tools to and royalty, and later to encourage national cohesion and the construction of public iden tity as citizens in both Europe and the United States. 37 Museum conventions as we know them today emerged in relation to other were intended to showcase the most sc ientifically innovative and mechanically stunning
62 creations from around oriented exhibits meant to bolster national pride by illustrating the history of a nation, its indigenous peoples and art was the first International E xhibition. In the nineteenth century, International Exhibitions became quite popular modes of promoting nationalism, imperialism, and progress narratives. These exposition 38 Victorian era expos promoted cohesion and community among members of the progress continuum which po beginning. Cultural studies scholar Bella Dicks believes that these events crowd. 39 Expositions wer e far more appealing (and geared) to mass visitor ship than were museums. Early twentieth century museums embraced their specificity and elitist particularity, refusing to interpret culture for laymen visitors; objects spoke for themselves and it was the s were open to the general public and purportedly existed for public service and education, museums were closely associated with the well late twentieth c entury (around the 1980s) that a shift occurred in the directives, functions, and structures of museums as a consequence of the burgeoning financial need to actively seek out a mass audience. 40 How is the concept of museum employed today? Wikipedia, a refe rence source development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, c ommunicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment, for the purposes of education study, and enjoyment 41 nonprofit 42 establishing the criteria of nonprofit Wikipedia allows for a broader understanding of
63 this type of institution. Museums can be governmental, non governmental, nonprofit or privately or family owned. This broader interpretation is more historically accurate. Museums as we know them today are rooted in the phenomena of privately owned collections of art, artifacts, and curiosities (often referred to as cabinets of curiosities or curio cabinets) popular as early as the sixteenth century. hinges on commercialism. Again, the designation boils down to purported purpose. ICOM suggests that organizations whose purpose is to make a profit are not legitimate ms be nonprofit and County Property as judgments of authenticity, where a for profit purpose is positioned as secular capitalism and therefore does not have an auth entic connection to the sacred A nonprofit purpose, in contrast, is understood as authentic and genuine, sacred because nonprofit discussion of authenticity as absent in modern capit commodified consumer society itself which produces the desire for its own 43 Implicit in this statement is the assumption that inauthenticity me ans capitalism, commodification, and consumerism; in other words, profit. Following this logic museums and religious entities cannot be authentic if they participate in the market economy. As Donegan accused, they would be closer to a theme park. Theme P arks What, then, are the differences between theme parks and museums in the contemporary United States? In Culture on Display: The Production of Contemporary Visitability Dicks sketch es out some distinctions located in modes of cultural display, such as recreate reality . but to create a believable, yet fictional, dream 44 Her distinctions implicate purpose. Though not overtly stated, Dicks suggests that the purpose of theme parks hinges on commercialism and capitalism. Theme parks, argues Dicks, are
64 of the HLE, Trinity Broadcasting Network. 45 The similarities between the HLE and theme parks are striking. Theme parks collapse space and time in order to present an uninterrupted narrative devised around a particular theme. Whereas actual travel through I HLE presents a condensed version which includes only noteworthy landmarks and mran Caves). 46 Though the theme of the HLE appears to be Biblical Jerusalem, the HLE also includes events from other times, such as the Exodus from Egypt and the journey through time offered in the Scriptorium. While the theme would at first appear to be Bi blical Jerusalem, i t is in fact more accurately identified as the story of Salvation by Grace (which I discuss at length in Chapter 4) of which Jerusalem is only one setting. J ust because the HLE is themed, does not make it a theme park. As Dicks notes, i n the contemporary world many (if not most) environments that involve consumption 47 They focus on experiential authenticity rather than sociohistorical accuracy. Authenticity in 48 In an important analytical move, Dicks asserts that visitors are active agents in the me p ark performance s 49 I do not believe visitors are looking for actual Biblical Jerusalem, nor is the HLE attempting to fool visitors int o believing they have actually been transported through space and time. Instead, the HLE and visitors work together to generate meaningful experiences (now) inside of a simulation (then). This f 50 These are the gh
65 the Jerusalem City Gate, you will travel back in time to an ancient land that is 2,000 years 51 Like the marketing literature 52 multi sensory technologies that emphasize bodily experience. However, unlike the majority of conventional theme parks, the HLE does not have roller coasters or rides. known cultural iconography or places, as well as swathes of shops and themed 53 All of these elements can be found at the HLE. Disney, too, attempts to deemphasize the importance of roller coasters in their philosophy, a statement that comes very close to that of the HLE. Disney steers clear of configurations of rides that might resemble a county fair or carnival. Instead, they . is presented through architecture, landscaping, costuming, music, live entertainment, attracti ons, merchandise 54 The HLE is organized in much the same way, offering visitors el. 55 The metaphors of journey and discovery employed by theme parks such as Disney 56 57 The HLE is an excellent example of a contemporary site that confounds the boundaries between theme park and museum. As I have demonstrate d, there are strong similarities between the structure of the HLE and theme parks, but the site can also be understood as structurally similar to museums. T he material distinctions between museums and theme parks have dissipated, if they ever actually exis ted. In the next section, I discuss precursors to the HLE that also challenged distinctions between spaces of education and entertainment.
66 Precursors to the HLE The HLE is not the first site to confound these boundaries. Historical examples of parks sim entertainment, education, and religion have ever been mutually exclusive in American popular cul ture and as such are important precursors to the HLE The Chautauqua Institute (originally referred to as the Chautauqua Assembly) in western New York was host to one of the first incarnations of an imagined, three d imensional Holy Land in the United States. 58 The Institute was founded by John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller, both Methodists, the former a minister. Like many of the economically privileged travelers of the mid nineteenth century, Vincent traveled to Ottom an Palestine to physically and spiritually engage the land of Biblical history. He returned to the U.S. with an almost obsessive interest in the geography of the sacrosanct land and an indomitable desire to teach the history of the Bible through tangible a nd interactive experience of that land. His answer to the predominant inaccessibility of the River. ce ntury Americans, who invested importance in the natural environment as the vision and handiwork of God. Travelers, on the heals of Manifest Destiny, 59 sought communion with God in the divine spaces of the sublime. It was a natural extension to understand th e soil of Palestine as possessing the spirit of the Bible, and thus the presence of God. 60 He craved and promoted communion with the l and as a means of deepening understanding of the Bible and practicing religion. Because the actual Americans were not able or did not desire to make the journey. 61
67 to a livin g geography of ancient Jerusalem prompted the construction of a surrogate. Here, it is important to note that though Vincent visited contemporary Palestine, he chose to represent an imagined, ancient version. This space was then a fantasy enabled reality o notes and documentation of the minutia of the actual Palestine lent legitimacy to and authenticated (through claims to material accuracy) this imaginative interpreta tion. Thus, this space was also a museum. His purpose was religiously inspired, but his methods were solidly grounded in empiricism and observation, which eventually would be classifiable as ethnographic methods characteristic of the emerging discipline of anthropology. Vincent experienced Palestine through the lens of Biblical history. When he returned to the States, he constructed the Chautauqua Institute through this same lens. The Chautauqua Institute was originally a school of sorts, designed for ad ult education in the study of Christianity. The intention was to provide an intellectually stimulating alternative to increasingly secularized post secondary institutions and to prepare religiously minded folks to witness and teach the word of God. The Cha utauqua Institute functioned as an edutainment complex. Vincent teamed with Lewis Miller, an curriculum for the Methodist Episcopal Church and also desired to connect individua ls with a natural landscape. As such, it was important to the duo to locate their educational camp in a pristine and sublime environment. Vincent and Miller were concerned with making clear distinctions between their project and the popular and spectacula r camp revivals characteristic of the post Civil War era. They wanted to avoid speculation that the Chautauqua Institute was guilty of frivolity read: entertainment. Participants were expected to endure discomfort and primitive camping conditions as a test ament to their desire to learn and dedication to cultivat ing their spirituality. When the Institute opened in 1874, teachers began their to use the latest technology in the ir classrooms. Again, the Institute rhetorically by emphasizing technologies such as lantern slides and stereographs. 62 These
68 technologies were also popular as parlor en eventual association with leisure tourism. Entertainment aspects of the site were developed as the Institute became nationally renowned and attracted more participants. Students and alumni of the Institute, affe Biblical 63 These tours were initially facilitated by William Henry Perrine, a Methodist minister, Palestine scholar, and professor at Albi on College. 64 He painted giant panoramic landscapes of how he imagined Biblical auditorium. Perrine would often stand in front of his creation and lead an audience through a fantasy tour as he narrated their imagined movement through this 65 textual memory and religio 66 In 1875, the Institute added dramatic enactments of Biblical stories, including Biblical f Biblical 67 These interpretations often appropriated Jewish ritual and history as a means of demonstrating the fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament. Reverend J. S. as he stood in front of a model of the Wilderness Tabernacle and delivered lectures. 68 This development that the site made Biblical history come alive. Now, these pres entations literally embodied what were initially textual and psychical imaginations of the scripture. Institute leader W. W. Wythe oversaw the construction of models of landmarks. He designed replicas of Palestine and Jerusalem to scale in 1874, includin River, the Sea of Galilee . 69 The Tabernacle and the Egyptian pyramids followed. As the site increased the number of dramatic presentations, guided tours, costumed performers, and available souvenirs, it bec ame a tourist destination for families. With this shift from somber educational facility to
69 dynamic entertainment complex, questions of intentionality of purpose began to surface. What function was the site now serving? How were visitors using the space? W hy were they coming? Vincent remained confident that the site was serving its original purpose of education and affirmation of Christian beliefs. Indeed, he believed that Palestine Park was an integral tool in combating the increasingly popular discourse that questioned the literality of the scriptures, which he believed was weakening Christian faith in the Bible. . 70 The land of Palestine was conflated with the imagined reality of Palestine Park. As Long d promotion of surrogate pilgrimage could 71 Palestine Park immersed visitors in synaesthetic 72 experiences meant to evoke awe, reverence, and renewed faith, to facilitate a connection between the words of the Bible and lived experiences of its heroes. The models offered guests the opportunity to reclaim their Christian homeland by walking the streets and visually consuming the landscape through a panoptical gaze. They could touch the ot herwise intangible history of their faith and purchase souvenirs that would testify to their physical and spiritual journey. The Park collapsed the transcendental divide between God and humans, creating 73 Palestine Park freed Jesus from the two and return to humanity. 74 The Chautauqua Inst itute inspired an elocutionary movement at the turn of the 75 It functioned as a stage for uplifting and educational performanc and avoid the growing availability of idle pastimes, such as drinking, gambling, dancing and theatre 76 It also
70 established a pre cedent for interactive, immersive exhibits like the New Jerusalem 77 The Jerusalem exhib 78 The reproduction was built on twelve acres occupying a boasted replicas of the Jaffa Gate, Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Christ was crucified and entombed, the Dome of the Rock (or Mosque of Omar), the Via Dolorosa with nine Stations of the Cross, t he Garden of Gethsemane (where Jesus was betrayed by Judas), and the Temple of Solomon. The argument to include the Jerusalem exhibit in the planning and structure of the Fair was simple. Christian rhetoric was intrinsically tied to nationhood in the earl y twentieth century United States, thus references to God already saturated the exposition. 79 Ideologically, the Jerusalem exhibit and its Protestant imperialist underpinnings fit well with the philosophy of the exposition: to celebrate the American pr ogress narrative, which included the divine imperative of territorial expansion, Manifest Destiny. Not without significance, the Jerusalem exhibit was also marketable to Fair coordinators because it served another function. Social and humanistic sciences were developing popular appeal in this era, building on an already established history of cultural displays in previous International Expositions. Supporters of the Jerusalem cal and ethnographic elements into the mix of education and entertainment. The Jerusalem exhibit was structurally similar to (though supposedly conceptually distant from) secular attractions like Mysterious Asia and National Exhibits from around the world. They were
71 all built environments modeling distant geographies, offering visitors a chance to see and experience the life ways of other cultures. International travel was an economic and logistical challenge for the middle and lower classes of American appealed to visitors who were interested in other cultures, but not willing or able to travel overseas. In a speech delivered at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jerusalem exhibit, Madame Lydia of Biblical 80 To this could be added the belief that from American energ y all things are better. The Jerusalem exhibit was advertised as 81 Whereas travelers to the actual Jerusalem would be distracted and possibly mislead by ides (non Christian inhabitants of Palestine who were paid to lead tours exhibit would be lead by highly educated guides, such as Madame Mountford. 82 These 83 Maintaining its moral and educational imperative was more difficult than the characterized large expositions. 84 This amorality was embodied in the Pike, a mile long titillate visitors. 85 Unfortunately for New Jerusalem and its advocates, Fair management classified and advertised New Jerusalem as a part of the Pike. Geographically though, the exhibit was located not on amusement mile, but near the Fine Arts building. Being neither a Pike concession nor a major exhibit (such as the Hall of Electricity), New Jerusalem retained an aura of ambiguity. This literal, logistical ambigui ty worked to cultivate conceptual ambiguity. Madame Mountford, director of exhibits and displays, and Dr. William Beverly Palmore,
72 president of the Jerusalem Exhibit Advisory Board, actively promoted New Jerusalem as in other sections of the Fair. 86 Yet in New Jerusalem visitors could pay for camel rides or have their fortunes told, talk to costumed the Cyclorama of the Crucifixion. 87 Vendors hocked souvenirs and individuals such as Reverend David Heagle were contracted to give illustrated lectures promoted as 88 As a means of securing their legitimacy, site creators aimed for authenticity; they attempted to achieve historical accuracy as well as embodied, experiential knowledge. world of Jesus. 89 Executives and planners drew upon the most renowned Biblical scholarship of the time to determine construction specifications and techniques. Around one thousand people were brought from the Middle East to work the exhibit and create many of the cultural souvenirs. Popular Bible experts and authors like James Wideman Lee, who had participated at Chautauqua in the 1880s, were solicited to become members of the executive board and lend cultural capital to the production. Madame Mountford, too, brought considerable cultural weight to the project. Like Lee, Mountford had also been asso ciated with Chautauqua, and her high profile as a Biblical performer lent credence to the accuracy of New Jerusalem, as well as contributing to experiential authenticity through her performances. Though clearly associated with the theatrical (theatre was a suspect institution in her era), Mountford was revered for her performances of Biblical drama, admired for her elocutionary skills, and acknowledged as an expert on 90 Experiential authenticity in New Jerusalem was ach ieved through multi standards) technology. Visitors became part of the performance walking through the dirty shofar riding a camel, and touch All of the promotion, design savvy, and moralistic grounding were not enough to sustain New Jerusalem in the actuality of everyday events. The site received bad publicity on time, employees were injured and killed in
73 various internal skirmishes during construction, fire caused expensive damages, revenues were low, performers resigned and creditors came knocking. 91 A new management team took over right before the Fair opened and the transition strained the relationship with Madame Mountford. When she, too, eventually resigned, she cited financial troubles. 92 However, in a more revealing tirade published in her autobiography (1908), she accused management of turning the moral an 93 They had profaned the sacred by succumbing to morally empty theatricality and base entertainments. It is not clear how (or if) the production changed as a result of new management. What is clear is that Mountford was able to invoke the sacred/profane dichotomy when she found it useful. It gave her a morally righteous reason to participate in the endeavor and then to ab andon the production (rather than citing unpaid wages or the possibility of tarnishing her reputation). Because of its context as an exhibit in the understood as walking th e fine (imaginary) line between sacred ministry and secular 94 Similarities to the HLE While other, smaller sites emerged over the course of the twentieth century, none rivaled the size or complexity of Chautauqua or New Jerusalem until the creation of the Holy Land Experience. 95 Both the Chautauqua Institute and New Jerusalem share important commonalities with the Ho ly Land Experience. These commonalities suggest the solubility of the sacred/secular binary. They also illustrate that education and entertainment have not been mutually exclusive in American exhibitions of knowledge and the knowledge industry. A rguments r evolving around the debasement of museums through edutainment, and the contemporary phenomenon of edutainment itself, ignore historical traditions that have long collapsed education, performance, and spectacle. Claims to education are paramount to Chautau qua, New Jerusalem, and the Holy Land Experience. The Chautauqua Institute was actually founded as an educational and
74 training facility for Sunday school teachers and grew into the service of public education. New Jerusalem was advertised as an educational of nations around the world. The HLE is fashioned as a space to educate visitors about the life of Jesus and the history of the Bibl e. The statement of educational goals aligns these sites with other institutions of knowledge production and dissemination, investing the se sites with cultural capital and legitimacy. An educational imperative is socially responsible and morally righteous, thus necessary for any institution that desires to be taken seriously while playing in the interstices between the sacred and secular or profane; to challenge the socially constructed binary of what constitutes religion and not religion without risking so cial ostracization. C laims that these sites function as surrogates to the actual Jerusalem s erv e the educational imperative These sites democratiz e access to the Holy City by offering an alternative to international travel, enabling individuals otherw ise suffering physical or 96 Chautauqua, New Jerusalem, and the HLE all emphasize the importance of experiencing the land and geography of Jerusalem firsthand. For the founde knowledge of the topography of Palestine was basic to Christian morals, if not 97 The ability to walk in the path of Jesus, to retrace His steps along the Via Dolorosa, would establish a tangible connection between Chri stians and their disembodied faith. According to the HLE, experiencing the land will help visitors understand how Biblical 98 Jerusalem as a geographical and imagined place is integral to Christian id entity. In order to create an effective and affective surrogate Jerusalem, Chautauqua, New Jerusalem, and the HLE all embraced and utilized innovative technologies to create spectacles. Spectacles are visual events produced using mass media technologies f or the The Society of the Spectacle offers a power comprised of the mass media, capitalism, and governments. 99 Debord unders tands spectacle as a mode of colonization and repression where the spectacle becomes the
75 means by which people interact. 100 his belief that spectacles engender passivity in viewers, that they make otherw ise active theory are useful to understanding the use of spectacle at Chautauqua, New Jerusalem, and the HLE, in particular his description of spectacle as a system of u se rather than a collection of images. Spectacles are events coordinated by motivated groups of people to achieve definite purposes. The purposes of Chautauqua were educational. The Institute insisted that teachers in training learn how to use the latest t echnology, such as pedagogy. 101 The spectacles created by Chautauqua did not, however, engender passivity. Instead, images were used to create immersion experiences th at stimulated thought, imagination, and missionary action in spectators. Immersion technologies at Chautauqua Biblical Palestine accompanied by manipulation of lighting to create a sentimental aura. 102 N ew Jerusalem also used panoramic paintings via the Cyclorama of the Crucifixion, which surrounded visitors with life size images and wax figures, immersing them in the death of Jesus. 103 The HLE, of course, has far more complex and stunning technologies at t heir disposal. Like its Scriptorium. Rather than wax figures, the HLE presents an animatronic John Wycliffe. Lighting manipulation is a key technique used to guide visitors f rom station to station in the Scriptorium and to evoke awe in the Wilderness Tabernacle presentation. The HLE also capitalizes on sound technologies to pipe music through the park. Like Chautauqua and New Jerusalem, the HLE depends heavily on spectacle to the space. Spectacle also includes moving images, like film and live perfo rmances. In all three locations the HLE, New Jerusalem, and Chautauqua a great emphasis is placed on the embodiment of the Bible through performance: bringing the Bible alive. Biblical costume . [and] participating in staged performances of Biblical 104
76 guides would lead visitors through a display meant to be interch angeable with the actual site specific props and accoutrements such as camels and souvenirs imported from Jerusalem l dramas and the p hysically engage the lead actor of both the Christian nar rative and the HLE. 105 Visitors are compelled to short in its relevance to the actual practices of spectator s: spectatorship is not passive. It is interactive. While the spectacle may seem to be aesthetically distanced from the spectator, in practice the spectacle imaginatively and psychologically (if not physically) engages the spectator. This interaction is vi sible in the use of live performances at Chautauqua, New Jerusalem, and the HLE to incite active engagement with spectators. It is also the presence of these performances and their employment of theatricality that tested the perceived moral rectitude o f the early sites. Nineteenth and turn of the century American Christians harbored an abiding distrust of what they perceived as the falsity of theatre (an issue I explore in greater detail in Chapter 5). To convince patrons of Chautauqua and New Jerusalem that the performances they were witnessing were morally righteous, Christian, and family friendly meant distancing these Biblical dramas from conventional theatre. Both Chautauqua and New Jerusalem depended heavily upon Madame Mountford to accomplish this goal. Mountford fancied herself a performance ethnographer (my term) whose performance work was pedagogical, educating audiences through reenactments of Biblical events, for which she was particularly qualified to interpret and convey. Mountford built her reputation as a performer and elocutionist on same land that gave Him birth, the same mountains and hills and valleys that greeted His eyes when He was incarnated into this world greeted mine when I was born into this 106 She shares a tangible relationship with Jesus because they were both born from the same terrestrial womb. 107 Mountford makes clear that she speaks with authority
77 derived from this divine relationshi 108 Her performances are thus sanctified. Theatricality has also made the HLE suspect. It is, however, the form which the performance s take that of permanent edutainment facility that creates the suspicion. Passion plays, cantatas, and other types of performance productions have been commonly employed in religious institutions in the twentieth century without casting doubt on the moral righteousness of those institutions. 109 Though these performances typically occur in a distinct venue, they do not occur daily, year after year. As memorials and commemorative events, cantatas and passion plays employ theatricality to mark the occasions of J are entertaining, they are specifically focused on the ritual process of remembrance. Ritual processes of remembrance typically mark special events, events that are somehow noteworthy and distinct from daily life. They are special in that they are not ordinary. The int entionality. The HLE does present seasonal shows such as a Christmas cantata that HLE is locat ed in Orlando and b e a rs similarities to other theme parks, Donegan questions the identity of the HLE as a religious entity, as well as challenges its educational imperative and classification as a museum. Do museums employ techniques similar to those used at the HLE and at theme parks? In the next section I will discuss two contemporary museum exhibits which use entertainment technologies similar to the devices employed at the HLE to display religious objects and incorporate commercialism and capitalism. Ye t these exhibits do not suffer the same criticisms as the HLE. Is this because they are temporary, traveling from location to location as itinerate exhibits? Or is
78 it because these exhibits, while remarkably similar to the HLE, are characterized by one mar ked difference: stated purpose? Contemporary Museum Exhibits with Religious Content Striking similarities exist between the Holy Land Experience in Orlando and Christian These exhibits embrace edutainment philosophies, utilizing cutting edge technologies to create environm ents of display that stimulate multiple senses. Like the HLE, these exhibits collapse the distance between the objects being displayed and the spectators by cultivating narrative landscapes and participatory opportunities. Also like the HLE and its predece ssors, consumption of performances and products, like souvenirs and cuisine are highlighted at these exhibits. Israel Museum in Jerusalem and ran April through July 2006 at the M altz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio. It also appeared at the The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in late 2006 through 2007. Depending on the venue, admission to the exhibit cost between $12 and $15. This exhibit purportedly contain s Biblical ossuaries bearing the Hebrew names of Jesus and members of his f 110 s about aspects of early Jewish life, the concurrent birth of Christianity, and how the two faiths influenced each other by presenting archeological t 111 Another Biblical national tour in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2006. When it arrived in Texas in March 2007, it had been re for adults and $6.95 for children 6 to 13 years. 112 113 It was
79 intended to offer visitors an opportunity to see and be in the presence of objects such as the Isaiah Scroll and the container that held the remains of Simon the Cyrene (who ancient ston es, bones, pots, and mosaics tantalize, teach and thrill; they are often the only 114 For Bucciarelli, the exhibit serves not only a tautological function, but also operates as evidence of the actua lity of Bible stories. T offer proof of Biblical communities influenced each other and to highlight the similarities in their v alues, faith, 115 This statement makes claims to education as well as the cultivation of inter faith relationships. What the exhibit accomplishes is very similar to what the HLE accomplishes in appropriating Jewish culture: the loc ation of Christian Christian and Jewish heritage in Chapter 4). Cary Summers, president of the Way Makers, one of several institutions t s echoes the rationale of Chautauqua announces 116 As Madame visitors to the HLE, some of whom noted their inability or lack of desire to make the expensive and risky international trip. Like the HLE and its predecessors, these museum exhibits offer visitors a way to experience a tangible relationship with objects symbolic of faith without sacrificing saf ety or financial hardship. 117 According to 118
80 119 about their motivational purposes: witnessing and conversion. But this m useum exhibit is ambiguous. What do organizers want visitors to be motivated to do ? Reporter Elizabeth Langton from the Dallas Morning News remarked, the exhibit experience t he Holy Land as it was in Biblical 120 The HLE 121 imaginatively connect visitors with artifacts and Biblical Jerusalem. Bucciarelli notes in her 122 As Bucciarelli listens to the audio narration rge stone The story suddenly pops to life. The girth and depth of the vessels, the image of them brimming with wine even as the party has peaked, becomes a visual ion from sight and sound that makes an old text seem new. 123 Experiential authenticity is achieved through imagination and reproduction, and is Biblical Jerusalem can only ever be an imaginary construct. The curators of tomurals, thematic sets, digital surround sound, the first 3D video shot in Israel, state of the art lighting and narration, combined with a musical score . to help visitors 124 The exhibit also offers children an interactive space where they can hone their archeological skills, an eatery specializing in
81 square 125 In form, the HLE and this museum exhibit are almost identical. Similarly, Buc ciarelli, writing for The Society of Biblical Literature, describes the compact but rich six centuries are spanned in almost six rooms. But while time is compressed, the interplay of artifact, text, and audio creates a three dimensional experience that brings stone and clay to life in an exciting way: the past becomes real. 126 Biblical Jerusalem here, too, is realized through imaginary constructs manifest through technologies of display. The curators of this exhibit conte xtualize the artifacts using : economy as it became a pilgrimage destination, the museum commissioned the recreation of a mosaic map of the Holy Land still on the floor of the sixth century church in Jordan. . A spotlight trained on the mosaic traces the journey. 127 Sandy Mitchell describes the mo th to 6 th century) Byzantine church, complete with marble columns, bronze crosses, a stone chancel server, and piped in Gregorian 128 While they use simila r display technologies, m skepticism and criticisms from government representatives that bombarded the HLE. What, then, is the difference that al lows these types of exhibits to garner broad social acceptance and legitimacy? They are housed in museums, but museums are increasingly influenced by the entertainment industry and classifiable as edutainment. T he form of display how these exhibits take sh ape is strikingly similar to the form of the HLE. Do these exhibits avoid controversy because they are perceived as being more authentic in the sense of historical accuracy? Probably not. Their promises of time travel and exoticism cater just as much to fa ntasy and imagination as does the HLE. Are these
82 museum exhibits free from the corrupting influences of commercialism and capitalism? Not at all. They advertise using marketing strategies characteristic of any other commercial amusement, and museums more o ften than not now house food and beverage outlets, as well as gift shops. So, does it boil down to purpose? The most poignant differences between these museum exhibits and the HLE is stated purpose. The HLE is a facility whose entire premise is based on mi nistry, a specific kind of pedagogy. The museum exhibits discussed in this section set forth a far more ambiguous purpose, that of education. being motivational suggests something beyond general education. What does Summers want visitors to be motivated to do ? Embrace their religious heritage? Immerse themselves in the study of Christian history? Find their faith? What is being left unsaid? Would a clear statement of evangelical pu exhibit to similar controversy and criticisms? I believe so. It is the rhetorical construction of purpose that underpins the distinctions between theme parks, religious institutions (churches), and museums. If t its museum status would be questioned (it would no longer don the cloak of objectivity and thus authenticity ) While blurring the boundaries between entertainment venues, such as theme parks, and educational venues like museums is somewhat controversial, both venues exist within the imagined category of the secular. When religious institutions become intertwine d with museums and theme parks, such as is the case with the HLE, secular and sacred are not only blurred, they are collapsed and, in many respects, become irrelevant. This is a far more controversial move for an organization interested in ministry; one li kely to cause public conflict and criticism, if not outright damnation. Within this framework, planners of an exhibit (temporary or permanent) must carefully consider their answer to this ultimate question, to what purpose ?
83 Conclusion The HLE is a hybri d institution that employs philosophies and display techniques akin to theme parks and museums. Because of its ambiguity and its inability to be easily classified as either an educational, religious, or entertainment form, public debates ensued as to the i dentity of the HLE. These public debates were prompted by government representatives who refused to confer upon the HLE identity as either a museum or a religious entity. County Property Appraiser Donegan insisted that the HLE was a theme park. These debat reconcile religious practice with popular culture entertainment. Entertainment, education, and religion are not and never have been mutually exclusive in American culture. The Chautauqua In offer excellent historical examples of religiously of the alre ady vague distinctions between education and entertainment as modes of presenting (practicing) religion. Establishing clear boundaries between museums and other attractions of cultural display have always proven problematic. Theme parks can look a lot li ke museums and museums can look a lot like theme parks While the current social trend seems to be to invest museums with more cultural capital than theme parks, historically, the two types of day theme nineteenth century exhibitions, which were significantly influenced by cabinets of curiosities and early museum displays. 129 Whether explicitly acknowledged as such, delivering information via entertainment has historically been the re alm of museums. Late nineteenth century Englishman Edward Hingston commented on American museums, wherein there shall be a theatre, some wax figures, a giant and a dwarf or two, a ju mble of pictures, and a few live snakes. In order that there may be some excuse for the use of the word [museum], there is in most instances a collection of stuffed birds, a few preserved animals, and a stock of oddly assorted and very dubitable
84 curiositie s; but the main theatrical performance, the precocious mannikins [sic], or the intellectual dogs and monkeys. 130 was a fascinating mix of commercialism and capitalism, interactive skilled attempts to deceive visitors into believing in the authenticity of an artifact and his overt capitalist im pulses were apparently eliminated from the formalization of museums as public institutions of knowledge, other aspects remained. Commercialism and interactive engagement have become constants in contemporary museology. Contemporary museum s are returning to performance and theatrical displays in part because they are being pushed deeper into the market economy. They are forced to seek out alternative sources of funding and increasingly compelled to compete with other attractions (such as th eme parks) for visitors, their government funding often depending on the number of visitors they host. Obviously, a difference exists between the destinations of monies generated by theme parks and nonprofit museums, but the techniques employed to acquire those monies are very similar. The notable difference between nineteenth century edutainment and today is our seeming preoccupation with actually articulating boundaries. What constitutes a museum? What makes a theme park? When considering the articulatio n of these these spaces are categorized as theme parks or as museums? In the case of the HLE, what was at stake in the legal battle defining the site was nothing less tha n its sustainability. Without nonprofit status the HLE would have had to declare bankruptcy and close down. But was this the only arena in which the question of designation was important? These public designations continue to impact the social legitimacy and cultural purported educational imperative. Their purpose is to disseminate i nformation and educate the public. It behooves institutions that dwell in the interstices of definable
85 categories to somehow make a claim to belonging in at least one of those categories. The HLE claims to belong to the category of museum via its stated pu rpose. The presumed purpose of museums as educational and service to visitors. 131 In the next chapter, I will deepen my interrog ation into how visitors experience the HLE as an immersive, educational facility. Specifically, I will describe how the HLE functions in terms of relevant, contemporary museological theory. Visitors move through the HLE in ways that activate the narratives being presented. Ultimately, the structure of the HLE is such that visitors are conscribed into the action and actively participate in re creating Biblical Jerusalem.
86 INTERLUDE Journal April 28, 2008 An Imagined Conversation W ith Timothy Beal As I Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith I am incensed, and I find myself talking back to the author. This is a documentation of my imagined conversation with Beal. All of the dialogue I attribute to Beal is quoted directly from his book. On Faith trouble locating myself in the phenomenon. borders of my own self assured cynicism in order to encounter faith in all its awesome absurdity. S: Faith. Yes, I think faith ever really had it. Do we ever really know if we have it? Is it tangible, something that can be had?
87 blood, or resting in the sensitive palms of our hands? body and mind, to that which is not verifiable. S: So it is tangible? We can touch it? Do you have it? Faith? tradition is as tentative and complicated as it is abid ing and deep. I grew up with a clear religious identity within a particular religious culture, namely conservative minister. lved in a church? B: I go with my family nearly every Sunday. Clover is one of the ministers and I sincerely believe in her calling to that ministry. I, myself, teach Sunday school there. But the way I teach it is a far cry from the way it was taught when I was a kid. S: I was a Sunday school teacher, too, at a Baptist Church in Zephyrhills. But I was just a grew up rooted in evangelical Christianity. But, as I got older a nd as I entered college, surrounded by extremely intelligent professors who lived in a rational world where want to be one of those What do you tell them?
88 B: I tell my students that the st udy of religion is fundamentally about making the strange familiar and the familiar strange and coming to a poin t where we understand how they can make sense given a certain set of circumstances. S: Yeah. I think I always recognized the strangeness in my familiar. The trinity always threw me. And the idea of being married to the Church, and the Church, which was us of course, being married to Christ or God or however that works. And the virgin birth. Not to mention praying over our meals. I think what I found most strange in my familiar was the fact that my mom and my grandma seemed to always look forward to the Ra pture. That scared the shit out of me. I guess I thought it might be better than dying, but they seemed to think it was upon us. Like, it would happen any day. And, be o ver. Because what scared me the most, I think, was is the thought of an a place. Everlasting life is terrifying And they wanted it so bad. whose hope comes, as philosopher Sren Kierkegaard famously S: Faith. A divine madness. You never answered my question. Do you have it? Faith? B: I no longer call myself a conservative evangelical. And conservative eva ngelicals would hesitate to call me a Christian at all. I grew alienated from that culture and its theology during college. My work as a professor and researcher in the academic study of religion creates within me a certain distance from my own religious l ife.
89 S: Me, too. But, at the same time, I feel like I am surrounded by people who are also searching. Academia seems to be . t many ex evangelicals [laughs] along with countless other lapsed or disaffected religious types. Why do you do it? B: No doubt, rereading Christian tradition a s I try to do in the church and studying it from academic perspectives as I try to do in the university are my ways of negotiating and making sense of my own inheritance from conservative evangelical Christianity without abandoning the religious life altog ether. No doubt. S: Does it work? Do you feel like you have a meaningful connection with religion? B: [Pauses] Some would say that religion is like a raft. For a religion to be worth its salt, est, stormiest, most head. Or perhaps I feel so securely buoyed by the faith of my childhood, the faith of S: Salvation by association. faith that hears God talking.
90 S: Divine madness? h I crave. On the Holy Land Experience Beal: It was August of 2003, less than three months since George W. Bush had announced the end of major combat with Iraq and the beginning of the occupation. S: W hat were your first impressions? Ridge Mountains of Holy Land USA. S: You spend a lot of time in your book comparing the two, the Holy Land Experience and Holy Land USA similarities . far from that world of homespun hospitality and personal piety as twenty first century Disn ey World is from first century Nazareth. S: Okay, but I wonder a bout romanticism to your discussion. Also, several times you characterize the HLE as
91 fundamentalist carry different connotations ? I think you are vilifying the park, maybe inadvertently? Or not. You do seem to have an affinity for the Holy Land USA. B: Think of the Holy Land USA where the land of the Bible sinks itself into the lush woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Such places are rooted in the land and grow from marked by the particular, local experiences and vision of a particular person. In these places I experienced a correlation between connectedness to the land, personal authenticity, and openness to others. S: Personal authenticity? How so? B: Hospitality; a welcoming of the unknow n other into relationship by revealing very personal religious experiences in a very open and vulnerable way. B: Hospitality is always local. S: I think the HLE is local. It grows from the landscape of O rlando. Granted, the the HLE local? B: The Holy Land Experience is an overlay of a particular imaginary construction of the lready been so completely transformed by commercial buildings, landscaping, and highway construction that its indigenous ecology is nearly impossible to recognize. Such places are indeed foreign religious impositions, almost entirely oblivious of the lands capes and ecologies they have overtaken.
92 S: Again, I think this is an unfair indictment of the HLE. You are accusing them of colonization and imperial usurpation of a space that was already built into a landscape of commercial fantasy. Not only that, but you seem to be suggesting that for these a term which you define according to phenomenological logics influenced by Mircea Eliade A pristine land of indigenous religions that, when you cite Vine Deloria Jr., clearly Christianity is notoriously responsible for atrocities linked to expansion, empire, and genocide. And I think you make a good point abo ut the flexibility and adaptability of Christianity. It seems landless. But does that make it any less meaningful ? B: American Christianity chose to import another mythical world the world of the Bible and to lay it over the land, re creating it in the i mage of its own story world. S: There is no latent, original, authentic story buried in the land. Stories create the land: the land scape. Places are wrought from spaces, invested with meaning by storytellers always already co opting the topography. Your Your use of a uthenticity suggests a stable, fixed reality; a true thing. Maybe something transcendent? And the HLE is not that? B: I found myself repulsed. What repelled me most about the Holy Land Experience was its lack of authenticity. It is inauthentic in that it is not forthright about its larger agendas, especially its mission to proselytize Jews into its own peculiar form of Christianity. S: A more appropriate term w fairly clear about the purpose of the park: witnessing. That includes converting Jews. B: Second, it was inauthentic in that the actual physical place lacked personality and soul.
93 subjective and unarguable. All I can say to that is that I have found a great deal of personality meaning a distinct character to this place. It may not be a have invitational . B: Another dimension to faith, one that has less to do with belief and more to do with relationship. Faith as vulnerability, risking relationship. Faith is a leap of hospitality. S: A leap of hospitality that you believe can only be accomplished between individuals? B: The other might be God or it might be another human being. Faith f inds expression in S: I feel the invitation in the HLE. I feel like I have entered the dreams and visions of a community. B: This is the lesson I learned about faith from places like Holy Land USA. S: Because you made a personal connection with the creator. B: The gesture of the place and its creator was one of self exposure, revealing very personal religious experiences in a very ope n and vulnerable way. Holy Land USA intends to host a religious experience through an encounter with the Biblical narrative induction of visitors into an ideology that links a certain historical view of ancient Israel to a certain Biblical theological anticipation of the Second Coming. The Holy
94 Land experience has been created as a popular, relatively accessible entry point into theological m ovement. saying is that I think you are too quick to dismiss the relevance of this place to contemporary American Christianity and popular culture. You walked in wi th a flippant, aggressive attitude. I think that the HLE was an easy target for your frustration with the other sites, which you did not want to pick on because of the individual faces you were forced to associate with the creation of these spaces. The HLE as you note, is easily lumped with larger organizations and institutions. It can be faceless. You even specifically said that you feel accountability and obligation to the smaller, mom and HLE, to the people who work there and the visitors who come seeking something, be it entertainment, affirmation of belief, or a moment of tangible faith. You ignored the faces. allowing Beal to respond.
95 INTERLUDE The Scriptorium Field Notes: June 27, 2004 My companions and I approached the Scriptorium, mindful of the time we only had about two and a half hours left to finish our tour before the HLE closed. I had imagine d the Scriptorium as a large museum containing wonderfully ancient relics of Christianity such as the Shroud of Turin, shards from Calvary, maybe some holy water blessed my Jesus himself, or the Holy Grail encased in glass and dimly lit to promote the reve rent atmosphere. I imagined beautiful, fantastic antiquities housed in the architecturally interesting, terracotta colored building reminiscent of a mausoleum. To avoid the nagging realization that I was waiting in a long, annoying line trying to defend my camera from the dense, cool mists of water emanating from the water sprayer / mini fan employed by a swirlly haired, prepubescent kid trying to ease his parched, burnt skin, I turned my attention upwards to the cheap color televisions nestled into corners where the walls met the ceiling. A B grade actor with an awful, fake British intellectual accent was dressed as a scribe and explaining the process of making parchment (I never knew it was made from goat skin !). When his spiel was finished the screen pre sented a form of Bible trivia with multiple choice questions. Unable to answer more than one of the first several questions, I lost interest. Fifteen minutes later, we (the next thirteen visitors in line) were ushered into the first of many chambers of t he Scriptorium to begin what a deep, booming voice class facility . [ exhibiting] Biblical hour, highly themed, walk controlled environment. The air condition felt very good. The
96 ceiling of the rou nd room lit up in a phosphorescent blue, compelling the group of designed to prepare us for what was purported to be a life altering experience. We, twentieth century tour ists, were about to be privileged to witness what so many men over innumerable centuries had bled and died for! And then, climactically, the walls lit up and revealed a retro space aged depiction of Mesopotamia, where our journey would begin. Timed light ing and the booming voice led us from room to room, century to century, moving through now and then simultaneously. According to the HLE brochure, th and 16 th century Germany, 14 th and 17 th The journey was a blur. Instead of interesting antiquities, I found Bibles from numerous lands and in various stages of completion. The Scriptorium is dedicated solely to the history of the pro duction of the Bible and its distribution to the laymen of the world. It was a literal Bible buffet. I saw ancient scrolls and early, bound versions of Bibles and copies laboriously rendered by the hands of monks and scribes and pages from the first printe d Bible and illuminated Bibles and the first Bible printed in English and an animatronic Mr. John Wycliffe who was executed by King Henry VIII for translating that karat g old. As we entered one of the final rooms, we were placed on the bough of a ship, the Mayflower, looking towards land and a g roup of primly dressed pilgrims who were kneeling and praying. We were told by the booming voice that these were, indeed, the Pur itans who crossed the ocean in search of religious freedom and founded this great country, the United States. The image of the pilgrims was painted on cloth and at the designated moment, in an effort to heighten our sentiments, was dramatically backlit and seemed to glow with the blessing and sponsorship of the one, true God (as opposed to the untrue Gods that bless and sponsor other countries). We then entered a room that replicated the interior of what ITEC the corporate design team responsible for Univer imagined a nineteenth century rural church to look like. 1 This room was a welcome relief because
97 we had been on our feet walking through this diorama for almost an hour. Rick and I sat in th e provided pews and relaxed while listening to the booming voice tell us that during the settlement of the American frontier, Christian missionaries risked life and limb to int erpretation of the bloody confrontation between European settlers and Native Americans. The booming voice accepted no responsibility for the multitude killed in the name of Manifest Destiny. Rather, he celebrated the missionaries and their courage. 2 I shoo k my head in disbelief and wonder ed if Rick and I were the only visitors to realize this manipulation. We moved on. ery similar to the one at the beginning of our journey. The walls of this room were curtained in thick red velvet with twisted gold ropes accenting the already too rich visual texture. We stood and waited. The room went black and the booming voice began w hat I believed to be the conclusionary monologue. We had just been through history. We had witnessed what men had sacrificed their lives for: the words of God. Now it was time for us to undergo conviction. The booming voice dropped an octave and boomed eve n louder as he began rose, but on the opposite side of the room. Our eyes and bodies were made to turn to witness the unveilings. Peter, Mary mother of Jesus, Paul, and at least six or seven others were announced not even my mother can remember them all. The booming voice declared the significance of each Biblical superstar. Then th e lights went out and the ceiling illuminated and we saw the tablets of the Ten C ommandments and, in true Charlton Hesston style, the booming voice pronounced each of the C ommandments (although abbreviated versions) A s he did so the edict appeared on the tablet in fiery red script, as if the finger of God was actually there etching words into stone. Suddenly, a cross descended from the black sky, cast in bright halogen light and the booming voice egotten son that whos o ever 3 In my mind, I chanted the
98 words right along with the booming voice, as I had hundreds of times in Sunday school and church and various other times in my life and I wondered at my ability to mechanically recall and recite this and other scriptures. Though my heart pounded from the oppressive bass of the booming voice as it rattled inside my chest, I was not moved. I have since thought about that moment, in what amoun ts to the Hall of Prophets, believing and obviously Christian, is non denominational and Jew friendly. The imposed darkness, the cross ominously lowered from the ceiling, and the booming voice yelling New Testament scripture make this a decidedly violent experience. The HLE, in this moment more than any other moment designed and implemented for the purposes of conversion, thrusts Christ and Christianity onto the audience, literally. We ar e trapped in a dark space, the only light coming from police like spotlights intermittently blasting psychedelic rays from above, forcing us to look up, forcing our bodies into a physical symbol of reverence and insignificance. We are meant to feel small; we are meant to acknowledge the vast and imposing nature of creation, of humanity, of the universe, and ultimately of God. The T rocking our bodies with sound. And the c ross l ooms in the blackened sky demanding to be recognized. Here in this small, round room, the HLE attempts to create the sublime 4 The booming voice stilled and I felt a hollow cavern open up b etween my diaphragm and my throat the voice no longer resonated within my body. The atmospheric lights went out and house lights came on, bright, florescent, and offensive. Surprisingly, this was not the end. We were guided from this space into yet another room. personal computer, stereo, and family pictures. The booming voice returned, but was much softer (or maybe I had become partially deaf). I could barely hear the nar rative, but from what I could discern we were being told about the wonders of communication. The moral of this entire drama was here plainly detailed: we (pointedly addressing the Christians in our midst) were living in a time of communicative revolution a nd, though we currently have the ability to disseminate information in an instant with simply the
99 touch of a button, we are not adequately utilizing these resources to spread the word of d and life to spread the word, yet we who need sacrifice only time, desecrate the memory of these great characters with our apathy. It was finally time to exit this odd composition of re created places and simulated divinity and it felt like disembarkin g a rollercoaster, all spatial temporal twists and turns directed right into a gift shop. We were guilted and then presented with ways to assuage our guilt. The gift shop, na med Ex Libris stocked with literary paraphernalia, including various types of Bibles, ink pens that looked like quills, wax seals, book plates, bookmarks, framed artwork reminiscent of pages from an Illuminate d Bible, and leather bound prayer journals. My companions and I spent more minutes than we intended to in this shop because, while we were taking our bright and unbear ably hot to rainy and dangerously electrical. Bravely, we decided to chance the weather rather than stay in the small shop. Opening the door, I peered out at the ominous (much more ominous than any production of the HLE could ever be) slate sky and the bri ght white rolling clouds that always herald the front of particularly vicious storm systems.
100 CHAPTER 3 IN SITU Field Notes: July 7, 2007 A small boy stands close to one of several glass display cases in the Shofar Shop. His fingers twitch as he on an umbrella patterned with the HLE insignia. As he casts a quick glance to confirm his His palm s hover, charged with the electricity of desire, but restrained by inconvenient etiquette. We all know we are not supposed to touch the glass. He gnaws on his lower lip as he makes the decision to delicately rest several fingertips on the already smudged case. Inside, set against deep blue velvet, are gold and silver necklaces, charms, bracelets, and earrings for sale. All of them depict some symbol of Judeo Christian culture. The Cross neighbors the Star of David. looking at the jewelry. Rather, he is fascinated by a small piece of pottery, a decanter forsaking his spot in front of the display; without removing his fingers from the glass. still not looking. She obviously The boy considers her answer, gazing at the tiny replica. After a lingering moment, he seems to come to some sort of conclusion. He drops his hands and darts off to the next glass case.
101 Is it Real? The presence of museums in our society suggest s captured, observed, and preserved. Conventionally, museums authenticate (a process of establishing actuality and value) their contents by distancing the viewer from the viewed, labeling, and narrating. Glass vitrines are popular tools used to create physical separation, but allow visual consumption; they signal actuality and value. The boy in the Shofar gift shop was familiar with traditions of cultural display that use glass display cases: look, but The museumization of culture, resulting in part from sociocultural effects of flneur generalized anxiety about . authenticity . i 1 Is it real? When the flneur strolls the streets observing the world as if it all exists behind glass, she turns the intents and purposes a livin 2 Everything becomes something of value and import and is subject to isolation, examination, and petrifaction inside a museum. Everything is an authentic artifact worthy of study. Everything is invested with the weight of the real and the authentic. The problem with investing everything with authenticity is that then nothing feels authentic. Spectacle is institutionalized as tourism, flneurs become tourists (of their own or other cultures), and the boundaries between presentation, represe 3 Thus, we are increasingly compelled to ask of the events we experience and the things we encounter: Is it r eal? two terms are complex and not synonymous, they are used interchangeably by visitors undergoing transformation in large part due to reality television. 4 The ubiquitous though obviously scripted,
102 directed, and edited positions Sta about what constitutes authentici ty. The HLE is a performance of a reality. Because of its structure (an orchestrated model with in situ displays), the staged reality in the Holy Land events. She moves through the HLE continually negotiating performer s and scenes, Is it real? The answer to the question posed by the boy in the Shofar gift shop is belies his tr ue interest: Was this decanter made in Biblical Jerusalem? Is it actually an artifact from that time and place? Am I witness to an object that Jesus may have touched? In Chapter 2, I discussed the debate regarding the identity of the Holy Land Experience as a museum, theme park, and religious institution. It is important for the HLE to identify as a museum i n order to qualify for tax exempt status, as well as to legitimize its stated purpose as an educational institution. If we take the HLE on its own terms, as a living Biblical museum, then we may question how the HLE functions as a museum. To this end, it i s useful to examine the HLE within the context of museological discourse. In this chapter, I briefly outline some threads of museological theory directly applicable to this project, starting with a brief, selected history of philosophies integral to museum construction in the United States. Then I elucidate how elements of design and organization employed by the HLE are performative. The HLE performs its identity as museum via these elements. Museology and the Making of Museums Museological scholars asse rt that the institution of the modern museum is undergoing significant transformation. 5 Whereas traditional museums purportedly focused on intellectual and cultural refinement, emphasizing the self improvement of the
103 visitor and associated with high cultur e, new museums are actively embracing mus eologists find this problematic fearing that movements toward popular modes of representation and engagement will lead to the disin tegration of the museum into entertainment, considered a low culture form. 6 The fear is that museums will lose their cultural capital (as will museologists) and authoritative presence (their power) as articulators of U.S. social, historical, and cultural n arratives. While the conservative strain of museological philosophy may continue to promote the high culture / low culture distinctions characteristic of the education / entertainment dichotomy, many scholars recognize these boundaries are at best blurred but are often erroneous. 7 Museologists like Valerie Casey believe that education and entertainment coexist in contemporary museums. As I demonstrated in Chapter 2, education and entertainment have not been mutually exclusive in American popular culture, including museums. After examining approaches to museum design over time, Casey has established a typology of museum models based on visitor engagement, positing a performance model of museology. Casey sketches the trajectory of museums from the early nineteenth century to our current twenty first century, arguing that museums have always been spaces of performance. She identifies three models of museum organization: legislative, interpretive, and orchestrated. The legislative model of museums privileg es the object as value laden, speaking for itself. This mode depends upon visual consumption of the object. Legislative models emphasize the object as having inherent meaning that viewers are supposed to phenomenologically intuit by simply being in the pre sence of the object. The introduction of interpretive models in the nineteenth century meant a shift in location of meaning from inherent in the artifact (perceived via aesthetic appreciation) to articulated by a professional (via rational, empirical stu dy). Interpretive models shift authority from the artifact to the curator who must analyze the artifact, determine relevance and value, then communicate the determined meaning to the audience through narrative design and spatial manipulation. The object is understood as metonymic of cultural knowledge, an illustration of sorts, and is contextualized within a specific and
104 intentional conceptual and physical framework. Labels are of utmost importance, as are architecture and interior design the ways visitors are guided through the space communicate ; they influence the creation of knowledge As a result of interpretive philosophies of museum design, many specialized museums f ocusing on specific moments in history, science, and art emerged in the late nineteenth century. Broad, eclectic collections once popular because of their curiosities were supplanted by specialized collections. In an effort to organize their collections in to meaningful narratives, larger museums fragmented their spaces devoting particular areas to groupings of objects and organizing these collections by themes. While the purpose of legislative models was to expose audiences to artifacts, interpretive models were supposed to impart knowledge teach audiences about the artifact. Interpretive museums employed docents equipped with scripts to educate visitors, emphasizing the new pedagogical function of the museum institution. In the latter half of the twentieth century, developing media technologies resulted in self guided audio tours and videos, supplementing live performances by docents (who were often volunteers). Through this its power to dictate t he narratives that define social, cultural, historical, and political truths was established. The third model that Casey identifies in her typology is the orchestrated model. Orchestrated models, Casey asserts, are contemporary phenomena that affect the d idactic purpose of interpretive models through media technologies and live performances. Orchestrated models are characterized by their emphasis on the process of engagement entertaining reenactments and re and immersive experienc es. 8 Overt theatricality, the hallmark of orchestrated models, is achieved through technologically sophisticated, elaborate representational and communicative strategies. perfor mance art itself, where the viewer is confronted by the artwork, and meaning is 9 Because of the emphasis on entertainment, theatricality, simulation and simulacra, museums which employ orchestrated models of design are sub ject to intense criticism
105 regarding their nature as serious museal endeavors and interpretive perspectives engages visitors through narrative sequence, harmoniz ing authentic historic artifacts with facsimiles 10 Orchestrated models are plagued by questions of purpose framed inside of that complex, contested concept of authenticity. When a museum presents facs imiles beside actual artifacts, do they emphasize performances and experiences of artifacts through simulated environments and spectacles dilute the importance of the actual artifact, the thing in itself? Can museums that depend on entertainment technologies actually fulfill their supposed pedagogical purpose? As curators increasingly seek embodied re / actions in visitors, does the emphasis on evoking sensory and emotional resp intellectual engagement? Can a museum that contains few or no actual artifacts be considered an authentic museum? How can we understand the relationships between the complex and contested term authenticity and the function of muse ums? In the following section, I propose that we reframe authenticity as an experience accomplished (or not) through performances of virtualities. Authenticity, Actuality, and Virtuality Issues of authenticity continue to haunt discourses surrounding museums because authenticity continues to be loosely defined as a characteristic inherent in or absent from an artifact or event. For the purpose of this discussion, I will employ performance studies scholar Barbara Kirshenblatt tualities and actualities to distinguish between imagined meanings and physical objects and locations. Kirshenblatt Gimblett shirks off the term authenticity and what she considers its encumbering, if not wholly stifling, academic baggage. Authenticity as a fixed characteristic is not useful in Actuality refers to material objects, s uch as artifacts. Virtualities are performative accomplishments intrinsically linked to human imagination, requiring interactions
106 between people and actualities. Kirshenblatt Gimblett suggests virtualities are 11 Virtualities require the human imagination to create stories, interpret meanings, and thereby animate actualities, which are physical things, a thing in itself. Thus, when analyzing the meanings of a museal location like the HLE, two questions should be considered. First, is it the actual location of the event present ? Regarding the HLE, the simple and obvious answer is no. The second question is, Does the location offer visitors experiential authenticity achieved through virtuality does it feel, look, smell, and appear to be the location of the event represented? This question is far more useful than, Is the HLE authentic? Understanding the relationships between actualities and human imaginations as generative of virtualit ies locates the meanings of artifacts and events in the space of performance. This is what critics of orchestrated modeling actually critique and fear. No longer d o visitors necessarily assess the authenticity of the artifacts; instead they assess the authenticity of their experience of the artifact as achieved through virtualities simulations and performances. While I will be employing Kirshenblatt minology because of its compatibility with a performance perspective I do not relinquish the use of authenticity as a frame for how people make sense of their engagements with the HLE. Kirshenblatt elationships between the two) helps clarify discussions that follow regarding the conceptual and physical structure of the HLE as a site where identities are negotiated and performed. For clarity, I redefine authenticity as an achievement experiential and performed and will employ the phrase experiential authenticity Experiential authenticity provides a language for talking about why visitors come to the HLE, what they hope to find, and how t hey articulate their experiences. In the following section, I identify the elements of the legislative, interpretive, and orchestrated models of museum design present at the HLE and discuss how they e. While the HLE proper is clearly an example of orchestrated design, the Scriptorium provides a more conventional
107 museum experience for visitors by drawing on legislative and interpretive elements, such of museum is intended to enable The HLE performs the identity museum by using systems of organization and cultural display characteristic of museums. As a whole, the HLE is most sim ilar to an orchestrated model of museum design. It offers entertaining performances and simulated, immersive environments. As the HLE embraces this performance oriented model of museum design, it also utilizes elements of the interpretive model. In particu lar, labels are significant because they are popularly recognized as signs of a museum and therefore Of Labels and Learning Of utmost importance to interpretive models of museum display are the i nterpretive texts the labels that perform the intended meanings. The HLE presents a plethora of label ing associated with conventional museum display. Varieties of flora are identified by their Latin names followed by a description as to their native geogra phical locations and their relevance to Biblical life. Inside the Scriptorium, beneath the glass vitrines, white plastic indicators etched with bold black letters give the briefest identification of each artifact. An automated narrator fills in the gaps, p roviding extensive context. In essence, these labels, whether written or oral, perform the meanings of the artifacts. Similarly, I argue that dramatic performances and lectures occurring outside the Scriptorium (in the HLE proper), which are characteristic of orchestrated museum modeling, also perform the interpretive function of instructive labels. The nineteenth century marked a distinct shift in location of meaning and authority from the object itself to the interpretive texts. Director of the U.S. Nat ional Museum in the late nineteenth century, Dr. George Brown Goode, proclaimed the described as a collection of instructive labels, each illustrated by a well selected
108 12 In fact, Kirshenblatt Gimblett describes an ethnographic lecture given by his 13 He believed these objects would be meaningless to his 14 in format to lectures delivered by Lydia Mamreoff von Finkelstein Mountford whose elocutionary skills animated the arid lands otable resemblance to Tomb lecture is a particularly good example of lecture as label. As he stands on a platform positioned above the crowd and the tomb, Mabry is back dropp ed by Golgotha. He begins his lecture by situating the crowd geographically, gesturing towards the Garden Tomb: It is located on the northwest side of Gordon Calvary, less than a hundred yards from where we think the crucifixion would have taken place, so it was not a great distance for the followers of Jesus who brought his body for burial. 15 Mabry continues his introduction by acknowledging the disputed nature of the Garden Holy Sepulcher. There is in the City of Jerusalem a second tomb location. It is about a quarter of a number of large religious denominations hold that as the place of burial and re surrection. 16 As he satisfies one of the critical rules of persuasion, acknowledging counter arguments, as I have of going to Jerusalem and visiting both tomb sites, obviously not everyone
109 Then Mabry rhetorically situates the HLE Garden Tomb as, if not wholly interchangeable with, then experientially equivalent to its referent: However, everyone does pretty much agree on two things: first of all, both tombs are empty. [Crowd cheers]. And secondly at the two locations there is an aura, there is a spirit that surrounds this particular tomb that literally has to be n aura of worship that is absolutely incredible. 17 this representation. Mabry invests the HLE tomb with the aura he found at the actual site. The crowd looks at the tomb with interest and awe. For the purposes of visitors who have not been and may never travel to the actual location, the HLE representation offers a substitute, for it is constructed to the specifications of the original (barring minor changes Mabry makes sure to provide enough detail to indicate accuracy: It was not a very large tomb by the standard of t hat day. It was about 11 x 14 inside, but it was designed to hold only two bodies. Now, please understand that many of the tombs of that day could accommodate forty or fifty. They have found some that could hold as many as a hundred bodies at any one given time. So the fact that this one held only two was rather unusual, especially for that much space, said about the tomb. 18 At this point, Mabry moves into the cultural signifi cance of the tomb. Referencing the this, indeed, is as good as the tomb from wh ich Jesus was resurrected. Like the actual tomb in Jerusalem, the most important function of the HLE tomb is as a sign for Salvation by Grace. Its emptiness is the ultimate signifier of human salvation. The es the presence of Jesus Christ as
110 savior. After Mabry finishes his presentation, many members of the audience make their way down to the Garden Tomb, line up, and take turns experiencing the emptiness. The dramatic musical performances, though not stylis tically similar to the lectures as style of delivery used by Matthews and mimicked by the HLE lecturers, the dramatic performances carry out their educational task through spectacle and entertainment. 19 They act as labels by investing the architectural structures (replicas and recreations of significant Biblical structures) with interpreted meaning. For visitors who may not be interested in conventional, scholarly esque lectures, musi cal dramas provide the is also labeled with the musical drama Behold the Lamb Behold the Lamb a musical drama similar in content to traditional passion plays, is lit erally a performed description of the significance of the Garden Tomb and the Via Dolorosa. A female performer stands on the same platform Mabry uses and begins to sing: Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day / the soldiers tried to clear the narrow s treets / but the crowd pressed in to see / the man condemned to die on Calvary / . /down the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary / the blood that was shed / the soul of all men / makes his way through the heart /of Jerusalem / down the Via Dolorosa call ed the Way of Suffering / . . 20 The lyrics highlight the importance of the path marked out by lines of red paint and heavily patrolled by HLE staff members. Jesus, tormented by Roman soldiers, stumbles down this path confirming visually the details pre sented in the song, and explaining why this path is important. chorus, and trumpets the resurrection of Christ from the Garden Tomb. . deep inside the garden tomb / he heard / the sun of the morning sky / Come forth my anointed one / into eternal life / Arise, arise / cast away the darkest night / My glorious one / victorious one / in majesty arise / The earth began to tremble / The ground beg an to quake / The mighty stone
111 that sealed the tomb / of death began to shake / Then suddenly the darkness / was shattered by great light / as Jesus Christ the son of G od / burst through the door alive . . 21 These songs among others, are sung as perfor mers enact the crucifixion of Jesus (see Chapter s 5 and 6 for discussion s of Behold the Lamb ). They tell the story of events that invest the se locations with a particular significance. The performances become the objects of attention, epitomizing the ninet eenth 22 In the midst of the performance, the actuality of our location becomes secondary, if not mute, to the virtuality. It is this collapsing of the distinctions between actuality and virtua lity that engenders nearness between visitor and artifact not achieved in legislative and interpretive models of museum design. The Orchestrated Model and the Co C reation of Meaning The orchestrated model of museum design employs live performances to col lapse the traditional distance between viewer and artifact. At the HLE, performers interact with the visitors, boundaries between spectators and actors become blurred, and the e the [artifact], but it has become the object [of attention] . the visitor does not experience the [artifact], but the performance 23 Because of th is shift in the location of focus from the thing in itself to the performance of the thing, theoretically, museums like the HLE no longer need actual artifacts. Yet as Kirshenblatt fragments that we can carry away [from actual origins], are accorded a higher quotient of 24 While visitors may more than willingly and quite happily consume simulations and engage in performances interpr eting them as experientially authentic, it is also necessary for orchestrated models to incorporate more traditional elements that signal the presence of actual artifacts. Museologist Hilde Hine contends that museums still own the responsibility of present ing 25 Hine will not allow experience or performance to supplant the primacy
112 of actual artifacts because actual artifacts are tangible and indicate the existence of the Real 26 Ex perience is a process constituted by engagement and interaction. In the process of experience, meaning becomes contingent, dynamic and plural, rather than static and singular. Hine believes that museums must continue to exalt the things, the artifacts, what Kirshenblatt Gimblett terms actualities. In this sense Kirshenblatt Gimblett and Hine e material realia 27 reinforces the dichotomies of education / entertainment and knowledge / im agination. In respect to this more conventional way of defining museums, the HLE incorporates the Scriptorium. Differentiating the HLE from amusement parks and other attractions logistically Gi mblett notes the the value of difference is paramount in attracting visitor attention. The HLE accomplishes this by juxtaposing the sacred with the secular, and in s surreal 28 The surreal, accomplished by incongruity and conceptual dissonance, is psychically and sensually stimulating. Museological scholars Priscilla Bonif ace and Peter Fowler . visual and cerebral, set in motion by . the housing of a collection in a curious conte 29 In the contemporary global 30 Could a museum comprised solely of a bunch of Bibles attract thousands of visitors or the funding it would need to survive? Probably not. Packaging a collection of Bibles within a larger, Biblical ly themed education and entertainment complex such as the HLE increases the likelihood that people will come see and experience the e xhibit. The Scriptorium and the HLE
113 proper share a symbiotic relationship. Without the HLE, the Scriptorium (exhibiting the Van Kampen collection) would probably not attract enough public attention to sustain visitorship. Without the Scriptorium, the HLE w ould be hard pressed to convince people, and specifically state officials, that it is a museum and should be eligible for nonprofit status. In the following section, I identify the elements of the Scriptorium that perform museum Into t he Scriptorium The Scriptorium: Center for Biblical Antiquities performs precisely the function Hine requires of museums it provides artifacts for the inspection of visitors. The practices, li ke glass vitrines, which are associated with interpretive models of museum y 31 Without the Scriptorium, the HLE would have great difficulty laying claim to any type of museum status. Structurally the Scriptorium utilizes design elements clearly associated with more conventional museum organization. The building is the most prominent feature of the HLE. The copper domed, faux terracotta edifice is reminiscent of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Accord utilizes authentic artifacts, ancient cuneiform, rare scrolls, manuscripts, and printed Bibles to tell the story of the authenticity, accuracy, and authority of the Word of God 32 The artifacts are used to ill ustrate the narrative constructed by the curators. The exhibit referred to as the Van Kampen collection a tribute to the couple who donated the objects and funding is Biblical artif acts 33 Visitors enter this space with the understanding that they will be present with actual artifacts displayed using recognizable, known conventions of museum design. While t he Scriptorium performs the role of traditional museum, it simultaneou sly introduc es visitors to display practices characteristic of the newer, performance oriented orchestrated model. In the Scriptorium, visitors learn how to read and interact with performance environments similar to those that constitute the HLE proper, an d are thus socialized to understand the HLE proper as a museum.
114 The Scriptorium requires visitors to participate in an intensely structured, spatially and temporally linear journey along a predetermined path. Legislative and interpretive models of museums employ spatial arrangement techniques that strictly control visitor movement and engagement with displays. 34 While visitors are compelled to physically move through the space, thus actively engaging to some extent the displays, the terms of engagement are clearly demarcated. Appropriate paths lead visitors through time and space and its contents occurs over tim enveloping the viewer in a dramat 35 Following this highly controlled model, visitors to the Scriptorium may not amble at their own rate. Rather, they are instructed to stay with their group and warned not to move ahead of the lighting cues and au tomated guide. Upon visiting the HLE with my mentor Dr. Rose Carlisle and her mother, we five minute scripted tour of the Scriptorium if we wanted to see Behold the Lamb In an effort to speed up our Scriptorium experience, we darted through the first several chambers passing other groups in our fervor to make it through the space. While no one appeared from backstage to stop us or reprimand us for our flagrant disregard of the rules, we did find ourselves nothing to do but wait for another group to catch up with us and activate the narrative. There are two such stop loss galleries along the route tudy and the Mission Prairie Ch urch which contain automated doors that refuse entry or exit outside of the prescribed times. In this way, the Scriptorium presents a vivid contrast to the structural openness of the rest of the HLE. In each of the Scriptori um galleries, visitors encounter several glass cases containing Biblical antiquities (mostly Bibles and an occasional scroll) physically and conceptually distanced from the viewer. The glass functions as a window limiting the e artifact to viewing cultivate contemplation. 36 The artifact becomes a spectacle. Casey uses the theatrical reference of the proscenium stage to describe the distanced relationship between audience
115 e artifact). Artifacts, both actual and facsimile, continue to be distanced from the viewer, though the increasing complexity and illusion affected by these display environments creates a feeling of proximity between visitors and objects. For instance, in the Gutenberg Press gallery visitors are presented with several Bibles inside glass cases, but we also walk into an environment that stages a printing studio and contains a mechanized, automated reproduction of what we are led to believe is the Guttenberg Press. While we are unable to share the same space with the Bibles (which exist inside temperature controlled glass vitrines), we are present with the press itself. This type of design display, which creates immersive environments for visitors, is called i n situ and is often employed in interpretive, but especially in orchestrated models of museum design. In Situ and In Context Kirshenblatt Gimblett identifies two forms of cultural display in contex t and in situ in her benchmark manuscript, Destination Cu lture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage Interpretive and orchestrated models of museum design employ these modes of cultural display to communicate meaning. In context displays position an object within a to other objects. According to Kirshenblatt 37 Order and arrangement are imperative for displays of objects in context; artif acts are often organized into typologies or categories, such as temporal (Jurassic period) or chronological, conceptual homo sapiens ). The object continues to be the primary actor, act ing the meanings scripted by interpreters. In situ approaches to museum installation embrace the partialness of the object the object as fragment, as metonymic. In situ displays tend to be environmental, ts boundaries to include more of what 38 While both modes of display tell stories about the objects in situ installations emphasize the processual nature of artifacts in use. The
116 artifact is no longer the primary actor; the environmental staging of use becomes the 39 In situ and in context displays are not mutually exclusive. The HLE is an excellent example of the how both styles of p resentation can be used simultaneously. As I discussed in the previous section, the Scriptorium, while occasionally drawing on orchestrated model characteristics, is clearly recognizable as an interpretive model of museum design. Visitors travel along a sp ecific, highly regulated path through space and time. Each gallery through which the visitor passes is a staged environment that employs both in context and in situ displays. The Tyndale gallery, like all fourteen galleries, 40 is small, barely able to fit the thirteen to fifteen visitors that constitute each tour. Upon entering, we are immediately positioned in the aftermath of a violent event. A large wooden printing press has been smashed into pieces and black ink is splattered on the walls and floor (rem iniscent of a monochromatic Jackson Pollock painting). An arched window, in which glass panes have been shattered by vandals, is positioned over one of two glass vitrines in the gallery. The Bibles in the vitrines illustrate the story of violence and perse cution being told by the narrator and the scene. The glass vitrines, artifacts, and labels are in context display choices. The scene staged for visitors to walk through is an excellent example of in situ display. None of the props used in staging this seen are actually from the represented historical period or were present at the event portrayed. They are representations meant to suggest the event and contextualize the objects in the vitrines. Visitors recognize the se objects as actual artifacts, a legitimi zing presence T his legitimacy then permits visitors to accept and embrace the staged, in situ environments. The combining of in context and in situ display practices enables a successful virtuality by facilitating experiential authenticity. In the next se ction, I examine how visitors interact with the performances of the artifacts (the Bibles) and the in situ environments in the Scriptorium. The Objectification of Faith: Death of the Living Word? Besides the jewelry contained in the glass cases of the g ift shops, the only other vitrines at the HLE are in the Scriptorium encasing Bibles. The Scriptorium functions to
117 legitimate the HLE as a museum because it provides the artifacts the actualities required of conventional museums. The Bibles act as material anchors for the virtuality the simulacrum that constitutes the HLE. The process of positioning the Bibles in glass cases with descriptive labels is a performative process whereby the HLE performs its identity as museum and thereby transforms the value of the Bibles. The Bibles behind glass allow visitors to recognize the HLE as a museum and believe in the truthfulness (or accuracy) of the narrative of Witnessing and thus achieve experiential authenticity by providing actualities to justify those beliefs. Yes, the HLE is a real museum because it has actual, priceless artifacts. In return, the HLE authenticates the Bibles. Yes, they are real because they are behind glass and the us e, religious, and spiritual value of the Bibles is altered in the service of proving the HLE is a real museum. The Bible, as a material manifestation of God and faith, serves as a medium for have not always had personal access to the Bible. Poverty, illiteracy, and institutional authority often prevented laymen from reading or owning a Bible. Bibles were used by clergy as props in their performances of sermons. As more people learned to read and the authority of the Church as the sole interpreter of scripture diminished, the use of the Bible expanded. In the nineteenth century, in particular, and to some extent today, Bibles were invested with familial import, serving as records of ritual even ts (marriages, births, deaths) and passed down as an inheritance. 41 It was through a tangible relationship with the Bible as object in the nineteenth century that Christians (Protestants in particular) began to embrace an xplored the connection between faith, sensation, and 42 43 What happens, then, when Bibles are dislocated from their use systems, distance d from the human bodies integral to their original purpose, and frozen in time and space? What happens when Bibles are placed in glass vitrines? When aspects of living systems are separated from the system itself and isolated for observation, distancing oc curs. This
118 de contextualization and physical distancing (glass, ropes, and/or other barriers) creates a metaphorical distancing, reframing everyday religious items, such as the Bible, as objects of study. The distinction between viewer and viewed fetishize s the objects as something to be seen, examined, appreciated, and contained, rather than possessed and held, an aspect of society to be engaged. The Scriptorium Bibles are framed as objects to be examined, as evidence of the human science of writing and co mmitment to faith The glass vitrines are reminiscent of microscopes in their association with scientific examination, and they function as literal frames structuring visual engagement. Vitrines are often found in interpretive museum models which depend on in context display. In interpretative museum models, these objects become illustrations of a narrative told via interpretive texts, such as labels and narrative scripts. The Bibles behind glass in the Scriptorium lose their individual power as communica tors of a grand narrative and become fragments strung together, organized chronologically to illustrate a story constructed by the curators. Here, the HLE curators tell the story of Witnessing, the reproduction and dissemination of the Word of God. Ironica lly, this story revolves around the dynamic and dangerous processes of ministering the Living Word, while rendering the Words themselves petrified, locked in a perpetual moment of stagnation. The pages are not to be turned. The contents are, for the most p art, indecipherable to most visitors (most of the Bibles are written in various, antiquated languages). Their uselessness is epitomized by the brail Bible, begging to be touched to be known; untouchable, useless in itself as it stares from behind the glass representation religious practice. 44 By becoming illustrative of the narrative of Witnessing, the content o f the Bibles becomes mute. Visitors do not need to be able to decipher the text to understand what is being communicated inside the Scriptorium. Instead, these Bibles Word morbid indication of the extent of human sacrifice. These Bibles are also examples of human technological progress: handwritten scrolls, painstakingly copied Illuminated
119 pages, the printing press, mass production, and finally, digital media. These Bibles become objects that illustrate a grand narrative centered on humanity. The narrator of the audio guided tour informs us, Throughout history, God has called upon the peopl e to help carry forward his blessed plan of redemption of mankind. . .Through the generations, the divinely inspired scriptures were faithfully copied and handed down intact. Their authority, their accuracy, their authenticity never diminished, never com promised. This is the story of the incredible danger fraught journey that has resulted in the universal 45 The narrator assures us that the Bibles we see through the glass are indeed the same as the Bibles in our homes and c hurches, thus alleviating any desire to read these Bibles for ourselves. Content wise, they are interchangeable with the Bibles being sold in the gift shops. Thus, their value shifts from use to market. These Bibles are valuable because they are actualit ies, original to the historical contexts described by the audio guide. The Bible is the most widely reproduced literary es the Scriptorium Bibles from the billions of other reproductions are the meanings investe reproduction . its first meaning is no longer to be found in what it says, but what it 46 As the Scriptorium Bibles lose 47 functioning to mystify the contents of museums and bestow upon them designation as 48 A rtifacts are removed from lived systems and disassociated from religious practices, yet in this isolation they are reinvested with sacred meaning through mystification. Berger explains this process: Now [the object exists] in a room by itself. The room is like a chape l. The [object] is behind bullet proof perspex. It has acquired a new kind of impressiveness. Not because of what it shows [or does] not because of the meaning of its image [or use]. It has become impressive, mysterious, because of its market value. 49
120 Ber popular market value via aestheticization. In a fascinating discussion of the mystification hes the relationship between practical value, market value, and spiritual value. The original work, deprived of its practical value when removed from its system of use and placed in a museum, becomes valuable based on its rarity how difficult is it to acqu ire such a work? Rarity how many of these objects have survived the passage of time affects the spiritual value is of true importance. 50 The concept of spiritual value is the culmination of the mystification process that transforms objects of use into objects of veneration, holy relics. The rub is that spiritual value is difficult to communicate and thus is most adequately conveyed via reference to a market price. What does t his mean for the Scriptorium Bibles destined to stasis behind glass? It Word) and practical value (performative texts integral to religious practice), subjected to a my stification process that locates their worth in rarity, positioning them within a market economy where their value is determined by logistics (When were they produced? Who created them? How well have the y survived? How many exist in the world?), and then r einvested with spiritual value based on these logistics, their new status as artifacts, and their presence behind the glass. The relationship between the Bibles in the Scriptorium and the visitors who see them is very different than the relationship betw een those visitors and Bibles circulating in lived systems of use. The mystification process has imbued the Bibles behind the glass with a certain aura of spirituality achieved through market value. The yellow robed woman who admitted me to the Scriptorium are priceless because they are irreplaceable. Visitors stand next to these vitrines, in the presence of antiquated artifacts whose market value is, according to the docent, beyond number. We are physically and conceptually distanced from the practical value of these Bibles, whereas Bibles in circulation are meant to be touched, read, used, and cherished.
121 What does this distanc e mean for visitors experiencing the Scriptorium? I cannot say, for sure. Most visitors I observed only casually glanced at each Bible, with the exception of the blood stained version. Like many museums, in the first several chambers visitors take turns pr essing against the glass to see what the audio guide describes. By a quarter of the way through the tour, however, almost all visitors lose interest in the glass actual a rtifacts, they accept the legitimacy of the space and focus on more engaging elements: the scenes vandalized prin church. When we finally spill into the Ex Libris Book Shoppe, many visitors appear dazed and exhausted from the fifty minute journey. Almost always, there is silence. People meander a round the gift shop, finally able to touch Bibles, but seemingly uninterested in purchases. These Bibles are just Bibles, likes the ones visitors presumably have at home. The value invested in the Bibles behind shop Bibl es. Maybe if the gift shop was designed as another gallery another display interface and the gift shop Bibles were placed in glass vitrines, maybe then they would sell. Displaying Conviction The galleries in the Scriptorium are what Kirshenblatt Gimblet 51 Basically, displays of any sort either in context or in situ are interfaces or mediums through which visitors encounter messages and stories. The techniques and choices employed by designers to create these display interfac es are heavily weighted that reflect the belief and values of contemporary life. 52 The stories we tell about our pasts are infused with how we understand our present. For instance, the Living Room gallery sums up the history of Witnessing in relation to what the curators believe is a comparative lack of witnessing in the contemporary world. The Scriptorium is heavily weighted with the curatorial message of conviction (in the sense of convictin g contemporary Christians of not witnessing
122 enough, as well as in the sense of the soul being convicted by God to accept Jesus Christ as savior). The Hall of Prophets is an excellent example of a display interface designed to simulate the experience of con viction, communicating verbally and synaesthetically the Christian message of Salvation by Grace. The Hall of Prophets is circular, draped in deep crimson velvet fabric, and dark. but it does contain rails that run through the center. Once the drama begins to unfold, the rails play a key role in our physical participation. Many of us must lean on the rails in order to look up to the ceiling where half of the performance takes plac e. As the drama begins, the crimson curtains lift to reveal life sized paintings of ten Bible characters. The reveals oscillate between the left and right sides of the gallery space, eventually finishing by revealing Paul in the center. In order to see eac h reveal, we must turn our heads from right to left, effecting a bit of dizziness. Immediately after Paul is unveiled and his lines are spoken by a loud, deep voice, the ceiling flicks with red light and we must look up. Tablets are outlined in the blackne ss of the sky and a glittering red light begins to trace the Te n Commandments into the ceiling I am the Lord your God who led you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Thou shall have no god before me. Thou shall not make u nto thee any craven images. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not bea r 53 Still facing the ceiling, we are presented with a glowing green cross, and the booming voice of the narrator tells us, Man has neve r been able to keep these commandments, and is therefore under the judgment of God. But Jesus Christ, the son of God, became the savior of mankind by his perfect life, sacrificial death, and miraculous resurrection from the dead. All who place their faith in him receive the gift of eternal life. This is the only hope of mankind. 54
123 We can see the cables from which the green cross is suspended. In a Brechtian move, the HLE does not try to hide the mechanics of the display interfaces. Staging is overt. Unmask purpose of witnessing and education. By revealing the theatrical elements involved in the production of this performance, the HLE shirks the connotations of fakery associated with thea tre. The HLE does not intend to trick the audience into believing they are present to the actual event of the creation of the Ten Commandments. Instead, site designers want visitors to see they are not disguising the artifice of the environment, but are in stead creating simulations that allow visitors to actively participate in virtualities that enable experiential authenticity. Rather than being concerned with the accuracy of the simulations, visitors can focus on sensory perceptions and feelings evoked in the process of engaging the narrative faith, Christian community, and conviction! The Empowered Flneur In situ displays encourage visitors to focus on the physical, visceral, and emotional processes of engaging a simulated environment. I n the HLE pro per (outside of the Scriptorium) these displays are operationalized by a particular sensibility and orientation to the world reminiscent of the flneur flneur strolls urban byways nurturing an aesthetic and critical distance between her and the world she physically traverses and visually consumes. While the flneur has often been understood as a visual epistemology defined by the assessing and objectifying gaze, it is reasonable to assert that the flneur also comes to know her world sensually, kine s t het ically as she physically engages the terrain. Engaged in an imaginative process, the flneur immerses herself in a multitude of histories and pasts while purposefully wandering through the actualities of the present. According to Benjamin, the flneur is a 55 Benjamin describes this intoxication:
124 [T]he blood is pounding in the veins of the happy flneur his heart ticks like a clock, and inwardly as well as outwardly things go on as we would imagine them 56 Here, the experiences of the flne ur are conflated with a nineteenth century entertainment technology where illustrations achieve movement, simulating life. This conflation is emblematic of the systems of engagement that produce anxiety about reality and authenticity. While the flneur cre characteristic of purportedly objective data collection and analysis (that inevitably informs museum collections and interpretation), she also experiences a dream like journey through her environment, what today we might describe as film like. Or, what Kirshenblatt Gimblett describes as virtuality. contemporary museums is 57 A product of postmodernity, the museum flneur roams the HLE with a heightened sense of awareness critiquing its constructed norma 58 Casey imagines visitors as sophisticated through identifying, capturing, a 59 conventional museum display. 60 Contemplation is displaced by active, embodied participation, shattering the rev erent silence and allowing multivocality. By allowing the perspectives and voices of visitors to resonate in the museum space, the cultural authority of the museum shifts away from the curator. To some extent, visitors become the directors of their own exp eriences finding freedom to organize their agendas and thus affect the meanings made in the processes of engagement Of course, the degree of power they have in constructing and interpreting their experiences continues to be guided by the structural frame work of the HLE.
125 HLE is loosely constructed as a village. Visitors enter through the Gates of Damascus, peruse the wares offered for purchase in the street market, and wal k along the dusty roads of the Judean Village. Employees performing Bible characters wander through the space, What will he say? What will you say? T is predetermined and unalterable ; the paths leading through the HLE proper offer visitors options, empowering visitors with agency to direct their encounters, experiences, and personal narratives. Visitors can choose to follow the suggested itinerary provi ded on the Daily Schedule of events and performances. Or, they can choose to plot their own route, visiting the places and performances they find most interesting at the exclusion of other events. In fact, if visitors wish to visit the Scriptorium and part icipate in the fifty five minute guided tour, they must forsake at least one of the live shows and presentations. There is simply not lectures and tour the Scriptorium. C hoi The HLE emphasizes visitor agency (and, more important, human agency humans must choose between God or the Devil, sacred or profane) by offering choices. One of the choices visitors face is whether or not t o take another day of vacation to return to the HLE and complete the tour. By designing daily programs that offer more experiences will be incomplete. When visitors leave th e park, they may not feel as though in its entirety In an effort to encourage visitors to return, the HLE instituted a promotional offer allowing entrance to the park for eight days after purchasing a ticket. Patron s may return to complete their tour without additional charge This option asks vacationers to assess their availability. Did they plan to spend more than one day at the HLE? If not, they are now faced with a choice: finish experiencing the HLE or visit an other local attraction such as Disney. Giving visitors choices allowing them to choose their paths through the site and offering them the opportunity to return without additional charges emphasizes visitor agency while also implicating visitors as responsi ble for their own experiential authenticity. Agency and
126 responsibility are accompanied by implicit guilt return to the HLE and complete the tour or indulge in secular entertainments? While some visitors may question the experiential authenticity of their HLE excursion based on completion of park events (getting to see all of the performances and lectures, as well as spend time in places like the Garden Tomb and tour the Scriptorium), my initial experience of the park lacked in a different sense. In my fiel d notes from June 27, 2004, I wrote: unfulfilled and somehow void, though not cheated. I walked through the Street Market towards the great, stonewalled exit looking around me, s earching for something that I had not yet seen or heard or felt; but nothing was there that still caged, the souvenir Acacia trees, though fewer in number, were still atop the t wiry sitting in the shade of its full grown counterpart a little piece of living memory Biblical symbolism of this tiny bit of history prickly, bloody halo something. I walked through the turn stile and into the parking lot, immediately aware of Interstate 4, Seven Eleven, asphalt, and the inevitable two hour drive back to Zephyrhills. I took a couple deep breaths of dense, saturated air, shook off feelings too similar to failure, climbed in my car and headed home. I left the site feeling incomplete. I was able to attend most of the performances and I saw Jesus crucified. But I did not feel as though I had an authentic experience of religious or spiritual communion. The HLE is supposed to be a b roker of religious experience, a space of spiritual communitas, where faith is affirmed or the soul is convicted. I was not convicted. Or maybe I was, just not in the sense that I had hoped. I walked away from the HLE with the conviction that I am responsi ble for my own redemption.
127 inability to spiritually connect with the content of the place, and nagging guilt at using the site for a critical, academic project. The HLE successful ly performs museum and, though it cannot claim the physical actuality of Jerusalem, its use of simulation and immersive environments enables a successful virtuality. The brilliance of the HLE lies in its conscription of visitors into the process of meaning making. Because visitors are given choices as to how they move through and engage the site, they do not simply consume the interpretations of the curators. Visitors actively participate in creating the virtuality and perform their experiential authenticit y. If, like me, the visitor leaves the site feeling as though she did not achieve experiential authenticity, then she herself is implicated in that failure. By positioning visitors as directors of our own experiences, by encouraging us to make choices and prioritize our itineraries, the HLE places the responsibility of the success of our journeys through Biblical Jerusalem squarely at our feet. Conclusion The HLE is a savvy museum that employs elements of legislative, interpretive, and orchestrated m useum designs to create an immersive environment that requires visitor engagement in the process of meaning making. While increasing numbers of contemporary museums embrace simulation interactive displays, and technologies characteristic of entertainment venues, historically, museums have been c haracterized by a rigid educational imperative that required separation of visitor from artifact and a perceived objectivity in terms of interpretation. The structure and functions of museums changed in the nineteen th century. Broad, eclectic collections were supplanted by specialized collections focusing on Art, Science, and History. Philosophies of organization were heavily influenced by rationalism and empiricism. Objects could no longer speak for themselves, the ir meanings apprehensible through visual phenomenology. Curators were required to interpret the meaning and significance of these objects, and then affix prosthetics (labels, descriptions, themes and narratives) in order to make them into logical, readable stories. These changes in the structure of modern museums affect the location of the visitor in relation to the object on display. The
128 object, once invested with meaning as a thing in itself and distanced from the visitor, becomes a prop in the staging of a narrative. The performance of the narrative is accomplished through the dynamic interaction between the object, its location within the constructed museum space, and the visitor (social actor). While many interpretive models of museums maintain a conv entional approach to display (maintaining distance between the visitor and the artifacts), some establishments challenge the tradition of subject/object separation. Orchestrated models of museum design privilege the performances of the objects over the obj ects themselves, often incorporating in situ models of display that simulate the environment from which the object was derived. Most importantly, orchestrated models offer opportunities for visitors to participate in the production of knowledge by particip ating in the performances. Entertainment and education, which I argue have not been mutually exclusive in American popular culture, are overtly intertwined in museums that employ orchestrated modeling. According to Casey, it was during the late nineteenth by entertaining (my emphasis). 61 The conflation of education and entertainment in museums has become a point of contention in the contemporary United States. Edutainment, as the trend is termed, has been lauded by some museologists and condemned by others. Nonetheless, it is a widely employed strategy. The HLE is clearly an entertain ment complex, but in this chapter I argue the HLE is an edutainment complex that draws on the philosophies and structures of museum design for the purposes of public education. While the HLE most closely resembles the orchestrated model of museum design, t he Scriptorium is clearly dependent upon interpretive principles. The HLE needs the Scriptorium to legitimize its claims to museum status. Performances and lectures help to construct the virtuality (the collective hallucination that this is Biblical Jerusa lem), but in order to cultivate experiential authenticity, the HLE must be able to make certain claims to reality. By offering visitors a more traditional museum experience in the Scriptorium, including emblematic glass
129 vitrines, the HLE provides an anchor virtuality thereby enabling experiential authenticity In the following chapter, I will develop my discussion of theming as it is applicable to the HLE. Theming is the application of a narrative to an en vironment. Virtuality can be achieved by structuring a space like the HLE according to a specific theme or story. In the case of the HLE, that story is Salvation by Grace. The narrative of Salvation by Grace is also a heritage narrative a story of a partic ular past that has relevance to a group of people. Heritage uses memory and the process of remembering to engage visitors in meaning making and facilitate experiential authenticity.
1 30 INTERLUDE Journal July 1, 2008 When I was a child in Sunday school I learned Moses and the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years. I imagined the wind whipping scorched land into frenzies of dust, settling on sun burnt skin, clogging the corners of tearless eyes, and crusting the deli cate mucus membranes inside nostrils; cracked lips barely able to speak through grit encrusted teeth; tongues too heavy to plead. The arid land affects a slow suffocation. Its barrenness stretches patience and sanity, coaxing the mind into hallucination. Movement is simultaneously imperative and meaningless. ckly heats the interior of my black Toyota Camry, trying the aptitude of the air conditioning. easy, especially with gas prices increasing exponentially. Fieldwork has become a financial hardship. I find every trip significantly more difficult to justify. My field work should be finished, yet I concoct new reasons to make the journey. Just yesterday I asked one of my mentors if he wanted to go for a Holy Land experi interviewed any Jewish visitors. something, something bi state of transformation since TBN took over. I find myself thinking that maybe this next
131 have it the epiphan y. or clarity, no communion with a supreme being, no self transcendent experience? When I allow myself this honesty, the acknowledgment that I real ly am looking for an epiphanic moment that will result in some kind of to draw upon the concept and history of pilgrimage in order to help me make sense of my curre nt dilemma. I continue wandering.
132 INTERLUDE Journal August 28, 2008 A landscape haunts, intense as opium. -Stephan Mallarm When I was a child, Orlando seemed like a distant, exotic land of waking dreams and tangibl e fantasies. Technically only two hours or so from my rural, Zephyrhills home, Orlando and its delectable treasures was a world away from me as I grew up on a haphazard farm (more like a miniature petting zoo, except when the butcher visited). Thinking of home is dangerous. Home is sandspurs and redbugs, lazy Spanish moss and lightening scarred oak trees. Home is the incessant buzzing of mosquitoes and the suffocating density of summer afternoons; dappled shade and dried cow patties flaking into dust; Gol den R od and brown pollens powder the world, carried miles on a breeze; Sinusitus and swollen eyes; midnight skies dancing with constellations and the secret promises of the North Star; Mocking birds screaming as they careen over land laden with the bones o f pets long past; warm breezes on even warmer days; thrill and terror as impossibly opaque, stark white clouds are pressed forward by the deep iron darkness of a mid August thunderstorm; the poetry of crickets and frogs at dusk. Nostalgia is real. It move s through my chest, pulsating in my limbs. My fingers ache to touch something that will reconnect my longing soul with a tangible home. The pain swims behind my storm gray eyes. Eyes the color of the thunderstorms I fear and love. I was always proud that t he color of my eyes matched the fierce hue of a Florida storm.
133 Of course, I still live in Florida. Florida is not gone from me, nor I from her. But my Florida is gone. My home is gone. Some days, as I admire the tenacity of characteristics that will not change (lightening striking in my backyard, steady layers of rain pounding the grass while the sun still beams overhead), I sit and imagine a thousand years in the future, wistfully erasing the elaborate veining of the highway systems, freeing the ivy and weeds to creep over ruins of once modern buildings. I see the swamps swell and engulf the suburban sprawl that came and stole the cypress trees. My future When I moved to Massachusetts for nine months, I barely survived. Psych ologically, I teetered on the edge of despondency. Many factors contributed to my failed relocation, but the most enduring memory I have is a feeling of loss and to the land. The vistas were stunning and moun tain roads thrilling to a girl who had only driven the flatlands of Florida. Central al concept. It is embodied and manifests like any other illness. Symptoms are probably particular to the individual, but I fell truly ill. Plagued by fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, an epiphany and a plea. Up to this point, all I had ever wanted was to escape home, escape Florida. But in this moment I finally understood that we are truly bound together. Or at least I am bound up in Florida. My tea rs are salty rivulets flowing from the Gulf. As I huddled in the passenger seat of our little red Corolla, my husband guiding us down I 75, I shook with the immediacy of home. I cannot remember any other time in my life when I have cried with relief or h appiness. But as I rolled down the window and inhaled soggy air, feeling it settle on my skin and seep through the permeable layers into my body; as I watched the setting sun touch the tops of palms and pines, rays of light confidently stretching across th e sky holding off the onset of dusk, I cried. I cried like an
134 old adage. Home has ever ything to do with people and stories, but it also has everything to do with place. Physical, tangible spaces invested with meaning so that they become places. Home is about boundaries and about being bound.
135 CHAPTER 4 HERITAGE, IDENTITY, AND A CHRIST IAN HOMELAND Theming and Heritage at the HLE In the previous chapter, I proposed that the HLE draws on several design paradigms, but most closely resembles the orchestrated model of museum design and depends heavily on in situ display. Now, I consider ho w the HLE deploys the popular twentieth and twenty first century approach to environmental design: theming. Theming is often associated with leisure and entertainment venues, but is also characteristic of contemporary museum design. Essentially, theming is the organization of an environment around a particular narrative. Theming narratives often have to do with history, myths, legends, and fairytales. In The Disneyization of Society visitors in a life that presents a differen t time and place in effect generates and constitutes 1 In this chapter, I argue that the HLE is organized around the narrative of Salvation by Grace and uses a particular past, Biblical Jerusalem, as a theme. Because the theme o f the HLE is a story of a particular past, the HLE also functions as a heritage site. In general, heritage is a process of interpretation and performance of the past it is constituted through stories and is often concerned with place. T herefore, heritage c an be deployed as a theming strategy Heritage, as a process of selecting and embodying specific narratives (always at the exclusion or reduction of other narratives, thus becoming a past) creates stories about the past ; these stories then become theme s t hat organize institutions like the HLE Heritage is concerned with identity. As a design practice and process of cultural 2 Herit age is a discursive and performative practice that is both generated through and generates social and cultural narratives, which
136 intertwine with the individual narratives of visitors. In the following sections, I discuss the processes of theming and herita ge as relevant to the HLE, highlighting some of the most recent and relevant work in the fairly new interdisciplinary field of Heritage Studies. In particular, I am concerned with how theming and heritage create opportunities for visitors to engage in iden tity work. As a heritage site, the HLE offers visitors an experience of their spiritual homeland and a means of publicly participating in the narrative of Salvation by Grace. Because the HLE functions as a themed space and a heritage site, visitors must ne gotiate not only the blurry boundaries between entertainment and education, but also determine the import of their experiences at the HLE in relation to the broader scope of their lives. Theming A theme is a central idea that binds together elements int o a unifying and cohesive geographical representation in which meaningful connections are made among unifying 3 tion of a narrative to 4 A themed space, such as the HLE, is organized by a particular set of ideas or stories that constitute a perspective or frame through which visitors encounter and experience an environment. The narrative t hat structures the HLE is Salvation by Grace, the rescue of the human species by God through the persecution, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. All elements of the HLE in some way relate to the theme of Salvation by Grace As Bryman notes, themes o r narratives applied to sites are usually vaguely related, and often completely unrelated, to the site itself. The distance between theme and 5 In the case of the HLE, distance between site and them e is evidenced in all three areas. Obviously, a great physical distance exists between the HLE and Jerusalem. Add to this distance at least two thousand years. Then combine these enormous spaciotemporal distances with the conceptual distance between the sp here of the narrative spirituality/religion and the
137 sphere of the HLE resulting phenomenon is rife with contradictions. I f increasing numbers of visitors are an indication of effectiveness, th en the HLE, regardless of the contradictions and the distance between the narrative and the site, is effective in terms of creating a successful themed experience 6 How can this be? What do visitors find engaging and convincing about the HLE? Like so many other themed spaces, the HLE offers consumerism as a means of satisfying human desires. Visitors are literally purchasing their way into a space of performative faith. The desire to physically experience Biblical Jerusalem and walk in the tortured footstep s of Jesus is available for the price of admission. As with other themed spaces, souvenirs can be purchased inside the space These mementos function as objects of memory or tangible testaments: been there, done that. But the visitors to the HLE are also participating in another type of economy. They are actively engaged in the production and consumption of identity of faithfulness The theme that structures the HLE Salvation by Grace is a frame intricately bound up in religious history, ritual, myth, and the everyday practices of many Christians. As opposed to the overtly fantasy themed spaces of Disney, the HLE purports to be a themed space anchored in the lived practices of Judeo Christian culture. Intrinsic to the theme itself is the biography of Jesus 7 As Scott Lukas observes, themed spaces that pivot around the life history narrative of an order to facilitate an intimate connection between visitors and the honored individual. This is a particularly powerful notion when the honored individual happens to be Jesus Christ, the son of God and savior of world. It is a personal relationship with Christ that assures (Protestant) Christians entrance into heaven. or have heard others being asked this q uestion. It is the crux of Protestantism. This personal relationship is supposed to be cultivated through performances of faith prayer, worship and church attendance ; Bible study ; and using the teachings of Jesus as a model
138 for living. The HLE provides vis itors with the opportunity to physically encounter the life and death of Jesus, thereby developing a living, tangible relationship with the master Whether or not visito rs find or deepen their personal relationships with God, the do we know the stories and the songs? Can we answer the trivia questions projected on the television scree n prior to entering the Scriptorium? Do we want to participate in the call to altar solicited at the Special Prayer and Healing Service? As visitors determine their level of comfort and engagement with the various elements of the HLE, they are actively re/ constructing their identities. Because the HLE offers a site where identity work can take place and asks visitors to engage in re/constructing and performing their identities in relation to the theme, the HLE performs the functions of a heritage site. H eritage 8 History, though now a term and concept contested in numerous disciplines, is typically associated with public knowledge based on objective investigation and analysis and is located in w ritten texts. 9 Heritage, by contrast, is subjective, personal, and mobilized for particular, idiosyncratic purposes. Heritage is often communicated through embodied performances of cultural rituals When Dicks states that heritage is history made visitable she is referring to the visitability works to produce particular kinds of historical representation, which need to f visitors who are there primarily for identity 10 Heritage is a type of theming, an interpretive process germane to both contemporary museum philosophy and tourism. Heritage theming is an excellent example of how museums can employ popula r strategies of cultural display to increase visitability. As a mode of cultural production and display, heritage offers a visitor accessible version of an imagined past. Heritage functions as an access point for individuals who want to weave their biograp hies into a broader, public history. Within
139 the often elaborate staging of heritage museums, visitors participate in the (re)creation of individual and sociocultural identities. The HLE, because it is a simulacrum, would not typically be considered a her itage site. Heritage sites are mostly constructed in the geographical locations to which they refer. They are anchored in geographical actualities. Though the HLE is a simulation, I argue that it functions similarly to other heritage sites. Visitors come t o the HLE for numerous identity oriented reasons: to engage their identities as Christians or persons of faith or persons interested in the story of Jesus. Visitors come to experience a particular public history in an intensely personal way. The HLE offers visitors a chance to add their individual stories to the grand narrative of Salvation by Grace, while experiencing that grand narrative in a way that is private. This public narrative thus her life story. The HLE functions as a heritage site by offering visitors the opportunity to locate individual experiences within a grand narrative, a public history effectively animating that narrative bringing history to life Living History Museums In contrast to heritage sites that bring history to life, m useums using conventional display practices, such as glass vitrines, can seem like spaces of unnatural stasis. Objects are carefully preserved for posterity, detached from the living processes of their creation a particular past. 11 The label living history museum is often used interchangeably with the ter m heritage museum because both use heritage as the structuring theme. Not all heritage museums, however, utilize live performances, which characterize living history museums. Some heritage museums would more aptly be described as museums displaying heritag e collections. All heritage sites, whether they include live performances or not, work to represent history as lived, depending on in situ display practices (dioramas, preserved or restored buildings, tableaux, etc.). Living history, while not always rea nimating the
140 objects themselves, offers live performances of the object and its meaning. Dicks distinguishes two types of heritage sites (not mutually exclusive): sites that strive for reating sensory drama through technology, multi media display and high 12 13 Living history museums and simulated experience centers depend heavily on Kirshenblatt Gimb virtuality ( ) instead of actuality ( ). 14 Many living history sites fall into the category of simulated experience center because they incorporat e advanced display technologies in order to bring history to life. They are vulnerable to charge s of inaccuracy and subject to accusations regarding seriousness (they are too entertaining to be properly educational). Simulated experience models of heritage museums are controversial beca use of their emphasis on virtuality. Structurally, simulated experience centers are closely related to theme parks, which contributes to debates surrounding the increasing pervasiveness of edutainment philosophy. The HLE, because it can be classified as a simulated experience center, suffered criticism from Orange County Property Appraiser Bill Donegan for precisely this reason. These controversies and criticisms extend from popular and academic understandings of what heritage should be. Heritage has been traditionally defined as a 15 The focus on materiality in Western ideas about heritage has contributed to what Laurajane Smith refers to as a hegemonic heritage discourse or authorized heritage discou rse (AHD). 16 The AHD naturalizes a particular understanding of heritage that privileges things in themselves, such as locations (Jerusalem), built structures (the Dome of the Rock), and objects (Bibles). What it does not allow for, according to Smith, is th at heritage is not an innate and inherent property to be passed along; heritage is the process of meaning making that invests the tangible with the intangible. Smith contends, in contrast to many heritage unication and meaning making 17
141 as a heritage site precisely because Smith contests the importance placed on the object or location itself. Heri tage is a process rather than a product; it is a performance. Like experiential authenticity, heritage is achieved (or not) through engagement. What roles, then, do material items play in the performative process es of heritage and identity work? The materi al elements associated with heritage the sites and objects function as markers and symbols (the signs organized by the unifying theme making the space readable); they are the props and backdrops to the stories being told. When we understand the importance and usefulness of material objects and locations within this framework, the actuality of those objects becomes secondary. Heritage is located in experience, and accuracy of the actuality is less important than the collaborative hallucination generated thro ugh virtuality. The HLE is a completely simulated environment that references actual locations, but is not itself the site of the original events to which it makes reference. Thus, the HLE would typically not be considered a heritage site. Yet it functions in ways very similar to institutionally recognized heritage sites such and makes room for sites like the HLE, which perform heritage work. The HLE is a site where indiv idual and collective identities engage with, shape, and are shaped by a performed past. Turning to the Past Heritage is produced in the present (socially constructed) and itself is an engine of production, producing the past. Why are individuals turning to performances of a past to own, and institutions to bolster these claims, is fu 18 The HLE functions as an institution that bolsters the claims of Christians to Jerusalem as or even a migration in the actual sense a Ch ristian Diaspora exists in the Christian imagination.
142 Creating a Christian Homeland . traversing an imposing body of water to escape 19 The Israelites were a landless people who wandered the wilderness searching for their promised land. When the Biblical natio n finally settled, the land they chose became the Holy Land: Jerusalem. The Puritans, too, transformed their chosen land into a Holy Land by naming the topography after Biblical places, molding the cultural landscape in the image of the Biblical landscape. Americans were steeped in a history of nationhood that located the United States in a larger narrative of Biblical prophecy. As art Americans constructed for themsel ves was premised on a single metaphor . the United 20 The actual Palestine and Jerusalem became important as heir to the sacred topograp 21 In the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, Americans embraced the Holy Land as their ancestral home (conveniently disregarding the colonial relationship to England). Today, vestiges of this sentiment remain evidenced in Christian rhe toric, the 22 and heritage and lamenting some 23 Many people organize their leisure travel around exploring a past with which they feel a connection. Roots tourism has become particularly popular in recent years. Roots tourism, contends Paul Basu, is characterized by s ustained interest in seeking a metaphorical home, homeland, and homecoming; quests he describes as 24 25 Homeland is the 26 A homecoming, then, is the
143 process of returning to the homeland and home. The rhetoric of home, homeland, and homecoming has been used by diasporic communities like Christians. As Basu notes, generations) to seek to dissimilate themselves and recover a more distinctive ethnic identit 27 lective homeland. Today, the HLE can be understood as another manifestation of the Christian p resentation in which Christians are positioned as the inheritors of ancient Levitical traditions. The HLE, while claiming to be nondenominational, clearly tells the story of Jesus through a Protestant lens. Jesus is the hero, the main character, and all other characters are s econdary. (There are no saints at the HLE ) While the HLE does embrace traditions of Judaism and emphasizes the importance of the Old Testament, these elements are important insofar as they are f Jewish culture serve as strategy is nowhere as evident as in the Wilderness Tabernacle presentation. The HLE encourages us to determine who we are by showing us who we are not. Collectively Confiscating Jewish Ritual A gnarled old gentleman, short in stature and weighted down by a very long, very real white beard blows a shofar and ushers us into a nondescript building fronted by a canopy of sand colored canvas. As we enter, I squint to see while my eyes adjust to the heavy darkness. I sit in the front row of a small stand of bleachers and listen to the Wilderness Tabernacle presentation le ads visitors through the rituals enacted by the High
144 The Day of Atonement is the sixth of the seven feasts mention ed. It is probably the most solemn and holy of all the seven feasts of Israel mentioned in scripture. In fact, the Bible says if anyone works on the Day of Atonement, on Yom Kippur, the penalty would be death. . T hat was the day once a year that the Hig h Priest could go into the tabernacle. He would go from the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies, and there he would offer that blood sacrifice upon the altar; upon the Arc of the Covenant; upon the Mercy Seat of God. Not only for his sins of that year, but for the sins of all Israelites that were around the tabernacle. 28 As the next segment of the performance begins, the already dim lights are extinguished and our host walks into the scene and becomes the High Priest Aaron. A prerecorded shofar is trumpeted and a baritone voice sings in Hebrew. Then a narrator begins the story of the Tabernacle: I am an old man now, having grown long in years. My name? It is not important. You need only know that I am one of the children of Israel, of the family of Aaron, of the tribe of Levy. Unt i l my twentieth year I was a Hebrew slave in Egypt laboring with my brethren to build monuments and cities for Pharaoh. During our four hundred years of cruel bondage, we had begun to forget our culture, our heritage, our language, a nd worst of all we had begun to lose our faith in the Lord. But God heard our cries of affliction and sent Moses to deliver us dividing the red sea so that we might cross to free dom. I remember how Moses ascended Mount Sinai to meet with the lord and receive the Ten Commandments, along with the six hundred three other laws of our sacred covenant. And when he had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two ta blets of the testimony, tablets of stone written with the finger of God. And with these laws God also gave Moses precise instructions for the building of a portable place of worship that would reestablish the lord in our midst. 29
145 He describes the assembly of the tabernacle and the clothing the priests would wear. Aaron, we are told, was anointed the first High Priest. The narrator establishes his credibility by explaining he, being a descendant of Aaron, also served as a High Priest: man I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of those priests, tabernacle is at the center of the sacrificial system, and this ritual sacrifice would include the s hedding of animal blood. The narrator then describes the five types of daily desires to be deeply honored and satisfied through the burnt offering morning and evening everyday, He instructed Moses to build an alt a illuminates the altar of bronze on the stage ( see fig. 7 ). Our host, who is now silently performing t he duties of the High Priest Aaron, emerges from behind a screen off stage and approaches the alt a r. This begins the enactment of the ritual sacrifice of a lamb. We watch as the Priest hits the invisible lamb with an imaginary club and carries it to the al tar. The voice of God (an almost monotone have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls. For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul statement foreshadows the later use of Old Testament scripture to support Jesus as the Lamb of God who is the final bl ood sacrifice, atoning for the souls of all humankind. This performance links Jewish and Christian heritage for the purposes of providing contemporary Christians a relationship to the Old Testament and a sense of history and place otherwise absent from their cultural heritage. Christians may claim rituals associated with the practice of Judaism, such as Yom Kippur, and transform their meaning. The Tabernacle performance teaches visitors about more than the intricacies of Yom Kippur and the procedures of the Atonement ritual. It is a reminder of the importance of cultural heritage and positions contemporary Christians as the decedents of
146 our culture, our heritage, our l anguage, and worst of all we had begun to lose our faith in these concepts to God. The implication is that in order to cultivate faith and maintain a relationship with Go d, we must remember our culture and heritage. For Christians who facilitat es this link. The Jewish heritage is appropriated as Christian heritage, and for the purposes of the HLE Protestant heritage in order to anchor Protestants in a heritage that includes Jesus and his homeland The recorded section of the Wilderness Tabernacle performance ends as our unidentified narrator ponders the future of the ritual of Atonement while a silhouette of the Nativity is projected onto an elevated screen: Though I near the end of my years, I dare to hope that I will live long enough to see the glorious day when the children of Israel will leave the wilderness and cross into the Prom ised Land. And lately, I dream of a great temple where the Arc of the Covenant will reside ever after, and where our services will continue th r ough out our generations. Yet I wonder, is there more? Does God in his infinite wisdom have a greater plan for Hi s chosen people? Could it be that our blessed sacrificial system is merely a rehearsal, a shadow of wonderful things to come? Might the prophets of Israel be foretelling of a day when God will provide his perfect Lamb as a final sacrifice for the sin of th e world? Perhaps not in my own lifetime, but somehow I believe it will come to pass. 30 Now it is clear why this narrator never specifically identifies himself. The HLE develop ed a character who would not be subject to historical contradiction. If they had chosen to use one of the actual, documented High Priests who presided over the Levitical Priesthood, they could not have attributed this monologue to him. As long as this narrator remains anonymous, the only opposition is the unlikelihood that any Levitica l Priest would have thought, much less uttered these sentiments. The narrator argues the Jewish interpretation of Old Testament scripture, the HLE emphasizes the irrelevan ce of Jewish tradition to the point of insult. Using a High Priest and Yom Kippur as the vehicles of this
147 contemporary Jews simply ignore this fact. Worse, the narrator refers to Jewish sacred of Christians. Our host resumes his position at his podium and leads the audience through the n with a blessing found in Numbers 6:24. you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His barely a pause: His wonderful plan of redemption, the Lamb of God who gave his life for the sin of the world. Jesus the Messiah, praise God that our High Priest Jesus gave his life once and for all at the cross of Calvary so that this annual sacrifice for sin would not have to continue on forever. Hallelujah! We have a wonderful savior. at cross, that veil of the temple was rent, and now folks we can come only into the Thron e of Grace through the blood of Jesus? It all pointed to Jesus, and when you put your faith and trust in him as Lord and Savior, God promises to give you eternal life. Hallelujah! 31 for all at the cross of Calvary so that this annual sacrifice for sin would not have to ke, the HLE creates a n association (via appropriation) between contemporary Christians and an ancient Jewish community, while delineating the necessary differences between Christians and contemporary Judaism. Christians are the descendants of the Old Testa ment Jews and their traditions, but because of the fulfillment of prophecy, are no longer required to practice the rituals characteristic of those traditions. So Christians get to claim the Jewish heritage without identifying with contemporary Jewish commu nities. Jewish rituals are important insofar as they point towards Christian beliefs.
148 The Powerful Draw of Blood Many American Christians have journeyed to Jerusalem attempting to experience the ancient landscape inherently tied to Jewish and Hebrew tra ditions, touring the desert where the High Priest Aaron and the Israelites wandered and performed the rituals enacted in the Wilderness Tabernacle presentation. Such Christian tours to Jerusalem touri sm. Roots tourism is a subset of heritage travel, where roots tourists trace specific ancestry; their interests lay beyond the boundaries of national and cultural identity (social and community relationships) in bloodlines as they seek to identify their an cestors. Due to its finite objectives, roots tourism would seemingly not be an applicable concept for understanding the HLE. I believe, however, that because we are working in the realm of the metaphorical, it is appropriate and useful to cast bloodlines a s a figurative concept. Members of the Christian Diaspora can be understood as roots tourists who find in Jerusalem a blood connection. It is the blood of Jesus the shared genealogy of human salvation that Christians seek in the homeland. I choose to emplo y roots tourism, a subdivision of heritage tourism, because of the impetus seeking a homeland. Roots tourists use pilgrimage, quest, and homecoming as metaphors for processing and communicating the meanings of their journeys. Drawing on George Metaphors We Live By Basu defines metaphors as 32 Metaphor is a process by which we interpret our physical, emotional, and intellectual engagement with our 33 by these metaphors creat ing a horizon of significance against which individuals define th 34 Of these three metaphors, pilgrimage is particularly poignant in respect to the HLE. In the next section, I dis cuss
149 Field Notes: August 18, 2007 Before I could swat them away, the large droplets of sweat pooled at my hairline streamed down my temples into the corners of my eyes. I had been bat tling all day with my errant fluids. The August heat had already felled several HLE visitors; young kids whose flushed faces were testaments to heat exhaustion, as well as older adults huddled into shady corners or sprawled in chairs inside air conditioned buildings. They gulped down $2.50 bottled waters and vigorously fanned themselves with Welcome pamphlets. I look at Ellnide Lefevre with admiration. She sits relaxed and contemplative across the weathered wooden table underneath the overhang shading dine rs who dare sit bit self conscious in my purple HLE shirt as evidence of my increasingly damp underarms darkens the fabric. I know I look like a blotchy faced kid, su n burnt and dehydrated. M y staff badge, HLE shirt and khaki pants lend some credibility to my presence suggesting I am working in an official capacity for the park. The clipboard is a nice finishing touch. Today I want to try a different tactic in secu ring interviews. Maybe if I look official visitors will be more likely to spare a couple of moments and actually talk to me. ed It was almost 2:00 p.m. and, even though I had been on e than ten words from prospective interviewees. The ones who I had managed to corner quipped quick, one word answers to my ice breaker questions. After a quick assessment of my attire and the occasional cocked eyebrow, most of them determined I was an obstacle, in the way as they tried to experience the site. Or they simply looked right through me and towards their next destination. When I saw Ellnide sit ting alone at the Caf, I saw an opportunity to sit in the shade and maybe, just maybe, have a conversation. Ellnide graciously nodded when I
150 asked if she would mind answering some questions. At first, she was reserved and her But after several minutes of asking the questions on my survey sheet, I decided to go off script. I set my clipboard down. shakes her head and deliberately sustains eye contact. One delicate brow rises, emphasizing her seriousness and implicating but am still busy processing her previous comments. Tibet and India! I am awestruck. Romantic images of serene, snow capped mountains and emerald green landscapes distract my attention. I think, those are rea l immediately seem vapid in contrast to my dreams of Tibet. piscopal church. They come every year, but this is the first meditate or pray. I expected to h I nod. praying. The Ho are apparent disappointment in this location. the she just smiles.
151 ? She looks away. How does she make sense of this place? Am I pressing to hard? Will she not want to continue our conversation? I worry at my lack of interviewing prowess. Ellnide folds her hands and places them on the table, lightly beating a rhythm while she looks off into the sky. She ti lts her head slightly, and I know she is struggling experience. I think that it can. You can fi nd spiritual experiences in many types of places. When I was in Tibet, I climbed a mountain. It was difficult, but when I got to the top and 15 th pilgrims come from ar a holy place on that day. I think that the Holy Land is a holy place, but it just needs She continues thinking and I do my best not to interrupt. I want desperately to fill the silence, to ask more questions, but the most important thing I ever learned about interviewing is the value of silence. Keeping my mouth shut encourages the interviewee to fill the void. ontinues. arded clipboard and again raises that disciplined brow. I quickly pick up the pad and pen and make ready to write.
152 Like Mos es as a baby in that basket. of the water to take home. All of the gift shops could sell the water. I would buy it. It would be a spiritual memento. It would be more authen tic than the trinkets they sell in the relationships between pilgrimage, spiri tuality, tourism, consumption, and authenticity which Ellnide has just elaborated. My pause must have lingered a bit too long, allowing back at me. ord hang in the air between us. My time is up. I nod and smile, forcing myself to temporarily set aside all of the questions and connections spinning through my mind. Is the HLE a pilgrimage site? Can visitors experience something sacred in the contrived landscape of a simulation? What is real make the HLE a pilgrimage site? Is Ellnide a pilgrim or a tourist? Can she be both? and I know the HLE administrators will value your suggestions. I hope you enjoy the rest of Ellnide Lefevre is a pilgrim. She seeks spiritual e she can meditate and pray; places where she feels closer to God. 35 She prides herself on finding these locations and considers her motivations in this endeavor as superior to leisure travel. How she constructs her identity a s a traveler helps us understand how she perceives the Holy Land Experience as a destination. Ellnide came with her church to the HLE because she believed the HLE might offer the type of experiences she found in other holy spots. The HLE for Ellnide is, at least potentially, a spiritual destination.
153 ideas about what a spiritual destination should be affected her encounter with the HLE. She expected the space to be arranged in a way that encourages self reflexivity, devotion, and communion with God For her, this arrangement should have included a specific location set aside from the hubbub of the crowd, a space of quiet and contemplation, a space akin to a temple or church. Such as space did not exist. 36 s did not lead her to conclude that the presumably higher, than secular entertainments like Disney. But, Ellnide does believe that the HLE is missing something sig nificant a space to intimately commune with God, a place to pray Ellnide translates this absence as a lack of authenticity A t least at the time of our interview, Ellnide had not achieved experiential authenticity. Though she believes the site is a good spirituality/authenticity and commercialism/marketin g/fiction became muddled. She obviously understands the commercial needs of the HLE to market and sell products, as well as her own identity as a consumer interested in acquiring meaningful experiences and mementos (souvenirs). While Ellnide is performing the role of tourist, her earlier statements about spiritual travel, meditation and prayer suggest she is also a pilgrim. Pilgrimage is a performance of faith, the meaning of which is achieved (or not) in the process. Theoretical Approaches to Pilgrimage Victor and Edith Turner were the avant garde of anthropological studies of pilgrimage in the mid 1970s, proposing a theoretical model based on liminality and studied prei ndustrial ritual rites of passage, delineates three stages: separation (pre liminal), liminal, and incorporation (post liminal). 37 Pre liminal involves the practices of separation from home. Liminal refers to the acts of transitioning, being in between. The post liminal stage is characterized by communitas (incorporation). The Turners
154 investigate religious systems of societies through this theoretical lens and extrapolate Van In Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Cultu re Turner and Turner define pilgrimage by way of the destination, the site of pilgrimage. Pilgrims travel to sites that 38 Turner and Turner refer to the process o routine 39 This encounter is potentially emotionally challenged along the journey; thus, she is symbols. 40 pilgrimage site. 41 Pilgrimage enables empathy. Overlay ing this model onto the processes of pilgrimage has proven problematic because this model does not account for the complex, multiple motivations of travelers Scholars such as E. Alan Morinis, John Eade and Michael Sallnow have presented studies of diverse pilgrimage practices that resist the fixed and narrow structural framework set forth by the Turners, lobbying instead for a more flexible theory that allows researchers to consider the idiosyncrasies of specific pilgrimages. 42 Eade and Sallnow challenge th e inherent in the pilgrimage phenomenon. The pilgrimage itself is a site of dynamic relational sense making and the destination is a repository of individual and ins titutional 43 In understanding pilgrimage as a performance ( a process of engagement ) which may result in the pilgrim investing a space with religious/spiri tual meaning, the concept and ap plication of pilgrimage expands to include all manner of travel making it impossible for scholars to strictly define pilgrimage as religious.
155 Pilgrimage as Metaphor and Paradigm Pinning down pilgrimage as a bounded, defin able system (a thing in itself) continues to bewilder scholars. Here, I have no use for arguing for or against pilgrimage as a definitive system of human travel. Rather, I believe pilgrimage is usefully understood as both metaphor and paradigm. Pilgrimage as metaphor frames any type of movement (physical, visceral, emotional, intellectual, and/or spiritual) as a journey fraught with obstacles and hardships and results in some form of transformation. Pilgrimage as paradigm provides a model for any traveler w ishing to affect transformation. Various large scale, coordinated events, including the eleventh century Plymouth, and the Quaker City cruise (a boat full of nineteenth cent ury American travelers headed for Ottoman Palestine) have been described as pilgrimage. 44 Individuals also employ pilgrimage in order to narrate their personal travels. Nineteenth century American travelers often referred to themselves and their compatriots as pilgrims venturing through the sublime landscapes of Niagara Falls, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. 45 These spaces became invested with spiritual and religious meanings through the processes of pilgrimage. The dominant historical narrative of the settlement and expansion of the United States is framed as pilgrimage. Each November, many of us celebrate Thanksgiving, marking the survival of our forbearers, the Protestant Pilgrims who sought a Promised Land, or new Zion, in the American wilderness. This narrati ve is a function of geopiety, the reverential attachment of people to place, and has played a significant role in defining an American national identity. Geopiety is a concept originally coined by geographer John Kirtland Wright to describe complex relatio nships between people and geographical features These relationships are characterized by emotional responses often times expressed through religious language. 46 Cultural geographer Yi Fu Tuan elaborate s upon relationship between humans and nature as a reverential attachment to a place that embodies home. 47 The Christian Holy Land, as both imagined and physically manifest in of the birth of what is held to be the
156 48 Though most Christians in the United States cannot lay claim to Jerusalem through the kind of attachment Tuan describes their spiritual homeland. In an era often perceived as lacking stability and characterized by increasingly intangible interpersonal rela tionships (via the technological and communication commonplace of locations has . 49 In the United States, almost fifty percent of the population changed living locations between 1995 and 2000. 50 Transience and physical displacement strain the idea of home as a stable, immutable location. Cosmopolitanism and globalization affect a swirling, blurring maelstrom of social practices, rituals, and beliefs. Postmodern sensibility, which flaunts fluidity and deals in fragmentations, suggests contemporary familiarity (and a level of individual into a permanent identity crisis 51 This sense of in stability and in consistency, and the sense of alienation so often associated with postmodernity can be understood as the absence or loss of a metaphys 52 The HLE is a manifestation of a Christian desire for a metaphysical home located in a physical homeland. Many American Christians locate the ir spiritual roots in Jerusalem and understand themselves as people living in diaspora physically separated 53 This heritage urge is char acterized by a desire for connection and a sense of ownership or stewardship. Heritage is political (it involves territories and national identity and power) and the process of claiming a homeland (be it physical or symbolic) can result in conflict and bea rs the possibility of colonization. accusations that heritage sites and their visitors engage in sentimentalism and nostalgia. 54
157 There is no question that romanticism, sentiment alism, and nostalgia can affect how history is storied, leading to the silencing of alternative stories and voices. In a poetic elucidation of the paradox of the work of heritage, Kirshenblatt Gimblett states, he collecting of error an overture to its 55 Certain stories get told certain ways while others are forgotten. In the telling, rituals, practices, and traditions of peoples are objectified and categorized. In this med into heritage, safe for consumption. This archaizing of settlement of the United States, a narrative that frames the migration of the Puritans to North America as the pilgrimage of righteous peopl e to a Promised Land. A Portrait of Pilgrim History; Or Denying the Indigeneity of Native Americans As our small group of visitors moves into the next gallery in our Scriptorium tour, we are greeted by the sounds of a strong wind blowing across the bow of a harbored ship. We crowd into the narrow space and peer out over the wooden railing onto the near shore. Painted on a backlit screen is the image of a small congregation of settlers kneeling in a prayer circle ( see fig. 8 ) They are surrounded by the f rigid wilderness. Insufficiently clothed for the weather, without shelter, they appear to be facing certain death. The narrator begins to tell their story: As the Reformation struggled to gain a foothold in England and Europe, there were those who sought t heir spiritual destinies elsewhere. Y earning for the religious freedom denied to them in their homeland, they boarded the tiny ship Mayflower and set off from England on a voyage across the storm tossed lly, on December 26 th in the year 1620, one hundred two brave defenders of Christian liberty came ashore on the rugged coast of Massachusetts. Here, these pilgrims planted the seeds of their faith in Christ, which would soon blossom across the New World. [ The haun ting, hollow wind strengthens] . . Historians believe that the pilgrims, in their pursuit of religious freedom, carried Geneva Bibles to the New World aboard the Mayflower. In their pages the pilgrims found the strength they needed to endure
158 the permanent New England colony, a colony founded on the ideal of religious freedom. 56 In the painting, the male character located in the center of the prayer circle is thrusting his Bi depicted in the painting, announces: We came over this great ocean and were ready to perish. But we cried unto you Lord, and you heard our voices, and looked on our adversity. Let us therefore praise you Lord, because you are good, and your mercies endure forever. Yay, let we who have been redeemed of the Lord show how you have delivered us. 57 The voices of his followers sing Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow as we exit this scen e and find ourselves in the rustic Prairie Church. A choir sings a hymn accompanied by a fiddle. The narrator explains, In the 18 th and 19 th Centuries the vast, untamed North American frontier was filled with both promise and peril. It took a special comm itment and determination to spread the Word of God across such a tremendous expanse. In the shadows of the majestic mountains, in the solitude of the green forests, on the sweeping expanses of the great prairies, the indomitable American spirit was forged. That spirit comes across in the indigenous versions of the Bible produced by these steadfast missionaries. With bibles in hand, circuit rider preachers penetrated this new land, and courageous evangelists carried the message of the gospel to the outlying territories, and eventually beyond the shores of America. The Eliot Bible printed in 1663 is not only the first bible printed in America, it is also the first specifically translated and printed for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel to Native Americans As missionaries to the Algonquian tribe, the Puritans in their efforts heralded the beginning of missionary work in America, leading to American missions around the world. 58 We are given little time to process the story of our (American) birth and missio nary purpose before we are positioned for Conviction in the next chamber, the Hall of
159 constructs the ten minute tale to elevate the pilgrims as anointed warriors whose her oic efforts result in the salvation of a wild land and its people. This, of course, is not a new take on the events that transpired in the settlement and colonization of the Americas. I t forms the basis of the popular myth of our national genesis, which ha s only recently (in the last half of the twentieth century) been challenged. performance of nostalgic nationalism that effectively silences alternative stories and indigenous voices. T he story they choose to tell is common in its ignorance, playing on the sentimentality of any visitor who has grown up celebrating Thanksgiving with Charlie Brown, construction paper hand But the way t he narrator weaves the tale, its rhetorical construction, encourages visitors to accept and embrace the violence. the idea of freedom (with all of its contemporary connotations) with Christianity. The pilgrims, and thus Christians, are positioned as oppressed peoples forced from their place of birth into diaspora. By positioning the pilgrims as oppressed, it becomes conceptually difficult to think of them as oppressors. If they were fighting for religious freedom, how could they be oppressing other folks? In t his way, the story sets up the pilgrims as heroes whose actions must be righteous, rendering the subsequent violence invisible. The Pilgrim chamber alludes to the content of the following gallery, the Prairie Church, by foreshadowing Manifest Destiny. Th e Pilgrims are characterized as soon blossom (my emphasis). By describing the violent process of colonization and Manifest Destiny as a flower blossoming, the narrator establishes an image of growth, progress, and positivity. Visitors carry this association with them into the Prairie Church where we are encouraged to take pride in the success of our ancestors. T he Prairie Church narrative continu es to champion t he heroism of American settlers introduc ing some particularly aggressive
160 . peoples. Even as these descriptors suggest domination and violence, they have been somewhat neutralized by the existing framework of cultivation and progress established in the Pilgrim chamber. What is particularl y fascinating about the telling of this tale is the positioning of indigenous rather than wit ul placement, original location and in a sense, ownership. 59 To refer to copies of the Bible created in Ame 60 They are natural, thus their creators, too, are natural to the region. The settlers 61 Situating the settlers and their bibles as rightful and natural inhabitants of America displaces and denies the indigeneity of Native Americans and positions them for removal. The Puritans pilgrimage to North America did not foster empathy for the indigenous peoples associated with the pilgrimage site, as Turner and Turner hypothesized. Nor did the Puritan journey fit the strict definitions of pilgrimage outlined by Turner and Turner. The site to which the Puritans journeyed was not a sacred site associated with miracles, and their journey was not circul ar ; t hey stayed in North America. Yet the Puritan journey and settlement was and continues to be framed as and Turner. The Puritans embarked on a long, laborious, an d perilous trip to a far place, which they imaginatively constructed as holy. The Puritan journey can be understood as pilgrimage by employing the broader, performance based definition of pilgrimage defined by Eade and Sallnow. The Puritans invested North America with sacredness by imagining and overlaying that sacredness onto the landscape. For the Puritans, a process of dynamic, relational sense making.
161 In imagining their journey as a pilgrima ge, the Puritans constructed a specific framework through which to interpret their experiences. This framework was selective, emphasizing elements that reinforced a religious and spiritual tone, and position ed elements that could prove contradictory (the p resence of indigenous peoples in the Promised Land) within the established narrative (souls in need of saving or evil that must constructs a Christian heritage based on th e Puritan pilgrimage narrative. As evidenced in re/production is selective. When engaging a heritage site we must ask W hose stories are being told and whose are excluded ? Heritage has been criticized for more than its selective storytelling. It has also been criticized as a nostalgic rejection of the present, an effort to slow down the dizzying progress of modernity. Postmodern theorists such as Fredric Jameson may understa nd heritage as a desperate attempt to reestablish a linear, progressive narrative of our lives in the midst of postmodern fragmentation, and the dissolution of Self and History. 62 Postmodern understandings of identity (self) as mutable work almost paradoxic ally. Mutable selves mean we are empowered agents who can construct and shape our identities, but it also means our identities are not anchored (not stable or predictable). The ebb of the cultural tide can leave an unanchored identity flailing. Heritage of fers the flailing identity a buoy, if not a safe harbor. Heritage and Home as Catalysts for Change Heritage a particular self 63 Visitors to the HLE are able to compare their own lives to those of early Christians by witnessing the trials and tribulations performed in the various presentations. This self reflexivity engenders a 64 Gaining such a perspective can be a powerful catalyst to change, to do something differently. The HLE structures visitor experiences in order to cultivate this perspective and encourage visitors to change their lives outside of the HLE. The HLE uses h eritage to teach visitors
162 how to live in the present, rather than simply reject it or nostalgize the past. It is a means of reviving interest in contemporary Christian life and reinvigorating ideas of witnessing and ministry. The HLE uses heritage in order to make people think about their everyday lives and to do things now The final gallery in the Scriptorium is an excellent example of the HLE placing visitors in a position to see their own lives as other while petitioning them to do something to change their worlds. This gallery asks us to examine ourselves, our contemporary lives as other within the context of the historical narrative of Witnessing. communication t echnologies. After the overwhelming light and sound show in the Hall of Prophets where we are meant to feel Conviction, visitors move into a gallery arranged as a liv ing room in a middle class home large TV, attractive floral sofa, desk with computer, fami ly portraits hung in simple white frames on the taupe walls ( see fig. 9 ) It different version of our own homes. The space looks a lot like my last apartment; it is both f amiliar and strange. As we stand waiting in this living room, I feel like a voyeur. The automated narrator, who has guided us through the history of the technology of writing as it relates to the production and dissemination of the Bible, begins to speak: preservation and transmission of His glorious Word, we welcome you back to the time we know as Now, the 21 st Century. A time filled with distractions [sounds of a cat meowing, dog bark ing, and baby crying ] Because of the unceasing efforts and personal sacrifices of so many courageous people through the centuries, the Bible is more readily available to us now than ever before. And yet with all these distractions it is far too easy to ta ke this priceless gift for granted. What are you doing with the word of God in your world today? The Word of God contains the answers to all of your questions and all of your needs. May God grant you Grace and Mercy as you begin, continue, or reunite in th e study of his glorious Word, the standard for Truth. 65
163 According to the narrator, we have just rejoined the present, stepping back into our own time, our own lives. Building on the already established familiarity between the visitor and the living room, th e narrator continues to cultivate our identification with the space been sufficiently prepared (we can see ourselves in our own homes, assessing the similarities and diffe rences between this model and our actual residence), the narrator articulates the moral of the whole fifty you doing with the word of God in your directive. Assess yourse lf. The aesthetic distance engendered by this representation of my home allows me to see what is otherwise obscure or invisible. I have significant communicative technologies at my fingertips. Through the Internet, I have access to an international audienc e; access to the world. My potential for proselytizing is enormous! Inside this model of a living room, I can see my agency and my power clearly. I can also see my apathy. who sac rificed comfort, social respectability, and often their lives to study, reproduce, and make public the Bible. Now, in a time and place where distribution can even be accomplished electronically, what are we Christians doing to witness? The narrator is comp elling r elation to the visitors sharing this space? Who am I in relation to John Wycliffe or John A Good Christian. The narrator implies that many of us may find ourselves lacking when we eng age in this self assessment. But our identities can change; our identities should change. We are charged with changing the way we live our lives. The narrator asks God glo option. According to the narrator, we must do this now This compulsion to change to do differently is a political plea to act on behalf of our (presumed) community. In th is
164 space v isitors negotiate their identities as Good Christians and make decisions as to how they want continue their lives in the world. Memory, Memorials, and Dark Sites Heritage sites are spaces where individual and cultural stories are brought t 66 The living room scene in the Scriptorium effectively accomplishes the integration of the personal within the public. It is a space in which we are aske d to project our personal stories, our individual experiences. It is literally an exhibitionary space (a model inside of a museum) that is meant to evoke the private space of a home to provoke personal reflection and assessment. While visitors cannot phys ically mark the space with their individual biographies, the space feels full of thousands of thoughts. Visitors to the HLE become a part of the public narrative of Christianity. In the Scriptorium, we become the next chapter in the narrative of Witnessing In other areas of the HLE, we participate in and thus become part of the meaningful cultural narrative of chosen identities. In doing so, this larger cultural narra tive becomes a memory, a tangible story. Inherent in the practice of memory, and thereby heritage, are the processes of forgetting and what Kirshenblatt 67 The arch aizing of errors is exhibited in the story of American settlement told in the Pilgrim and Prairie Church galleries in the Scriptorium. In telling certain stories certain ways, other stories are overlooked and forgotten. In the telling, rituals, practices, 68 heritage, safe for consumption. Genocide is a particularly dramatic, though apt example. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D C has safely packaged the atrocious violence and annihilatory practices of the Nazi regime into a heritage experience intended to educate and memorialize. The HLE has effectively accomplis hed a similar objective: packaging the violent assassination of a man named Jesus for the
165 Christian heritage and the HLE serves as a memorial. Memory is mobilized as a technolo gy of heritage at the HLE. Memory Memory is subjective, selective, partial and always contingent. Therein lay its beauty and its frailty. Memory is performative through its articulation, memory performs the past. The act of memory is action, an exercisin g of agency, a body practicing what matters. It is a process of sense 69 Memory is both individual and communal linked to heritage through human desire. Heritage depends on groups of people wanting to remember and memorialize events. In the case of the HLE, visitors engage in a contribute to the continual recreation of this particular past through the framework of the constructed in the present and are collectively legitimized i n that they make meaningful common interests and perceptions of collective identity. They work to bind the collective 70 resurrection enables the collective identity Christian Like nations, Christian is an imagined community because, while impossible to fully assemble at any given time or place, it exists as a community in the minds of each member. As Benedict Anderson 71 That said, collective memories are not static or uncontested. Through the present . [of] the values, meanings, and ideologies represented in the links individuals and g roups establish 72 by Grace, they are actively negotiating the values, meanings, an d ideologies represented
166 individual position (their values, interpretations, and ideologies) in relation to the HLE, other visitors, and the larger (imagined) Christian communi ty. Memorials and Dark Sites As visitors engage in the recreation and performance of the collective memory of Salvation by Grace, they are participating in memorialization, constituting the HLE as a memorial. Memorials are performative manifestations of do in memento mori ). While the HLE functions as a living history museum, it also acts as a memorial to the life and death of Jesus Christ. It is the anamnesis of which Scott Lukas speaks when d escribing spaces that focus on the life history narrative of an individual. Rather than being a general anamnesis, though, the HLE is the anamnesis, in its Ecclesiastical sense. Anamnesis is the component of the Eucharist 73 ion, and Ascension of 74 On a daily basis, the HLE memorializes the martyrdom of Jesus. Memorials have been studied by researchers interested in what has been termed dark tourism. Dark tourist sites are spaces associated with death and/or destruct ion, and that invite visitation by employing dark themes themes anchored in pain. Usually, these spaces are popularly understood as spaces of commemoration or memorial. In this sense, the HLE can be understood as a space of dark theming and dark tourism. L ukas claims symbolism of death, concepts of destruction, or intimations (emphasis mine). 75 Lukas sees clear distinctions between dark theming and dark to urism. While he acknowledges the relationship between the two, he contends that dark theming around death or tragedy by their nature of being less clearly defined as heritage sites of real death or dep ictions of real death, and being between education and entertainment [that] invite discourse that is at 76 Dark tourist sites are more concretely related to the tragedies they mark (the actual concentration c amps that housed and executed Holocaust victims).
167 s regarding dark tourism are applicable here for instance, his reinforcement of the dichotomy entertainment/education what is important 77 These are spaces where individual sensibilities collide with the public staging of dark narratives. People choose to visit these dark sites and engage in the performances. For our purpo ses, sites that employ dark theming are sites of dark tourism. In Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster John Lennon and a growing phenomenon in the late twentieth and early twenty 78 Lennon and Foley define dark tourism as a subgenre of cultural tourism and a product of postmodernity. Specifically, dark tourist sites can be identified as sites whose themes engage some type of destruct ion, catastrophe, or death which has occurred in recent history (post Titanic). 79 is informed by t he traditional view of the separation of sacred and secular travel The authors recognize that sites of death have historically attracted interest and visitation, often in the form of pilgrimage. They briefly discuss pilgrimage, but only in order to distinguish pilgrimage from dark tourism. According to the authors, pilgrimage is usually associated with sites of 80 They make theoretical distinctions between pilgrims and dark tourists based on motivation the pilgrims apparently w ith some and dark tourists there from happenstance while simultaneously acknowledging that little research has been done to back up claims regarding visitor motivation. Thus, they are unable to explain if and how meanings differ between pilgrims and visito rs of dark tourist sites. problematic, the foundations for dark tourism they outline are useful in developing more nuanced understandings of the functions of sites like the HLE The authors set forth three technologies to create interest and collapse space and time; 2) the space introduces
168 cative elements of sites are accompanied by elements of commodification and a commercial ethic which (whether explicit or implicit) accepts that visitation (whether purposive or incidental) is 81 The HLE is const ituted by technology, uses and advocates the use of modern technology for Witnessing, and questions the lack of use of this technology in the progress of the gospel. Progress and technology are especially applicable to questions of the success of modernity The HLE also emphasizes the Bible as technology (the technology of writing and replication and distribution of that writing) and uses actual Bibles as illustrative artifacts. Lennon and Foley also note that dark sites are increasingly characterized by discord as stories of nationalism are being refashioned to include not only tributes to memorials). 82 The refashioning of sites to reflect the newest retelling of a story exemplifies the process and implications of selective memory when re/constructing and memorializing a past. For instance, at the HLE opulent props and settings complicates the story of Jesus, the simple carpenter, by visually contradi cting the parables performed in the space. One example of this contradiction is the introduction of a military presence by way of Roman Centurions. Where the HLE originally employed several actors to patrol the park in Centurion costumes, challenging visit ors and posing for photos, once the site was purchased by TBN, the space was also fitted with numerous imposing statues of Roman soldiers ( see fig s 1 0 and 11 ) experiences of t he narrative of Salvation by Grace. Rather than cultivating a sense of peace and communion, the HLE now pulsates with intimidation, fear, and a strong sense of imperialism. Add to this the fact that the new security personnel carry actual weapons (guns) an d security cameras are now found throughout the facility. The violent past being created for visitors to experience is made acute by these performances of physical and panoptical power. While the space has always been organized around the crucifixion of Je sus, the constant sense of surveillance and domination affected by the actual and
169 spontaneous violence. lve some element of 83 At the HLE ideological and theological elements do dominate. The HLE establishes parallels between the past they create and the present in which vi sitors dwell. In the Scriptorium, this is accomplished through the Living Room g allery. In the HLE proper, the HLE reference to Christians as soldiers for Christ. (In Sunda Healing Service, the HLE positions visitors as soldiers in battle for the salvation of the world. Onward Christian Soldier Rick and I rush to get to the alternative entrance in the Shofar gift shop before it closes. We are five minutes late. The Special Prayer and Healing Service has already started. fifth row towards the center. Five performers are on stage, four are recessed as a chorus. The male performer leading the service, acting as Minister, implores the audience are battling those things that just want to drag you down in you mind, come let us pray the The back Rick and I watch as people stream to the front, grasping one another in prayer; we are flanked by people whose hands are raised in pra ise and supplication and desire. I feel as though I am peeking at those private, written prayer requests deposited in that podium in the prayer garden. I feel like a voyeur. Anyone who happens to look at me will see that
170 I am a voyeur: watching, judging, s keptical. And I am afraid they will see me. So I sway that I am a part of t his community; that I am feeling the pull of communitas I sit stiff and afraid and ashamed. This feels nothing like the calls to altar I grew up with, the calls that stirred my senses and pulled me towards the altar and maybe, just maybe towards release, relief, hope, God. No. This feels like plastic and glitter. emotion, and as I watch him summon tears that he consciously allows to streak his cheeks, I become nauseous. He begins his testimony. He has a thirteen year old child who allowing the tragedy. Ultimat ely, Minister (shedding tears, because it is necessary to his He feeds off the crowd, seeing raw yearning contort their faces into masks of almost pain. Their lack the holes they feel in their lives are gaping wounds almost visible through their tightly scrunched eyes. I look at Rick. He looks at me. Our eyes are supposed to be closed. Minister sees our open eyes, and I feel like he knows that I know what he is doing. Minister sees me seeing his power. As I sit there unmoved in the ways I am supposed to be moved, I know the power of this man on the stage, and feel just the edges just the minute tendrils of what he must be feeling. To orchestrate a room full of souls willing to cry and speak and pray and move, to direct their energy and carefully stoke their emotions, their passions, and their faith, like a controlle d forest fire that is intoxicating power! And he is expertly directing their energy. Break them down, and then build them up. H weapons of worship and change the atmosphere.
171 of worshipping warriors that has the power to change the atmospheres of their lives and the lives that they touch! And father I ask that you would just raise them up to be voices that speak your Truth. . This world expects an army of mighty, equipped, proper, upright looking kind of people, and God is just likely to take a band of least of these, broken down misfits like us and form with His power and His glory a Mighty Glorious Through this performance, the HLE reminds visitors of the social and physical power latent in the Christian (imagined) community. The dark elements that rhetorically position visitors as soldiers seem like an allusion to the Crusades (go ye therefore and take all nations), and may also remind visitors that the United States is currently at war with Afghanistan and Iraq, wars popularly conceived as religious (pitting Christians against Muslim the militaristic elements at the HLE impacts the way the story Salvation by Grace is told. This interpretive shift affects individual memories created. As Lennon and F tourism. 84 Memory (collective storying) and remembrance (collective marking) are also central to heritage. Thus, many heritage institutions can also be classified as dark sites. Here I return to Le Why go to dark sites? Lennon and Foley propose that visitors are attracted to dark sites as a result of the postmodern condition of desensitization in part created by media saturation. Our fami liarity with images of pain via the mass media leaves us in what the authors refer to
172 85 In other words, we seek out mo re acute experiences of pain and suffering so that we can feel because we have lost our ability to feel from our constant exposure to pain and suffering via the media. In a sense, what Lennon and Foley are claiming is that visitors to dark sites are, like visitors to heritage sites, engaged in identity work. They are attempting to retrieve or recreate their identities as empathic human beings. For heritage visitors, identity is clearly implicated in motivation. They visit sites that somehow contribute to their sense of self, and allow them to locate their positionalities in broader, sociocultural events. Dark theming adds another layer to the horizon of significance a visitor defines themselves against. It complicates interpretation and sense making. How c an we make sense of our experiences in a space located among theme parks, which uses technologies characteristic of theme parks, yet functions as a heritage site (a point of access to a particular past organized by a collective memory), and also asks us to participate in the violence of torture and assassination? Who are we in relation to this complex? Tourist? Seeker? Voyeur? Through the careful selection and articulation of stories, the HLE provides guidance to visitors trying to make sense of their expe riences in the space. Conclusion In this chapter, I discussed the HLE through the framework of theming. Theming is the process of applying a narrative to a site. I identified heritage as a specific type of theming having to do with individual and group relationships with a particular past. Heritage functions as an access point, allowing visitors to engage in identity work. Visitors locate themselves, their personal stories, within the context of a broader sociocultural narrative. The HLE functions as a h eritage site by employing the grand narrative of human Salvation by Grace to organize a space, creating an access point where visitors can engage and locate themselves in relation to this narrative. It offers a space where visitors can re/create and public ly perform their identities. . 86 It is about journeys and it is
173 the creation, recreation and legitimization of social and cultural bonds and identity in the 87 88 Why are contemporary individuals turning to the past to engage in identit y work? If we follow John Berger, it is 89 These conclusions, of course, are by no means conclusive; they shift and transform based on the present circumstances of their construc tion. The past, pliable though it is, offers an illusion of stability, of roots, and continuity. In this sense, the HLE can be understood as a manifestation of Christian desire for roots, for a homeland. Such approaches to the past have been labeled nost algic and sentimental and have 90 In a post industrial, postmodern world of globalization and fragmentation, where identity is fakery and simulation of the present, yank ing back red velvet curtains in an effort to find the backstage. 91 Heritage visitors are engaged in their own search for authentic tourists, heritage visitors find only a nother representation of an imagined place and time. 92 But for many heritage visitors, like many tourists, this is enough. They find what they are seeking experiential authenticity They find a virtuality with which they can identify. Sometimes, they find a metaphysical home. Heritage, however, is not an innocent process. Like all manifestations of memory, it is partial, contingent, and mutable. It is selective storytelling. The HLE chooses to tell ens, referencing traditions and demonstrated in the Wilderness Tabernacle presentation. The HLE enacts Jewish rituals in order to re/create a connection between contemporary Ch ristians and the Israelites, and then uses those rituals to legitimate Christian doctrine, anchoring Christian identity in Jewish heritage, and fostering a sense of cultural ancestry and continuity. In this manner,
174 es, providing a link to the Israelites who sought the Promised Land, and offering a cultural and historical anchor. Kirshenblatt Gimblett presence, the vitality, the surviva l of [Christians] themselves. What visitors discover [at 93 The HLE is a stage upon which visitors can celebrate their connections to a homeland in the absence of the actual Jerusalem. They can celebrate the continued presence of their faith in nostalgic nationalism, positioning the missionary settlers as indigenous to the continent, and thus effectively situatin g the Native American population for displacement. In this chapter I also introduced the concept of dark tourism, arguing the HLE is a dark site because it memorializes a dark event, the torture and assassination of Jesus. Everything at the HLE pivot 94 As performances of this nar rative, they are also creating individual memories of a particularly violent experience. In the following chapter, I will discuss the performance of
175 INTERLUDE Journal October 30, 2008 is caught up in the work I do. How does identity manifest at the HLE? Who am I in relation to the HLE? These questions had at one point not long ago kept me awake at night. But now they are overshadowed dwarfed really by questions of my identity as an academic. An article I submitted to a journal was rejected. Rejections always make me questio n my intellectual acumen a nd my place in the academy. Rejections are about can pick myself back up after a thorough thrashing. Can I pick up and move on? Thus far, the answer has been Yes whispered on a sigh and stuffed into another file folder But this recent reject ion is different in no small part due to context. Not only has my intellectual rigor been challenged and found desperately lacking, but my integrity has been assaulted. Does my research hurt people? Am I truly irresponsible with the stories entrusted to my care? While these allegations are far more serious than any ever leveled at my work before, I think I would still be able to file them and move on. Except that my world has changed. My journey has shifted, and the landmarks I once clung to for guidance are gone. Dr. Patricia Hop was the reason I began this journey. She showed me it was possible to live in a world where knowledge creation is a daily occurrence. She bled red ink to shape me into an articulate, critical teacher r work is left unfinished. Since I was informed of her death, I have been obsessing about her
176 forever unfinished? Rick looks at me as if I am mad, worrying about unfinished research projects. The woman is dead; she is past the point of caring about her job. But I continued to obsess, and at her memorial service two weeks after her death I asked a colleague if she knew what would happen to Dr. Hop ead. So why have I been obsessing about Dr. Hop unfinished work? I realize: because her unfinished project. She left before I was complete. Hop consistent contact with her, I knew she was there She was a pillar, solid and tall and finished. Two days before Dr. Hop Rose my former advis o r, the once chair o f my dissertation committee, and a woman I deeply admire. She is so different from Dr. Hop yet so similar: strong, terrifyingly intelligent, loved by her students, committed to her work and to social justice in academia. Rose was denied tenure. This shif t in her academic career also changed her involvement in this past year of my life. She stepped down as my chair, and we knew we would be applying for some of the same jobs. It was awkward and frightening. Rose had been a model for who I wanted to be as an academic. And now her career had tumbled around her. Two days before Dr. Hop Rose told me she was leaving the Two mentors gone; two strong, capable women gone. They were my heroes. They are my warning. Dr. Hop sacrificed personal relationships to break the glass ceiling. She worked within the system to change the system at the expense of her
177 personal life. She was lonely and isolated and drank in the middle of the d ay (a habit I, too, adopted) Rose worked against the system to change the system at the expense of her career. While surrounded by friends and people who loved her, she still seemed lonely and isolated. I feel myself slipping into numbness, a self impos ed isolation? I feel myself slipping into apathy; into disregard; into a weightless liminal space of fuzzy white gauze and days that are indistinguishable from nights. I feel myself slipping away from the love and support of a partner who sees the possibil ities of our tattered future. I feel myself I allow myself to wade into the deep end of self pity. I am lost .
178 INTERLUDE Good Friday Field Notes: March 21, 2008 Rick and I rest on a bench n ear the Judean Village waiting for the second showing of the Last Supper at 4:35 pm. Across the path, visitors are having their pictures taken with some of the Judean villagers, a female character named Rifka and a male character named Simeon. As the visit ors walk away, I notice Simeon noticing us. Simeon is a tall white man in his thirties who has worked for the HLE for three years. He meanders Something in his manner makes me uncomfortable conversation. u? Can I ask you a personal Rick and I hesitate, warily glancing at one another, fearing the intrusion and the inevitable proselytizing. Seeing our hesitation, Simeon wisely decides to appeal to my latent researcher self.
179 were standing before God on judgment day, what would you say if he asked you why he t takes me just a second to realize that that is just rephrased. I stammer, I guess I would say because I believe Christ was his rather than the statement I intended. to be a humane and kin ke a traitor, but I am overcome with the need to deflect attention away from myself. Rick looks shell shocked, but at least he has had a couple of seconds to think about the question. to buy that. He raises his eyebrow and shoots me an incredulous look. Apparently there is a right answer. give him the answer. I knew exactly what he wanted to hear. H e wanted me to say that I Pan ic and adrenaline blur the moment. should let me into heaven because I did the best that I could to live a life marked by kindness and generosity. I tried to positively contrib ute to our world .
180 Before Rick can finish his sentence, Simeon, seeing a chance to witness, abruptly interrupts. So begins a long, dizzying question and answer session where Simeon asks us to Rick and I answer with relative ease, but I keep over thinking the questions, not yet aware of the overarching narrative being weaved by our answers. Not yet understanding that it is in the best interest of Simeon ( and the G ospel ) to keep the se questions simple so that peop le can answer and feel good about their knowledge of the Word. Of course, t he scriptures Simeon is quoting narrate the path to salvation. Its just When we ask him to repeat one passage for clarificatio n, Simeon stumbles. No m e sh paraphrasing of his original statement Simeon is working from a script and we have interrupted his rhythm. He has trouble reestablishing his location. A s he makes another attempt at repeating his original lines, I wonder who writes these scripts and how many alternative scenarios exist? Is this the designated script for soul in need of saving? Would this uncomfortable situation be occurring if Rick had pr ofessed to being saved? Probably not. What other situations do performers anticipate? How many scripts exist? Simeon has recovered from his slip and has begun the final scripture he wants us to interpret. hould be easy for you two. Okay. b ecuase John 3:16 is the most famous scripture in
181 Simeon, missing the slight edge of sarcasm in my voice, continues on soul. Simeon is now absorbed in the zeal of witnessing, the God speak spilling forth like an unstoppable tide. and extend s your sins and pray to Jesus? Will you profess faith in Christ and ask him to save your Rick is visibly uncomfortab le. He shift s his body left and then right, glanc es over his shoulder as if seeking an escape route and But Simeon is dazzled by his own rhetoric, enamored by his own performance of heathen lifestyle in New York c ity and the path to destruction and hell he was on: drugs, sex, flagrant le about me. I was drowning in isolation and self pity. Then, I found Jesus, man. And Jesus grows. He inserts lots of s his call and they are questions.
182 smile and partial on his face. Rick is tiring of the conversation, tiring of humoring this aggressive man who wants to ensure his gauntlet and ending this interaction. What would I have done had this happened? Would I have allowed him to be goaded into a profession of faith? I like to think I would have stopped it by intervening telling Simeon that enough was enough. Maybe I would have reminded Simeon that we agreed to answer his questions because it would make interesting copy for my book. Rick heme in other ways, so why not this? to pressure Rick into conversion. Apparently, Rick interrupted by a man who wants his picture with Simeon. A reprieve for Rick who levels a pleading and annoyed look at me B ut the break seems to be enough for Rick to breat he and collect himself. I turn and watch Simeon join the man for a photo. What I am witnessing is the negotiation between good Christian and park employee. Simeon swivels quickly, poses and smiles. Over his shoulder, as the picture is being snapped, he g ives me a quizzical
183 and apologetic look that seems to say, twenty seconds Simeon is back to focusing on the salvation process and my notepad. When he rejoins us, Simeon is very interested in my note taking, o r more aptly, my lack of note taking. He scans my pad and finds the page empty From the beginning of this episode, Simeon has kept close tabs on my notebook. I watch as he assesses the empty page. to stop taking notes while speaking with employees because they always lean in and try Appeased, he launches back into his monologue, becoming increasingly a nimated. Every few seconds he glances my way to see if I am now writing. So I scratch out the profess publicly He describes a train with an engine, a coal train, and a caboose. The caboose represents our feelings, being drug along (or guided) by the ctions and is the fuel that powers the train. The coal train represents our faith. I scribble as fast as I can, filling the empty page. you now pray with me and accept I thought he would be annoyed that I interrupted yet another attempt to get Rick to profess belief. Instead, he is excited. the metaphor.
184 Fascinated by his willingness to temporarily forsake Now completely off script, Simeon rushes into an explanation of a confusing metaphor about jumping from a plane with a loosely fastened parachute. Several more half formed metaphors follow, but he gives up on finishing them when he sees they heard. I suspect he is developing it on the spot. store that sells it, or the manufacturer? Well, obviously the manufacturer and God is the manufacturer of us! He created us, so it makes sense that he knows how we function and I write this down, unconsciously straightening out his logic and making the me taphor sound far more lucid than it actually is. He grins broadly as he watches me write it down. Simeon turns his attention back to Rick and I continue to write notes, now focusing on rec ording the beginning of our conversation with Simeon. I vaguely hear Rick telling Simeon about his trip to Cuba and his spiritual awakening. Simeon ignores that Rick is on a spiritual journey. ing. You may feel like you are finding a
185 As Simeon asks this question for the umpteenth time, my patience begins to wane. . sentence, theme park Rick and Simeon bot Simeon gives me a skeptical look, quirking his eyebrow. Sara the Christian should have known the answer to that. Sara the Christian shouldn t think of the HLE as just a theme one people appropriate surprise and awe, and the surprise is real. I am struck by the specificity of the number. Someone keep s count A specific accounting of souls saved. As Simeon turns back to Rick, I look at my watch and realize we will be late for I recoup my researcher persona, pulling the survey flyer and a business card from my bag. we want to see the Simeon. In a clear demonstration of power, I snap my notebook shut and stuff it into my bag, signaling to Simeon that the official documenting of his performance is over. He takes the hint and in a quick, last ditch eff instantly improve s knowing the conversation is ending He smiles. of W It was really nice talking to you. And really i nformative. Would you mind ta Could he get in trouble? Could I be compromising his emp loyment? He hesitat es then answers,
186 Sim His desire to be known wins out. get g I find it strange that he apologizes. It seems to me that the work of witnessing and saving a soul is far more important and immediate than watching a musical drama. I think here, Simeon and Mic hael are wrestling. Simeon has a job to do as a park employee answering to a higher call save this soul. I see these thoughts flick across his face as he negotiat es this dilem ma. Simeon wins. The entire conversation lasted around twenty mi nutes. Most of the religious content (the actual scriptures) were lost to me. I answered questions instinctually, drawing, I suppose, on the years of inculcation growing up in a Baptist church. What captured my attention was the complexity of our performan ces, the layers of meaning created as Simeon, Rick, and I attempted to negotiate our multiple roles. Throughout the interaction, I found myself torn between my researcher persona and Sara as wife/lover/friend. The episode with Rick and Simeon challenged m y he was really disturbed by the interaction; he described it as extrem ely aggressive, (while this is an obvious overstatement, there are few things that Rick finds as invasive, aggressive, and hurtful as Christian proselytizing). I this episode would be useful to my research. While I feared a heightened conflict knowing that Rick hates
187 confrontation, I also wanted to see how this would play out. I wanted to know how Simeon would handle this situation. I apologized to Rick afterwards but he said that he make a space for his own beliefs, relationship with God, an d philosophies of spirituality. I told Simeon what he wanted to hear. I am what Simeon would term a backslidi want him to know this so, without Simeon asking directly, I offered up the information that I am saved and a believer. This is not necessarily a lie, but neither is it true to my current spiritual state. I knew what he wanted to hear. I knew that this was the easy way out of a problematic and possibly volatile conversation. I also believed that I could compromise my position in the park and my research if I professed my doubts and questions. It was a split second decision that was instinctual. I wanted Simeon to believe that I am a believer. I wanted him to trust me so that I could garner information and lienating him by revealing my lost faith. Rick took the chance. He tried to explain his awakening on a trip to Cuba and his subsequent encounters with religion and philosophy. But true to the stereotypes, Simeon wanted affirmation that Rick was saved. Jou rneys and quests are not sufficient here. As Simeon consistently stated, in order to be saved a person must verbally state acceptance of Christ Salvation is achieved through the public profession of belief. In this sense salvation is performative. Faith a nd belief are created in the performance of salvation, in the saying. Salvation is about the product the testimony, the confession and profession and the words. Simeon needed to hear those words from Rick in order to succeed in his conversion endeavor, but not saying those words. By refusing to state his acceptance of Christ, even to end this terrible battle, Rick performed his faith in the p rocess of spiritual development he has chosen to follow.
188 As for Simeon, he is a follower of Christ both inside and outside the park. His character would have been charged with spreading the word of Christ two thousand years ago. His real life persona as multiple roles including entertainer, preacher, and spiritual guide. My presence offered Simeon other roles infor mant and celebrity. Simeon wanted to give me that interesting information for my dissertation. He wanted to be a hero in my book. He wanted to demonstrate to prove to me and the world that he is a good and faithful servant, a true Christian. He vacillated between his character, Simeon the Tanner, and his outside persona, Michael, constantly looking to me, making eye contact and seeking my face and my notepad for confirmation that I was recording this moment. I offered Simeon the opportunity to successfully from the depths o f hell right in front of me.
189 CHAPTER 5 AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH Field Notes: March 21, 2008 We stand behind the painted red lines, the barrier between our bodies and the Way of Sorrow, the Via Dolorosa. We knew he would come, carrying the cross along this Roman Centurions in the re, his tattered white robe dusting the cement beneath his feet. The wooden cross is heavy; his shoulders hunch under the weight. I see the crown of thorns. I see the blood that spills from wounds inflicted by the flagellation. * When I was a c hild, I would sit motionless in the hard wooden pews listening to the pastor give another tedious sermon concerning how we, as individuals and as a society, had done wrong. We have been born into sin and we will die in sin. But, because God sacrificed his son Jesus Christ, we can live forever (either with or without corporeal form, depending on whose interpretation you believe). Christ embodied, lived and died the ultimate sacrifice. His body endured torture and crucifixion. The Christian narrative is ancho red in both the rhetoric and lived experiences of bodies. Yet, historically, the human body has been denigrated and banished to the realm of the profane. Demonizing the human body in Western history began in the age historians term the long Reformation, a pproximately 1300 to 1700 C.E. in Europe and the American colonies. Catholics and Protestants engaged in debate over the definitions of religion and, specifically, what constituted the sacred and profane, with the sacred signifying that which transcends th e world and the profane that which is of the world. 1 People lived their religions through everyday embodied practices concerning their material welfare. Religion was embodied in approaches to the economy and health.
190 Meredith McGuire, scholar of religion an quotidian needs, such as healing, fertility, protection from adverse fortune, and obtaining desired material good s during the period of the Long Reformation 2 As the boundaries between sacred and profane were honed and reinforced, daily embodiment was relegated to the profane. The mind became associated with reason and th e body with emotion. Previously acceptable obtaining it, preparing it, serving it, eating it unacceptable and often labe led dangerous or blasphemous. 3 Religious institutions were able to exert more control over people through these definitions. Institutional and social c ontrol over the body soon followed. The philosophical and theological separation of body from mind and t he subsequent alignment of the spirit or soul with the mind have eclipsed the importance of religion as lived through corporeal practices in the contemporary United States Even though Christian rhetoric routinely refers to the body of Christ (especially i n the ritual of many Christian institutions are wary of involving the human body too deeply in worship are uncomfortable 4 The body is to be transcended so that individuals may experience communion with God. As a child sitting in those straight backed, severe wooden pews, I longed for movement. I envied my Pentecostal friend whose church embraced a physical spirituality that shook the sacred walls. I envied my Catholic friends their rosaries and confessionals, their kneeling and their diligent fingers working through delicately carved beads. And I looked forward to the too few days when I could consume the body of Christ and drink his holy blood. I craved a physical connection with my waning spirituality. I wanted to ; ithout the 5
191 The Holy Land Experience offers visitors an opportunity to live their faith. Marv Rosenthal created a Jerusalem through which visitors can walk and touc h and smell and see. He crafted a space of tangible faith, an opportunity to establish that necessary physical connection with an otherwise ethereal concept. Here, we can not only witness the death of Christ, we can also participate as a member of the crow 6 We become to some degree actors in the spectacle. The Holy Land Experience repositions bodies as central to practices and performances of faith. In Chapter 4, I argued that the HLE funct ions as a heritage site offering visitors a means of physically engaging with an imagined past and publicly participating in the narrative of Salvation by Grace In this chapter, I discuss the relationship between theatre, performance, and religion in the United States, focusing on the development of Passion plays in the twentieth century. I then assert that visitors Behold the Lamb As participants in the drama ar witness to, record, and remember the event. At the end of Chapter 4, I introduced dark tourism and dark theming, tentatively positioning the HLE as a dark site. In this chapter, I expand this claim, arguing that the HLE functions as a dark site in sever al ways, most specifically by offering visitors a chance to witness and participate in a public execution. Passion(ate) Performances I sat alone in an olive green, vinyl seat on a decommissioned school bus which served to trundle parishioners to and fro m various church events. Encompassed by the humming vibration of its rhythmic engine and darkness intermittently perforated by streetlights, I felt isolated, distanced from my family who sat several rows behind; distanced from my life as I knew it. I sat i n between the memory of my first theatrical event and the awareness of no longer being a part of that event. At nine years old, I had never been to the theatre. We lived in what was in the late 1980s, rural central Florida. We were poor. My first experie nce with a large scale
192 Wauchula. 7 Memories of those early years of my life are partial and fragmented, like glimpses of my reflection in the scattered shards of a broken mirror: the images move, twinkle, overlap, and vanish. My memories of this event, my first theatrical experience, are fragments edged with awe: bright lights illuminating t he late spring dusk; mosquitoes and the heaviness of humid air stirred only by fanning my paper program; camels, donkeys, and chickens parading across the stage; the mystery of exoticism manifest in costuming; the formidable presence of a stage set that in cluded what looked like a castle; the thrill of seeing a living Jesus dragging his terrible wooden burden; the vastness of a star drenched sky and questions of eternity. I was enchanted and afraid. Sitting on that bus wheeling my way back to the cow pastu three hours, I was in the midst of the turmoil, watching the God Man who was to be the savior of the world suffer, die, and to the utter exaltation of the crowd return I remember an acute feeling of confliction: love and desire for the stage and its craft, illuminating the freshly resurrected Christ. I loved it. I loved watching Jesus crucified. I sat on the edge of my seat, my body rigid with anticipat ion and excitement. In that moment, I felt the story in my body and it hummed, resonating. I projected myself into the role of Jesus. I was the martyr. I was being crucified to save the world. The shame came after the initial adrenaline high subsided. I de it was my own. I took pleasure in watching the execution not really caring for the resurrection. That was supposed to be the most important part. Instead, I let my imagination and my sensation fixate on the hammer dr For me, the relationship between theatre and religion has always been apparent and formative to my understandings of performance and spirituality. The relationship between Christianity and theatre has not always been co llegial in the United States.
193 Professional theatrical events religious or not did not gain mainstream acceptance until the mid nineteenth century. Passion plays were not widely accepted by and accessible to general audiences until the 1930s. The history of theatre in the U.S. has been tumultuous, threaded with moral and political debate. Theatre, Law, and the Church in the United States The original American colonies were closely associated with specific religious sects, incl uding Anglican (prominent in the southern colonies), Congregationalist (the New England colonies), and Quaker (primarily Pennsylvania). 8 Continuing a trend already established in England by the mid seventeenth century, the American colonies rejected theatr ical performances as immoral and, thus, criminal. 9 Law in the early American settlements was inextricably tied to dominant religious institutions. Alan legal suppressi 10 In the pre Revolution American colonies, religion was seemingly diametrically opposed to theatre. Yet, theatrical spectacle and a stage, of sorts, were embraced by some religious persons wh o participated in the Great Awakening, 11 and embodied by English evangelical orator George Whitefield. Whitefield toured the colonies from 1739 to 1741, inciting thousands of emotionally rapt revivalists to (re)commit their lives to Christ. Critics accused him of flagrant theatricality, and pointed accusingly at his youthful interest in the stage. 12 Whitefield admitted his former love of drama and acting, but also seeing a 13 Whitefield and the Great Awakening effectively spawned a religious revolution in the colonies in the mid eighteenth century, offering colonists a lively alternative to the traditionally staid practices of the official colonial churches The Great Awakening also introduced the pleasures of the stage into American culture and everyday life, albeit subversively and without a much needed nod to the theatre. While theatricality the elements of performance was clearly embraced and enjoyed by thousands of participants in tent meetings, the theatre the institution was still persecuted.
194 As the Revolution approached, colonial life bec ame increasingly secularized. 14 Political matters were influenced by the developing merchant economy rather than s olely by religious interests. Communities formed less around religious affiliation and more around trade. Now, not only was theatre attacked by religion as immoral, but political leaders (especially those who opposed British rule) also waged war against co lonial theatre owners and actors. The continued association of theatre with England and British colonialism only bolstered revolutionary suspicion and ire. Theatre, asserted the First Continental Congress in 1774, was an unnecessary extravagance and a cult urally dissipating practice. Though few theatres had managed to weather the fire and brimstone brought down by religious institutions in the preceding decades, the ones that managed to survive (such as the American Company, 15 a troupe established by William and Lewis Hallam) were now compelled to close. 16 old religious hatred now joined with economic resentment of a perceived upper an anti theatrical sentiment that could be subscribed to by pietist and p 17 18 Theatre audiences, suggests Nielsen, could be rowdy and harbored the potential for violence. I would ad d to this the potential for action, possibly insurrection. Theatre was and is a dangerous space; a space of potentiality, a space where large numbers of people can congregate and witness, if not act on, productions dealing with social issues. The theatre c an be a space for change. One would think as colonial leaders began ironing out the social contract that would become the Constitution and the Bill of Rights emphasizing the inalienable right to freedom of speech that theatre would be included as a medium to be protected (like the press). Not so. While the ratification of the Constitution solidified the separation 19 Theatre continued to be repressed. Even as professional, secular theatre productions were accused of being playgrounds of the Devil, harbingers of vice, and just plain uncivilized, Protestant preachers riding the revivalist wave found themselve s increasingly dependent on
195 spectacle and theatrical devices in order to compete for the attention of parishioners. As commercial entertainments which they both imitated and influenced . shov[ing] 20 It was increasingly difficult for religious leaders to publicly condemn the stage and its professionals when these same leaders drew heavily and overtly from the techniques and tools of stage craft. Revivalist ministers who openly subscribed to theatrical methods of presentation emphasized their use of the theatrical style continuing to degrade the content of popular plays. Stage actors were considered immoral and perverse 21 According to revivalist preacher Charles Grandison Finney, 22 what separated the stage actor from the method preacher 23 e method 24 His training only involved close identification with one character, the devout, God fearing minister spreading the Word of God to save the souls of man. While this differentiation functioned to theoretically separate the pulpit f rom the stage, in practice, Americans were increasingly seeking excitement in secular entertainment venues. The paradoxical relationship between the pulpit and the stage resulted in the former creating parameters for the widespread acceptance of the latter into American society. moral intent, and was aesthetic. 25 New England minister and gentleman Henry Ward Beecher understood the necessity of cultivating a relationship betwe en religion and entertainment choices fostered by the market economy. Beecher recognized the opportunity to extend religious morality, and thus control, into the capitalist m arket by encouraging his parishioners to become righteous consumers. Beecher attended theatrical productions he believed reinforced the moral codes of Christianity and compelled his 26 The Theatre was beset by the Church.
196 Introducing the Passion Play in the United States One might think that a Passion play would be precisely what Beecher ordered. A Passion play or drama is typically a live production of a script (often adapted from at least one book of the four Gospels 27 by the producer of the play) chronicling the last enactment the embodiment of the climax of the Salvation narrative. Yet the first Passion play produced in the United States ignited a moral and legal battle that ended with the suspicious death of its author and producer, Salmi Morse. Morse opened The Passion: A Miracle Play in Ten Acts in San Francisco in 1879, to the outrage of religious an 28 Representing God (even in his human form) on the stage was beyond predominantly sacrilege and turn 29 On April 11, 1883, Judge Barrett of the New York City Superior Court concluded unlicensed production of The Passion Judge Barrett ruled that Morse was in violation of and receive a license from the mayor of the city where it was intended to open. 30 that no mayor would ever grant such a license for The Passion 31 Dramas and plays featuring Old Testament stories had been successfully produced and enjoyed some degree of popularity in the nineteenth century. A drama depicting the death of Christ and sa lvation of man had never been attempted in the United States until The Passion There was, however, a precedent established internationally for Passionsspiel has been produced at the end of each d ecade since 1634. 32 Other Passion dramas had been produced in Jerusalem, Madrid, and Rondo (Spain). 33 Passion dramas such as the Passionsspiel were primarily sponsored by and associated with Catholicism. Indeed, it is noteworthy that when Salmi Morse sought the approval of the Church when editing his script, he chose to
197 present a draft to Catholic Archbishop, Joseph Sadoc Alemany of California. Alemany purportedly supported the script and even offered revisions. 34 The problem with appropriating modes of repr esentation indelibly associated with Catholicism was that, in the late nineteenth century United States, the once majority Protestant population was undergoing a dramatic shift in demography. Large numbers of Eastern European immigrants were shuttled to th e shores of the U.S., bringing with them their cultural and religious traditions, especially Catholicism. As a result, a Protestant backlash fueled racism and persecution of these immigrants, their traditions, and beliefs. Seeking approval and public suppo rt from a Catholic authority may not have been the best route for a production needing the patronage of a wealthier, primarily Protestant audience. In the United States, the acceptance of Passion plays as appropriate expressions of faith and legitimate t heatrical entertainment only occurred in the twentieth century. The first successful Passion play to depict Christ and the Crucifixion was produced in 1909 by the country. Several permanent structures have been built to host versions of the drama. In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a quaint, Victorian era town, Gerald L. K. Smith built the grandiose statue Christ of the Ozarks, and produced The Great Passion Play in 1968. In 2009 the season runs May through October and is one of the primary attractions in the area. The Miracle Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, just finished its fourth season of the production The Miracle an expanded passion play. Contemporary Passion Plays as Cultural Performances and Ritual Though Passion plays have been and continue to be popular performances of religios ity Passion plays, as performance scholar 35 Today, Passion plays in the United States are largely sponsored by evangelical Protestant communities as a spiritual community theatre. These are local productions with quasi local audiences. The plays are typically offered certain times of the year (spring and summer) and are staffed by amateurs and volunteers. 36
198 Passion plays are cultural performances of community. Cultural performances are events of sense making and communicating knowledge about our worlds. These performances ar e generated from and generate cultural texts construed in the broadest sense and often function as tools for community building. They include forms such as ds, gossip, ceremonies, rituals . 37 Through meaning beyond the immediate present, to confront fundamental values, and to discover 38 Passion plays function in this way: communicating the narrat ive of Salvation by Grace that solidifies the imagined Christian community; providing a narrative in which individuals can situate themselves, linking past, present, and future; asking audience members to confront Sacrifice and reassess their worthiness; u sing Jesus as a model for ultimate, self abnegating love and faith. Cultural performances are not static, nor are they simply mirrors of their culture. society we refl ect upon and define ourselves, dramatize our collective myths and history, [and] present ourselves with alternatives 39 Victor Turner emphasizes the reflexive function of cultural performance s mirro . 40 These performances are about the constant re/creation of communities and individual identities. As such, cultural performances can be catalysts for affirmation/reinscription and/or transformation. Moments of transformation are often marked by ritual, a form of cultural has a long, complex theoretical history. 41 Because between ritual, theatre, and performance, I will reference ritual paradigms detailed by performance scholar Richard Sch echner and anthropologist Victor Turner. Rituals are cultural performances, processes characterized by repetition and linked to the cultural complex sequence of symbolic a
199 participant(s) and/or the community. 42 43 What he is referring to, however, is not stasis, but familiarity and a sense of safety found in the repetition of specific actions and their correlative meanings. Both Schechner and Turner believe that rituals are conceived as a means of mediating potentially disruptive, troublesome, or volatile human interactions often associated with 44 accomplish change in their lives, transforming them from one status or identity to 45 Sche 46 All people present are in some way participants in the performance. n, liminality, and reaggregation. 47 In separation, individuals move from the space of their everyday temporal moment, individuals experience the liminal or liminoid where they are in between identities. It is in this space where transformation can happen, at least temporarily, and where communitas may be uality of full, unmediated communication, even communion, between definite and determinate identities, which 48 Like many church sermons and dramas in general, the Passion play move s its audience through an emotional arc. First, as they witness the betrayal, judgment, and persecution of Jesus, audience members . 49 Then, when J esus is resurrected and the world is offered salvation and a spiritual union with Christ the transformative climax the audience might move into exaltation and communitas. Reaggregation occurs as the audience disperses, leaving the special space time, and r eturns to their everyday lives. In addition to the narrative arc of the Passion play follows the trajectory of as rituals. They are typically enacted in commemo ration of Easter. Large groups of
200 (presumably) Christians assemble to witness these dramatic productions as a means of audience is separated from their everyday lives, moving into a special space time. As the event unfolds, the audience exists in a liminal space with other like minded participants. They are led through the lows and highs of an emotional journey meant to result in communitas. Passion plays, as cultural performa nces and performances of rituals, function as a medium for participants to connect their individual lives and experiences with the experiences of a larger community. These events link past, present, and future: recreating an image of a desired past, challe nging participants to understand themselves in relation to that past, and creating a space for thinking about the future. Behold the Lamb : A Passion(ate) Play There are several large scale productions that resemble professional theatre product ions and attract visitors from afar. The Great Passion Play at Eureka Springs is one such example, complete with a permanent set, special effects, and a gift shop. The Holy Land Experience is another. There are differences that exist between traditional Pa Behold the Lamb ; however Behold the Lamb can be contextualized within the larger cultural history of Passion dramas due to its purpose and structure Behold the Lamb through song the events that brought the characters to their current moment (and the body of this performance) the torture and crucifixion. 50 In this sense, the production is episodic, like most Passion plays, but rather than focusing on several events lea ding up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection, Behold briefly references those event s in the opening song, then jumps directly into the business of torture and death. The audience is expected to have a working knowledge of the story being presented, thus mak ing detailed explanations, transitions, and character development unnecessary. Thus, like most Passion plays, Behold is geared toward an insider community. The content, style, and focus of Behold parallel those of contemporary American Passion plays.
201 T here are, however, some significant differences between the production and function of Behold at the HLE and its contemporary counterparts. First, Behold is a professional production with trained, skilled actors filling all roles. These actors are selected via casting calls and auditions and are paid for their labor. In no sense is Behold an amateur (or volunteer based) production. The implication of professional standing is that it is not, then, community theatre in the conventional sense. I would argue, though, that when community theatre is understood in its broadest sense theatre created by and for a particular community that Behold is still a product of community theatre. It is created by and for an imagined community of Christians. 51 So, while Behold exudes professional polish rather than that down home charm often associated with amateur Passion plays, it still makes very strong claims to community. Behold has a permanent stage set, which comprises a great section of the HLE landscape. The pa rk pivots around the central geography that constitutes the stage (the Garden, the Tomb, the Qumran Caves, and the pathways winding through these areas). The permanence of the set, though rare in American passion plays, is not outside of the tradition as e videnced by Eureka Springs. The stage does, however, mark a critical difference between other Passion plays and Behold During the Behold performance, the audience is in effect on the stage. We are made a part of the performance by our positioning as membe As ritual performances, Passion plays encourage internal participation from their attendants in the form of empathy and reaffirmation of faith. But Behold the Lamb in This is the only American Passion play that includes the audiences as actors in the drama. 52 As with traditional theatrical venues and events, a distinct separation between audience and performer s characterizes other Passion dramas. The audience sits off stage in a clearly demarcated section where rows of seats securely contain their bodies and control their interactions with the performance. At Behold the audience swirls around the actors (thoug h ushers do their best to keep the poorly marked paths clear) and is positioned bodily within the play, as well as conceptually inside of the performance. In this way, the HLE compels visitors to think about and experience a relationship to the
202 Salvation n arrative, to Jesus as a bodied man, and to society. Chansky poses an insightful 53 At the HLE, where audience members are dislodged from the ir roles as spectators and charged with the responsibility of becoming spectactors, the answer is yes. Participating in the Passion: HLE V isitors as Spectactors As a form, Behold the Lamb is a hybrid of ritual and theatre. According to Schechner, in thea tre the audience watches; they are spectators. Whereas in ritual the audience participates; they are actors. 54 Experientially, Behold the Lamb does not conform to either theatre or ritual. It is something hybrid, an event that repositions the audience as pa rticipants reshaping our conventional knowledge of the Salvation narrative by asking us to become the antagonists the characters acting against the protagonist in the story. In an effort to make sense of the phenomenology of being both an audience member and participant, I will draw on the work of Brazilian theatre activist Augusto Boal who theorized the spectactor the spectator as performer. In 1950s Brazil, Augusto Boal was the director of the Arena Theatre in So Paulo, where he privileged the stories and experiences of local residents rather than those that came from the traditional, European theatrical canon. His motive was to destabilize elitist power tied to colonialism. As Brazil underwent severe political upheavals in 1964 and 1968, Boal diligent and producing agitation propaganda 55 (agit prop) plays for audiences comprised of laborers, as well as members of the middle class. 56 In these productions and his interactions with audience memb ers, Boal recognized the failure of agit prop plays to address the needs of the people, thus lacking affective and effective impact. From these experiences, Boal 57 developed forum theatre, a format that would encourage audience participation by staging situ Cruz, Boal worked with groups to create a scene in which a protagonist is failing to achieve what s/he needs or desires. Audienc e members stop the dramatic action at
203 any moment they feel the protagonist has an option s/he is not exercising. They then physically replace the protagonist in the scene and improvise their alternative action, thus rehearsing for social change. 58 Boal c towards audiences. In Theatre of the Oppressed Boal relates a creation story he fashioned for the origination of contemporary theatre. He laments, In the beginning the theatre was the dithyrambic song: free people singing in the open air. Later, the ruling classes took possession of the theatre and built their dividing walls. First, they divided the people, separating actors from spectators: people who act and people who watch the party is over! 59 Boal, writing in part to instruct how to use theatre for social revolution, calls for a bridging of this divide, a shift in audience/actor relationships. Rather than passively gazing (though this is problematic, as gazing is not passive) upon a theatrical production, Boal challenges the audience to participate in the dramatic action, to become agents of power. Through active participation in the drama, the spectactor may change herself as well as her society. experience of participating in Behold the Lamb Visitors at the HLE are given the opportunity, within a defined physical and ideological structure, to become a part of the dramatic production. The visitor has a potential for power. By locating the visitors in the the HLE offers visitors t he power to act. Yet, the HLE is acutely aware of the potential disruptive nature of this power and institutes certain mechanisms of control in order to performance rea dy to change their lives and their worlds. Of course, the HLE cannot resist the drama in which she is participating. Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), the name given and those who practice them, offers an aesthetic language and a set of techniques for
204 interrogating the relationships between Oppressed and Oppressor. Within its original context 1960s and 1970s Latin America TO readily identified and pragmatically addressed these relationships. Clearly exhibiting philosophies parallel to Marxist thought, the Oppressor(s) was typically the ruling class, elites whose money and power controlled the state. The Oppressed were the people, the Proletariat, whose labor was abused and devalued, and who suffered tangible, physical and economic hardships. Mady Schutzman help. Not only are we dealing here with a significant time lapse (1960s to 1990s) but with the asymmetric power politics that marks the change in context 60 We must redefine Oppressed and Oppressor, recognizing the differen ces between what Oppression (and thereby Revolution) looks and feels like in this new context. 61 class Americans . in late capitalist, 62 We are in the continual process of finding out. As TO roots itself in oppression, both external (as in overt institutional racism, sexism, classism, etc.) and internal (what Boal refers to as cop i n the head : 63 our psychological self oppression). I have chosen to spend time detailing the history of TO in order to establish relationships is unconventional. Using B United States is also unconventional, yet has proved useful in investigating visible and invisible power relationships, and contributing to social justice. I am using the spectactor out of context insofar as Behold the Lamb is not forum theatre. Spectactors are not invited to literally replace the protagonist, in this case Jesus, and enact alternative solutions. However, the spectactor is not only a tool or technique; it is also a theory of audience/actor rela tionships. It is a way of being and knowing in a particular dramatic event. At the HLE and in the presence of Behold the Lamb the dramatic (and theatrical) event is not limited to the production of the Passion play itself, but extends beyond the parameter s of the amorphous stage to include the moment of witnessing and sense making taking place around the play. This is a social drama where participants are
205 confronted with a breach of norms (we are positioned inside the production as members of the mob), and a resulting crisis (What do we do? How do we act? Should / can we intervene?). 64 As I stand in the midst of the mob, I am not, in the words of Jan Cohen 65 Witnessing as Spectacting I wait in my carefully selected position, toes touching the red lines. The Behold the Lamb presentation is about to begin. I can feel the electricity of the crowd, so many bodies jockeying for space, shifting and adjusting. Th e afternoon sun beats down, encouraging droplets of sweat to collect on my brow. The heat is intensified by the hundreds of bodies pressing so close together. We are an expectant, discomfited mob. Centurions take the stage. A cast member announces over t time I have heard them give explicit instructions to the audience, an instructive element has been consistently present in this performance. T he Centurion soldiers stand in formation atop the mountain and speak to the crowd: Guests of the Roman Empire, today by an order of the Roman prostrate, Pontius Pilate, for the crime of treason against the Roman Empire and Caesar himself, we will crucify the seditionist and self proclaimed King of the Jews, Jesus of Nazareth. We understand that many of his followers are here with us today. [Several half hearted cheers rise from the crowd]. Good! Now you see for yourself where your misguided beliefs will le ad you. Now, we expect to have no trouble from any of you or, mark my words, we are more than willing to provide you with a cross of your own so that you may join your King up on the hill! Bear witness and hold your tongues! This statement functions in se veral ways. It announces the beginning of the performance. It positions the audience within the performance and guides audience members in e for the forthcoming drama and identifying audience
206 members as characters within the performance. Then audience members are invited to witness and respond by reaffirming their identities as followers of Christ. The Centurion pauses at length after stating members of the audience take the cue and shout and cheer. The majority remains silent, their attention fixed. Do they not understand the invitation? Why do they choose to stay silent? Maybe they fe First we are addressed as welcome guests, and then we are insulted about our to behold the ecify that these S alvation by Grace. It is assumed that this is the case. W hat the Centurion does specify in his declaration of criminal charges is that the crimes Christ has committed are overtly political crimes against the nation/state: sedition and treason. We are then warned if we, too, engage in sedition that we will also be crucified. The question of intentionality prompts me to think of alternative readings of this statement. It is impossible to den y or forget our current sociopolitical moment. The United States continues to host a military presence in Iraq. The events of and after demonstrations of patriotism are subject to question. President Bush extended the jurisdiction of the government into the private lives of Americans through the Patriot Acts. The aura of the age parallels in many ways the Red Scare of the mid t wentieth The statement directly correlates seditionism with treason f or the wages of sedition is crucifixion. Purposeful or not, this message is latent within the monologue. Outside of what I perceive as a veiled attem pt to influence our performances of citizenship, I also recognize the practical value of this script as a tool to instruct audience members as to the appropriate behavior for audiencing this performance. HLE attendants have already cleared the Way of Sorro w, pressing recalcitrant guests behind the painted
207 n willing to provide you with a cross of me (the spectactor) is scene is the order, See. Experience. Live. Tell. But the telling is forbidden? What am I forbidden to speak? Hold your tongue. Silence. Participate, to a point. But above all: bear witness. Bearing Witness as an Ethical Action The Oxford English Dictionary ; 66 Bearing witness is an action laden with responsibility. According to communication witnessing that enables people to take responsibility for what they see . bearing witness which they become 67 Shoshana Feldman understands bearing witness as not only a personal accounting of an event, but a 68 Carrie Rentschler 69 of p articipatio n . in 70 communicate that narrative (that truth) to o thers. Bearing witness is an act of spectator, to bear witness is to watch, to participate, and to act. To bear witness is to experience for the purpose of remember ing, and remembering, as I stated in C hapter 5 is a constitutive process (involving body and mind) where a past is continually recreated and identity is negotiated. Participants in these processes are actively engaged in the dramatic event of remembering state
208 71 Note that Sontag refers to remembering as an act, an action, a doing with an ethical impetus and implications. In this sense, the participation of 72 the ultimate so lution to cosmic human oppression. Replacing the Antagonist; Becoming a Silent Witness When distinctions between oppressor/oppressed (antagonist/protagonist) become blurred and oppression cannot be singularly or independently defined, participants gravit ate towards the role most similar to the reality of their own lives. Oftentimes, the roles with which participants identify, in which they see reflections of themselves, are the 73 The silent witness is a new character theorized by Schutzman. While the silent witness is present in an oppressive scene, she is neither the oppressor nor the oppressed, per s e In the scene, the oppressor becomes somewhat superfluous in that she is not the cause of the [problem] nor of the silent witn . . Yet by virtue of feeling overwhelmed by the problem (oppressed?) and then, accordingly, doing nothing to help (oppressor by . association), we could say this silent witness shares qualities with both in a theoretic al sense. 74 The silent witness exists in a liminal space between oppressor and oppressed, often experiencing oppression psychologically in the form of confusion and powerlessness. our daily lives, immersed as we are in an environment that casts us frequently in the roles of 75 Behold the Lamb provides ins Spectactors cannot replace the protagonist Jesus, nor the overt antagonist soldiers. assassination. This m ob likely included supporters and followers of Jesus who, because
209 of the situation, justifiably felt they could not intervene. To intervene meant, as the Centurion introducing Behold the Lamb own so that you HLE visitors step into the collaborative role of mob while simultaneously retaining their individual roles as witnesses to a crime of inhumanity. Witness is not a neutral role. To be a silent witness is not to be absol ved of responsibility and excused from subsequent action. Rather, the role determines the range of actions available to the spectactor. Within the framework of the scene, choices must be made. Visitors to the HLE step into the role of silent witness, perfo rming confusion and compliance. In casting us into this role, the HLE asks us to consider our choices and our actions not only as participants in this performance, but also as Christians in the world. A range of options or actions are available for the sp ectactor. The plausibility and possibility of these actions is determined by the limitations of the scene and the protagonist (the main character who struggles for a cause). This is not, however, a tenable prospect for the HLE because the goal of involving visitors as spectactors is not to change the outcome of the Passion play itself, but rather to change the outcome of the dramatic event of visitorship. The HLE wants visito rs to leave the park and change their lives to live a more Christian life like Jesus, or to redouble their attempts to witness to others. Thus, the issue at hand is not the crucifixion of Jesus, which is inevitable, but the need for witnessing in contempor ary society. It does not make sense, then, to have spectactors replace Jesus or even the Centurions. The characters with the potential to change the outcome of the dramatic event are the members of the mob present at and the witnesses. The HLE asks visitors to step into the role of the mob to witness, and to bear witness to take responsibility for the event. They were antagonists (characters w ho worked against the protagonist) in the dramatic stepping into the roles of the antagonists. But to classify mob members as traditional antagonists is not quite accurate Silent witnesses, who comprised at least part of the
210 not actively try to intervene); they were not antagonists as such. The HLE imposes a policing structure to direct the movements of the mob and prevent certain forms of interference. 76 As participants in this mob, we are faced with and work to cease the event; or witness the event without interferi ng. To embrace the role would not positively change the event and it would be conceived as a traitorous act by the Christian community. To reject the role of anta gonist and somehow (verbally or physically) advocate for the cessation of the event is tempting, but tricky as it could result problematic ; it would interrupt history The spectactor is presumably sympathetic to, if not a member of the Christian community. As such, the spectactor, along with the salvation of humankind. To stop the event wo uld be to interfere with divine providence and to jeopardize the immortal future of humanity. Visitors are caught in a Catch 22. The resulting confusion of facing choices that cannot be reconciled leads visitors to choose to participate as silent witnesses What options and actions are available to a silent witness in this situation? Portrait of a Silent Witness Jesus lay prone on the cement sidewalk, writhing in agony from the flagellation and the unmanageable weight of the wooden cross. This is the sec ond of three scheduled falls. His face is contorted in pain, searching for assistance from the faces in the surrounding crowd. Dr. John Lewis my mentor and friend from the American Studies program, is only inches away from the sprawled body of the actor, and visibly discomforted by the proximity. I thought I was doing him a favor by scoping out what I believed to be the best location for audiencing the Passion play. What I would later discover is that this was first Passion play, and he would have m uch rather remained physically distant from the action.
211 I watch Lewis watch the prone, broken body of Jesus. feet are planted in position, refusing to move towards the site of trauma, yet his upper body leans forward betraying his interest, seeming ly drawn to the intensity of the event. Watching Lewis watch, I am reminded of a particularly unsettling experience I had at this site not long ago. * The crowd begins to form. As always, I feel the pressure of people seeking the best spots: the politics of positioning and placement. Rick and I are standing on steps under the Judean Village tent directly facing the front of the Garden Tomb. Our step is right next to the narrow path upon which Jesus will stagger. This is our first time seeing t he drama from this angle. Several older women, somewhere between forty and sixty years old, push in on us forcing themselves onto the steps right beside my feet. They bump my legs once, twice, again, in an attempt to make me move. I am annoyed, as usual, at the lack of civility. They mumble under their breath to one another, just loud enough for me to hear, about being older and needing this space to sit. Such snarky comments for Christians, I think. So, I refuse to move. A man in his early forties stan ds next to me. I smile and nod. He grins and motions with his head towards the older women at my feet who are still mumbling. He tells me the group of people surrounding us is together, all visiting from the same church in Miami. There are thirty seven of some of his companions have been here before. The man looks down at my notepad, away as the drama begins. Three Roman centurions stand at the top of the mountain and begin their announcement. The Roman who is speaking pulls his sword and levels it at the audience. . and hold our tongues. The performance commences. As Jesus is led towards us, he drops the cross (the second of three scheduled falls) and Simon of Cyrene gathers it. I notice that the cross is only the top cross bar. I had not
212 noticed this before, imagi ni ng instea d the entire cross. What other blanks does my mind automatically fill in? Or has the performance changed? which actor he is. He stumbles close and falls before me. I feel the absence of the camera. mediation. Jesus lay on the path, his fake blood seeping into the cement, and I watch as the Roman guard, whose face and arms are stained with that same blood, wrenches the aware that physical discomfort and pain must be commonplace to the actors who play Jesus. His falls are real; the pushing is real; the yan king is actually happening. This feels as close as I have ever been to the tortured body. I am mere feet away. different. I am emotionally moved in a way I have not be en since my initial visit. I want to help him, to reach out and wipe the sweat and blood from his eyes, to tell him that he in front of me. It is a man, a human, i n pain and enduring ridicule. I want to touch him the human to reach out. Instead, I stand there staring, holding my breath. The moment is broken as he regains his footing and moves on. I search the crowd and find children watching, mostly stone faced. One petite blonde girl, maybe nine years old, has been watching the spectacle with open mouthed awe; her hand hovering and fluttering around her lips. Another girl, younger, clutches a ng from the end of the performance. The initial reactions of awe, and possibly fear, in the children seem to drift away as Christ is led from proximity and stationed on top of the mountain. My distress also eases as Jesus steadily increases his distance. Hammer blows recapture our attention, and the petite blonde girl mimics the pounding of the hammer into her own palm.
213 I look through the crowd and see another littl e girl, maybe four years old, atop a After the drama finishes with Jesus resurrected and quickly ushered from view, two boys make their way to a spot on the path directly in fron t of me. They look at the blood stained cement, fascinated, and begin to smear it with their toes, laughing. 77 * Watching Lewis struggle to make sense of the scene so close to him, of the real human body prostrated on that path just inches away I sense his confusion and powerlessness. In this moment I know that I brought Lewis here because I want him to feel what I had felt and what I continue to feel as I witness the suffering of this actor/man. Though reeling in confusion and overwhelmed by t he magnitude of participating in this performance, I also feel compelled to share this event. On our drive home, I ask him to tell me about his impressions, to begin to talk participation, and grappling with the question of witnessing and bearing witness to trauma. Lewis : The crucifixion is the most problematic thing. Sara: So what was your take on the crucifixion? Lewis : Well, feeling confused between being a spectator. What were you a spectator of? They say something about the people who came to watch the feeling a like you know how they say that you reenact the trauma and try to make a different ending? e reenacting it but this time the mob is sympathetic
214 then later on you reenact it . . I think about comments. He obviously feels as though he is positioned as a participant in the mob and he is conflicted about his role. Is he there only to empathize? action that, at least as Lewis understands it, changes the event. But as Boal argues, empathy can lead to the wrong kind of catharsis, a catharsis that precludes action. Empathy, according 78 Boal, I think, underestimates the activeness of empathy, considering it to be a result of passive viewing. Even if understood only as an emotio nal relationship, empathy is still a doing, an action, a performance of connection and caring between people. Relationships are continually remade through the process of relatin g. Thus, to choose to empathize to care for and with another as a way of relati ng can be a revolutionary act. This is how Lewis understands empathy as it is done in and through Behold the Lamb In reenacting the event as an empathetic mob participant, Lewis feels as though he is making a choice that changes, to a certain extent, the ending. I return to the conversation with one of Lewis : I wanted to recognize the Centurions as familiar cast members. I noticed that the three guys who were escorting Jesus down the Via Dolorosa were all members of the Southern Gospel singing group we saw in the morning. It made me feel less frightened. I was purposefully distracting myself from the action. Sara: Really? Lewis : Yeah, I was too close, you know. The guy was suffering right there a t my
215 . Lewis : Well, I could have been a little farther back. I knew it was an actor; it the most upsetting part, really. When he first comes around the corner and falls d Frightening. Embarrassing. Upsetting. What are we watching? Lewis states that he knows what he is watching is a staged performance and that the man prostrated at his Lewis feels embarrassed guy the not 79 Jesus ) was suffering. To deal with this situation, Lewis chooses to distract himself by trying to recognize actors and focusing on other audience members. What are we watching? We are watching a man suffering. We are watching others watching a man suffering. We are watching ourselves being watched as a man suffers. . The physical proximity, our closeness to a live body falling, knees skinned on pavement, limbs twisted, back hunched and chest heaving, that proximity implicates us in the event. We are close enough to help him. Lewis volunteers from the aud would really given that they ask for audience participation other times during
216 the day that would be pretty provocative if they would take . someone from the audience. It makes you think about wh at if they did take someone from the audience? Of course, in the real thing they did just grab somebody from the fourth wall it is. be chosen to carry that cross in front of all the other visitors. What is real here: the discomfort of witnessing suffering; the weight of implication; the anticipation and fear of being chosen; the relief that I am not the one; the shame of not helping? We resist direct intervention. We choose, instead, to par ticipate as a silent witness. But this choice is not without complexity. What does it mean to participate as a silent witness? speaking to us as if we are the mob. Lewis : Right. Which adds to your sense of confusion. Well, maybe all that one of the good guys. one of the good guys. Lewis when he feared selection to carry the cross. Maybe the HLE wants us to feel like the good like one of the good guys, we are meant to feel confused, to question our (in)actions.
217 Lewis : I give them credit for being savvy. Originally when I heard about it I was thinking . they were trying to present this pageant, and they just unintentionally create d this bizarre situation of conflict between spectatorship and worship. Now I you somet terms of your identity are you one of the good guys, one of the bad guys? From this conversation, we can extrapolate some of the possible, optional actions for the spectactor as silent witness: empathy, assessing the cro wd, assessing oneself. To empathize would be to engage in a relationship to care for and with the other with the actor/character. In actively caring, participants can change how an event is understood and articulated. Assessing the crowd and assessing ones elf are acts of observation, reflection, and reflexivity. We implicate one another and we implicate ourselves as our own. In this relational process, we may begin to dev elop an understanding of what it means to bear witness. Suffering T hrough Simulacra: Bearing (False) Witness? . i t is always a false problem to wish to restore the truth beneath the simulacrum -Baudrillard ( Simulacra and Simulation 27) What ar e we witnessing? A representation of a symbolic event? An aesthetic interpretation of an historical event? A theatrical performance? A simulation of an assassination? Because the HLE collapses the distinction of the medium
218 (education/entertainment, sacred/ secular), what we are witnessing becomes inextricably fused with how we are witnessing. While simulation may connotatively suggest something false, fake, or of pretense, simulation as I employ it here is a generative process. Baudrillard define s simulati on as a powerful force of erasure, superseding the real. Yet, if simulation is performing the presence of something absent, and thereby producing signs that function in place of the absent thing, then simulation is a process of production and a process of meaning making. I understand simulation as a powerful force of generation, continually reconstituting a plethora of virtualities and contingent truths. The HLE is a site of hyperreality, a system of simulacra, generated by and generating performances of fa ith. How do we meaningfully engage, and ourselves produce, these performances? Can we meaningful ly engage in and with simulations? What does it mean to bear witness to a simulated event? As I stood in the midst of Behold the Lamb participating as a silent witness, contemplating how others participate, conscious of others watching me participate, questioning my relationship to the event, to the story of Salvation by Grace, caught in the crux of a crisis of identity, not knowing who I am in this space/time, or how to make sense of the actual violence I witness I struggled to differentiate what was real from what was not real. A futile effort, considering the complexity and ambiguity of the real Here, at the HLE, the real is useless. The HLE is a system of si mulacra. As such, analysis by way of the real is ineffective and inappropriate As I have discussed in previous chapters, real is a subjective, problematic concept too broad for effectively analyzing the HLE. Instead, I have gravitated towards terms that o ffer a narrower, contextualized framework, such as actuality and virtuality and experiential authenticity Significant questions arise regarding what the HLE is asking visitors to do : actively participate in the performances, engage in self reflexivity, change our lives, change the world. Because of a day spent in an edutainment complex in Orlando? Because of witnessing a Passion play? John Peters defines a witness as someone fact 80 As visitors to the HLE and audience members at Behold the Lamb we are close to the event, to the
219 bodies that enact the event, and to the story being dramatized. What other facts are we witnessing in this simulation? I contend that, though Behold the Lamb i s a simulacrum, the performance involves actual human suffering. The Passion play itself is what Susan Sontag might refer 81 What is the attraction of attending performances of suffering? Here, I will quote Sontag at length As objects of contemplation, images of the atrocious can answer to several different needs. To steel oneself against weakness. To make oneself more numb. To acknowledge the existence of the incorrigible . . I t is a view of suffering, of the pain of o thers, that is rooted in religious thinking, which links pain to sacrifice, sacrifice to exaltation a view that could not be more alien to a modern sensibility, which regards suffering as something that is a mistake or an accident or a crime. Something to be fixed. Something to be refused. Something that makes one feel powerless. 82 I believe Behold the Lamb has the potential to address several of these needs. Specifically, fortifying against weakness and acknowledging the incorrigible. However, I do not beli eve that the intention of the HLE is to function as a numbing agent. Indeed, the opposite is true. These performances are supposed to enliven the emotions and work to combat the apathy characteristic of (post)modern society. The HLE is trying to reclaim th e exaltation of the Christian experience: the transcendence and communion with God through heightened sensibilities. In Behold the Lamb we are witnessing a representation of the torture and death of a character in a story. We are also witnessing a simulat ion insofar as the ac tors perform pain and suffering producing the signs of pain and suffering so that a form of pain and suffering now exist in this spacio temporal moment. Which begs the question, are we witnessing a performance of human suffering or act ual human suffering? My contention is that the performance of human suffering brings into existence actual human suffering. The HLE functions to elevate suffering again to the forefront of belief. As Christ suffered, so must the Church. The spectactor may reclaim power through suffering and exaltation.
220 Field Notes: December 13, 2008 (The Scourging) The red lines that designated where we should stand have been erased. I noticed this earlier and wonder at the change. Does this mean there are other changes to the performance that anchored the HLE? I ask one of the women charged with directing foot traffic. is too early to sit and bar. Behold the Lamb we immediat ely regret our decision not to stake out a position earlier. I am shocked at the sheer number of people congregating around the Garden Tomb. (One employee estimated that there were at least one thousand five hundred people in attendance for this performanc e). We stand on the very outskirts of the crowd, near the Qumran Caves. I ask one of the employees dressed in plain clothes (an older gentleman with curly grey hair who looks official and is wearing a badge) how the performance has changed. It just so happens that we stumbled into an excellent spot to witness the new horror: the scourging. As the woman whose job it is to keep the pathway clear of loiterers valiantly, but futilely, herds the crowd, the performance begins. A new scene has been added: in the
221 Garden my body, up on tip toes, craning my neck, but no luck. I hear the Centurions taking Jesus into custody. Apparently they double back around the rear of the Garden Tomb, beca use all of a sudden Jesus is right behind me. He is being dragged by the Centurions to a slightly elevated, recessed spot on the wall of the Qumran Caves. It is here that the performance changes (for) me. They beat him with grey Styrofoam noodles. It may sound funny or absurd, but to be present as a man is strapped to a wooden whipping post and beaten by two other men is profoundly disturbing. The visual testament to weapon on flesh will become visible minutes after the sickening sounds of connection die away. I am ripped out of the performance, shocked. My growing disbelief that the HLE administration would make this choice is only surpassed by a growing concern for the actor. I am overwhelmed. My entire body feels tingly and numb. I cannot process wha t is happening. I take pictures to try and insert the camera between myself and the trauma I need distance violence, and I twitch at the sound of the connection between weapon and fles h, as if someone is slapping the inside of my head. I am disgusted and scared and profoundly moved. But not for God or Jesus. The actor is the focus of my empathy, of my concern. I lost Jesus in the performance. I never saw him after the first blow. It i s always and only the actor. They continue to beat him as he makes his way down the Via Dolorosa, where these new sections of the performance intersect with the old. Later, when the shock subsides, I am able to identify other changes in the performance, such as a shift from live musical performance to recordings; the absence of translation. But now I can only think about the scourging. I am compelled to ask self even though Rick is done and ready to go I have to have confirmation: Were they really hitting that actor?
222 the Qumran Cave site after the performance. Two are costumed and one is wearing administrative apparel. speak to them as people, witnesses. My concern for the actor is clear, and the woman I think. The questions come simultaneously, and I sense that they are not happy with these changes to the performance. The administrator, who I find out was actually directing props and effects ( she sprayed Jesus with b lood during the flogging ) find something better than the noodles. Something that looks more believable, but woman I answer thei w happened to Jes us was pretty bad. I guess she [the new director] wants to get the crowd recordi
223 Field Notes: July 27, 2004 h ammer blows pounding spikes through skin, muscle, and bone, broadcast via invisible loudspeakers his agony evident in the screams and groans of his followers (the apostles and the Marys) episode. The cross is then hoisted into the air by a hydraulic motor and Jesus hangs there dying. Again, I want to be emotionally compelled by this sight; I want to feel something other than distanced apathy. Having surveyed the audience, I realize that I am not the only witness who appears to be unaff ected. For the most part, the audience is fairly silent and still, though a number of people on the outskirts of the mass wander, disinterested; others eat cold treats, but most watch with cameras trained toward Calvary, recording. One woman stands with he r cell phone raised toward the spectacle. Is she sending the with one of those new spy type cell phones, digitalizing his agony, imprisoning his sacrifice in binary cod e, and launching the event into communicative space? She stands there, phone raised, offering it as sacrifice (or redemption?) to the dying Christ. And then when she is finished she walks away. Suffering, Bearing Witness, and the Role of the Camera Many audience members take action as spectactors by recording the event. Recording the event serves multiple purposes, including mediating the disturbing and traumatic experience of witnessing. Over the past four years, I have used my camera in various ways. P redominantly, it functions as a tool for recording the physical structure of the space. I have used it to record moments of performances, the photos to be used as an aid in remembering those moments. These photos also function as a testament evidence, proo f of prese nce, illustration, and souvenir and the camera as a means of bearing witness. On a few occassions, I have used my camera to create distance between myself and an event, such as occurred the first time I visited the HLE and witnessed Jesus fall, a nd in my most recent witnessing of the new scene, the scourging. In both of these
224 instances, the trauma was too close, too profound of an experience for me to process. I used my camera as a tool to intervene between myself and suffering. Since its creati on, photography has been intertwined in various ways with human suffering. It was used to document the American Civil War in the mid nineteenth made its way westward across the continent. Initially, photographs were understood as reliable transmitters of fact, of reality. By the early twentieth century, however, (who photographed the C ivil War) and Jacob Riis (who photographed urban slums) had staged some of their more famous shots, which showed that the reality present in a photograph was not untouched by the subjectivity of the photographer. The history and philosophy of photography, the debates over its ontological status, are not my concern here. Innumerable scholars across a multitude of disciplines address the nature of photography and the politics and aesthetics of photographs. What is relevant to this discussion is the undeniable pervasiveness of (both still and moving) cameras at the HLE, Cameras are tools for mediating witnessing and for bearing witness. To witness, as John Peters notes, is to b e in proximity to an event. Proximity suggests nearness, closeness, and immediacy. Physical presence is the most literal interpretation of proximity, though more conceptual interpretations (nearness in time, kinship, emotionality, perspective, intellectual thought, etc.) are also useful. The HLE intends to bring visitors closer to God by way of collapsing the space/time distance between visitors and the narrative of Salvation by Grace. While physically not near Biblical Jerusalem, we walk through, touch, ta Biblical Jerusalem and, thus, feel nearer to the imagined original. This is the purpose of immersive technologies and synaesthesia, to envelop participants in a scene and create a perceived proximity to an event. In s o doing, the HLE brings visitors into proximity with suffering. As spectactors performing silent witnesses in Behold the Lamb visitors are not only physically close to the suffering body of Jesus/the actor, we also experience empathy. Empathy moves us clo ser to the experiences of the other by way of projecting
225 ourselves into the others position emotionally, psychologically, viscerally. To empathize is to experience with the other. Witnessing human suffering can be overwhelming. To participate in human s uffering via empathy, to suffer with the other, can be too confusing and painful to bear at certain moments. What can a witness who feels too close to a traumatic event do to gain distance? At the HLE, witnessing is voluntary. Witnesses can walk away if th ey so choose. But walking away is not a simple or easily executed choice, especially if the witness is positioned on the front lines physically encompassed by a mob, pressed ors are sacrifice. He endured all of this pain and suffering for us, therefore the least we can do is witness this simulation of his sacrifice. What we should do, according t o the logic of the HLE, is suffer with Jesus and bear witness. To walk away or to look away then, is to In this case, t he camera is an excellent distancing option, an appropriate means of creating di stance between the witness and the suffering without the appearance of denying that suffering Whether looking through a traditional viewfinder or at a digital screen, the witness asserts her power over what she sees and experiences by framing the event. A s Sontag observes, to photograph or film is to frame. The frame narrows the the event, and parceling it into digestible visual sound bites. While in a sense telescopic, cultural knowledge of representational forms, creates an aesthetic distance. N o longer are we immersed in the live performance of suffering. We are trying not to look at or to experience suffering. We rationalize our evasion through the aesthetics of representation: we are looking for the best angles, trying to get the perfect shot to make the perfect picture. Recording the event is also an act of agency, a means of bearing witness. Barbie Zelizer observe s that the individuals who participated in the initial liberation of
226 concentration camps after the Nazi surrender witnessed the u nmediated horror of torture and genocide. In order to process and begin dealing with this trauma, these liberators took ge in the act of bearing witness in 83 Here, Zelizer refers to bearing witness not only as responsibility and an ethical act, but also as a means of therapy. The camera acts as a device of mediation by distancing the witne ss from the event; as an ethical act it is action in the face of injustice; as a therapeutic practice it is a means of attending to psychological trauma. obvious way to respond personally to t 84 Witnesses can do something about the terrible scene by recording it and bearing witness through these images they have created. The HLE wants visitors to objectify and take ownership of the event, to possess and share the experience of the narrat ive of Salvation by Grace. In taking ownership, the HLE wants visitors to take responsibility. They want visitors to participate as spectactors, snap ping pictures and film as a means of bearing witness. The trajectory of the performance is designed with th ops: three traumatic scenes where Jesus falls, is tormented by soldiers, struggles, regains his footing and continues. These scenes occur at the beginning, middle, and end of the Via Dolorosa, strategically loca ted to provide most witnesses with an up close encounter with Jesus, and an opportunity to record a particularly painful moment along his journey. What do people do with these records (photos and film)? Are they shared with others? Where are they stored? What roles do they play in witnessing and, later, proselytizing? Or do they simply become souvenirs, illustrations of a day tip to ancient Jerusalem? The photographs from my first visit remain undeveloped, the rolls of film contained in their little canis but feel I was emotional ly resisting the visual memory of that first experience. At the confused and profoundly disturbed by the experience. Did I unconsciously refuse the
227 memory of the perform to work through what this moment meant to/ for my faith? Hindsight suggests the latter. This was the first time I had allowed myself to consider the state of my relationship to Christianity, to the Salvation narrative, and to God. This was the moment when I first coherently acknowledged the foundering of my identity, not as a Christian (as I had already detached myself from the dogma of practici ng religion), but as a believer as someone who b elieves in God or a divine force. Did I leave those rolls of film undeveloped and securely contained because I no longer knew how to participate in the It is the duty of Christians to remember the sacrifice of Christ. The HLE wants visitors to become spectactors by creat ing a living memory of the pain and suffering of Jesus, a memory they will share with others. Photographs are excellent visual aids helping visitors illustrate the narrative of Salvation by Grace in an immediate, personalized way. Photographing and filming Behold the Lamb is also a means of changing how visitors experience the simulation of pain and suffering present in the performance. By way of simulation, the HLE creates pain and suffering, a traumati c event to which visitors must choose how to witness. Cameras offer a tool for mediating the immediate presence of suffering, of creating aesthetic and perceptual distance, while also doing something about the event. Conclusion: Suffering T hrough an Exec ution The HLE deals in the dark matter of corporeal pain and suffering, which solidifies its classification as a site of dark tourism and not only of religious interest. Christians are encouraged to be strong in the face of persecution. The Shofar Shop of fers Bibles embossed with swords. Statues of Centurion guards are prominently featured in the park. Visual images such as paintings depict physically strong disciples with bulging muscles, especially biceps and pectorals. Do park visitors imagine themselve s in the role of soldier? Popular discourses have suggested and continue to allude to the Christian s / s are constantly at
228 war; with temptation, with their inner doubts; with the secular world, with other religions, and with the devil. Being a Christian, then, requires fortitude and strength of will, as well as physical strength. The HLE reaffirms this need to steel oneself against emotional and physical weakness, while creating a space for visitors to actively witness suffering, and then to suffer themselves. I am accustomed to images of pain and suffering. I am familiar with representations of body trauma in person, in the failing body of my Grandmother as she lay in her death bed. I know that I should be suffering along with Jesus as he makes his way to Calvary. The HLE wants me to be active in the performance; to feel and cry; to shout my identity as a Christian; to exalt in the resurrection and cheer for the reappearance of Christ. Yet, they also require a degree of constraint. I have been warned not to interfere. I have been informed of approp riate and expected audience behavior. How, then, am I to participate? The dramatic production of torture and assassination at the HLE are designed to whip the crowd into an emotional frenzy of compassion, empathy, anger, awe, and distaste. The HLE communitas, once experienced by crowds at public executions can be at the very least synthesized. Whether the production achieves this intended frenzy is questionable. Though the dramatic productions at the HLE are highly r egulated and intricately orchestrated, the inclusion of visitors in the act, as audiencing and bearing witness to the execution, creates opportunities for performances of acceptance, ambivalence, and resistance. How do visitors exercise their agency as s pectactors? How do they participate? They witness and they remember. Part of the importance of presenting passion plays is the process of remembering. Behold the Lamb is a mechanism of memory functioning to re/tell the story of Salvation by Grace. In this way, Behold the Lamb is also a heritage device. The Passion drama offers visitors an opportunity to participate in the pivotal event in Christian history through a well constructed virtuality. By participating as spectactors, visitors establish a tangible relationship between themselves, a Christian heritage, and Jesus memory to be accessed and shared. Witnesses are able to interiorize the event as a living
229 experience an event in which they p articipated and may walk away with a sense of experiential authenticity. I am not suggesting that HLE visitors are unsophisticated dupes who believe that the performance they are witnessing is the actual crucifixion of Jesus What I do argue is the HLE adv ertises a total immersion experience via simulation. Visitors are transported to Biblical Jerusalem by way of actualities and virtualities. They connect with a vibrant physical environment and with a compelling narrative of Christian heritage. This context encourages visitors to suspend disbelief, participate in the performance, and invest the HLE with sacredness. In the following chapter, I conclude this manuscript by discussing the relationships between sacredness and violence. It is through performances of violence that visitors experience a connection with their Christian heritage and with Jesus It is through performances of violence that visitors experience the sacred. Through a framework that posits a symbiotic relationship between the sacred and the violent, I analyze Behold the Lamb as a public performance of capital punishment an execution.
230 INTERLUDE Journal July 28, 2008 was my calling, but now I just want to escape the pressure, the inadequacy, the competitiveness. when all I really crave is to sink myself into the comfort and safety of blind faith. Faith these years of juggling anxieties like hair cracked eggs will finally be fruitful. Faith that looking for professionally and personally in that ideal job that seems perpetually out of ding those precious few moments we are granted to experience the peaks and pitfalls of human existence. My most intimate relationship these days is with this machine. My fingertips fly over the lightly textured, moderately warm keys, enjoying the give as I apply a delicate pressure. I pretend I am a pianist, convinced the sounds I am making would inspire transcendence. Actually, what I produce is either drab meandering recitations of already rehearsed history or these ultimately useless rants. In my mind, a chorus continually resonates: At w How can this be my calling? * the maple stained pine. I lean forward, fixated on the kneeling bench that str etches across the front of the sanctuary below the steps that lead to the pulpit. I approximate the
231 distance between me and the bench: twenty five or thirty of my long legged strides. I have my panty hose on today. If I kneel, will they snag? Peering fro m beneath lowered lashes and bowed head, I see Mrs. Bower make for the alt a r. She floats in her calf length flowered dress with its tidy, white lace collar. Her emaciated frame suggests frailty. Sharp, bony ankles poke overtop of her low heeled pumps. She five. Mrs. Bower is Like my father. The lilting, slightly nasal voices of t he choir encourage me to move. They always sing too high and usually off key. sing next to her with my pitchy caterwauling. The sound of these twelve voices gets inside of me, and what I hear are the voices of thousands trying valiantly to breech the sky and ascend into the dark depths of an unimaginable eternity. They try to take me with them. family. Something is wrong with me and my family. I will look pious and devout, a good girl drawn by the voice of God to pray on the altar of His Grace and Divinity. I will look like a traitor to my family, to my mother who will watch me and know The sins of the mother . of me straining to reach that alt a r. Is it the Spirit? Is it God? Is it my resentment a nd hatred needing to provoke a confrontation? With whom? I stand.
232 INTERLUDE Journal August 15, 2008 Yesterday we ate Chinese take out and listlessly watched the Ellen Show Ellen and Jeff Foxworthy were talking about how they always cried watching E xtreme Makeover gripped by some kind of terrible misfortune, sees the grand architectural wonder they can now call home (if they can afford to pay the property taxes). Where had that come from? I was shocked and speechless. What kind of comment or an opinion, but apparently he thought this needed to be said. asked for confirmation, I knew he was right. I have become cynical and bitter. I know it; I it was noticeable. I think about the fear and self doubt which hold court in the rece sses of my consciousness. I think about the panic that wakes me in the middle of the night, refusing voiced. I think about the near debilitating pain that has nes ted in the muscles between my shoulder blades. I think about the constant pull of exhaustion, dangerous like an invisible undertow. I think about limbs, feeling the atrophy claim calf muscle, quadricep, hamstring, bicep.
233 No one tells you what a physicall y excruciating process this is. The quest for dissertation is framed as an intellectual challenge. Are you smart enough? Prove it. But I have learned am learning still the true nature of the quest. It is a challenge of the will. Do you want it enough? What will you give? What will you do? Can you make it through the gauntlet? Quests have felled many, many would be heroines and heroes. What will I give? What have already given?
234 INTERLUDE Journal July 6, 2009 Fifteen pages, give or take, conclusion awaits my profound realizations, my pithy, witty summaries of significant points made throughout this manuscript. The conclusion, the resolution, awaits revelation. * I picked Rick up from the airport yesterday afternoon and found an uncompanionably quiet, brooding man. Visiting his family was a last minute decision based on their apparent need to be visited. He has returned solemn, decidedly hostile, and intent on moving us to Mass achusetts post haste : you finish writing in Massachusetts, and then fly down for your Enough is enough. Fifteen pages, give or take, and then? Actually, I am undone. This process has taken me apart, bit by bit, until all I have become rests in fragments strewn about the coarsely carpeted floor of our ghetto apartment. I am undon destination is Massachusetts). For what am I fit? I think, I will leave the academy I t feels less like a decision and more like a means to survival. In recent months, I have determined I am not one of the fittest I lack certain tolerances necessary to remain in the game and I choose not to engage in any more attempts to cultivate what surely will never grow.
235 I am undone confused, reeling, devastated, panicked, without course and afraid. Th is is not how I expected this process to end. I thought I would be degreed, pedigreed, conferred into a world of thought and constant development, a member of a community of scholars who love learning and love teaching, who support one another as we extend ourselves beyond boundaries into a brave new world of revolutionary ideas and practical applications that contribute to helping our communities. What I have concluded is that this optimistic, idealization of the academy was my Heaven. I was doing good wo rks and I believed in the face of adversity; my faith was solid and I practiced my belief. I worshipped at the altar of Disciplinary Knowledge. This manuscript, this dissertation, was my performance of faith. And how I have cried since I found my world sh attering, beast infested
236 CHAPTER 6 IN THE BEGINNING Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . -Psalm 23:4 Field Notes: June 27, 2004 but I do know that I walked away feeling unfulfilled and somehow void. But not cheated. I walked through the Street Market towards the great, stonewalled exit, looking around me, searching for something that I had not yet seen or heard or felt. The chicken s were still caged, the souvenir acacia trees, I bought one of those trees, small and wiry sitting in the shade of its full grown counterpart a little piece of livi ng memory Biblical to see. But even the contrived symbolism of this tiny bit of history branches from this y, bloody halo missing something. I walked through the turnstile and into the parking lot, immediately aware of Interstate 4, Seven Eleven, asphalt, and the inevitable two hour drive back to Zephyrhills. I took a couple deep breaths of dense, saturated air, shook off feelings too similar to failure, cli mbed in my car and headed home. The Beginning of the End of the Beginning directive to 1 Behold the Lamb also ends E is
237 to go ye therefore and do I watch as Jesus ascends the mountain, his stark white robes billowing, arms stretching wide in effigy of his own sacrifice. He stand love. How much does He love us? From the palm of one nail pierced hand to the other. How much does He love us? Enough to descend into human form, to suffer corporeal pain, to undergo the horrific process of public executio n enough to be pierced by nails and die on a wooden cross. When I was a kid, I would sit and watch the pastor of our church stand atop the just rs. He loved us this hyper extending his chest, his head falling backwards as he mimicked the crucified body loved us this much! He gave h is son as sacrifice to atone for all of our sins. Jesus hurt, and bled, and died for us The choir would begin The exuberance rose to fever pitch. But before we could be overcome with the Spirit, like our Pentecostal counterparts before we could begin to move and groove with the Holy Ghost, before we could o pen our mouths and embrace the speaking of tongues our white Southern Baptist congregation was subdued through prayer. us, for Your sacrifice, and for Your unerring forgiveness. Thank You, Lord, for giving us this opportunity to worship You and spend eternity acting as Your humble servants. But Lord, I fear that today there
238 are those among us who have not accepted Your G race and Your Love. Lord, I fear there are those here today who will not be joining us in Blessed eternity. Please Lord, work in o increase in volume, and then they sang, . echo in the hollows of my chest. Most days someone would respond to the call to altar: a member of the church currently experiencing hardship in h er life, a guilty soul seeking public forgiveness for some small wrong. Rarely would there actually be a person in the congregation whose the prayer calms, refocuses, a nd compels the audience, someone heeds the call, and finally, everyone for being here this morning and hosting a fish We milled around a bit, speaking to friends and acquaintances, making plans for later in the week, or simply saying our goodbyes. As we stood amongst one another, hip session, we knew what we were doing. We knew where we were going. There was never a sense of confusion as to what followed. Now, as Behold the Lamb finishes and I stand among the mob trying to make sense of the Passion performance in which I just par ticipated as I feel the absence of a Jesus whom I had just come to know through his physical suffering through the white, wooden gates at the rear of t he site. I look around and notice other audience members also looking around. Some people are moving quickly, gathering their ngs. Now they want to beat the traffic out of here. 2
239 What do I do now? I watch as other visitors file into the Jerusalem Market gift shop for one final consumer purchase. A souvenir that somehow captures what we have just experienced? Maybe one of the dec orative crosses made of authentic olive wood and imported from Jerusalem? Or maybe an actual crown of thorns made from twisted acacia branches gilded in gold? For me, it was parachute Jesus. At the end of our first visit to the HLE, Rick, my mother, and I wandered through the gift shop. I can still remember the distracted way I drifted through the space, tentatively touching possible souvenirs, my fingers delicately brushing over bookmarks, Bibles, toy swords, stuffed lambs, and pottery. Then, in the area designated for children, I found parachute Jesus sitting on the edge of a shelf, seemingly ready to jump. He was at eye level and accompanied by some other parachute people, all characters from the Bible, of course. I looked at him and knew he was coming h ome with me. Sitting on the edge of that shelf, a mighty precipice for a little man only five inches tall, parachute Jesus (as I have fondly come to call him) was my perfect savior souvenir. Parachute Jesus, robed and sandaled, a seven page summation of hi s human blue parachute, is the epitome of commercialized Christianity, telling tales of faith, desire, commodification, and redemption. Five years later, he sits watching me, again perched on the edge of a shelf story end? Why did all of these people come to this place? Why did I go to the Holy Land have suggested some possible reasons why visitors come to the HLE: as an alternative to secular amusement parks like Disney, as a means of worship and experiencing communion with other people of faith, as a way of physically experiencing and performing fa ith, creating a tangible relationship with the story of Salvation by Grace, and as a way of establishing connections to a Christian heritage. But why did I go to the HLE? Why did I keep going back? Why, even now, do I want to return? The easy answer is t hat I see in the HLE a fantastic amalgamation of ideologies, cultural expressions, and performances of identities. It is without doubt a riveting and lush site for a researcher interested in cultural performances and
240 performances of culture. I knew in that first semester of my doctoral program that the HLE would be the site of my dissertation research. That is the easy answer, but to leave it at that would be to ignore the presence and influence of my own subjectivity, to pretend that my own feelings and m otivations have not dramatically shaped this project. What is at the heart of my fascination with this place? This is the question with which I have been grappling as I have worked through each chapter in this manuscript. And while each chapter reflects my varying interests (constructions and performances of institutional and individual identities, travel practices in postmodern society, and engagement with spaces of simulation), it was in Chapter 5 where I wrote through the experience of participating in t he death of Jesus that I realized the roots of my obsession. In my field notes from my first visit on June 27, 2004, I deliver death and destruction. This is the crux of my obsession with the place. It offers me the opportunity to participate in a public execution, an assassination, albeit simulated. tortured and hung from a fake woode Behold the Lamb I kill Jesus. In this final chapter, I investigate and try to make sense of the HLE as a site where public execution is performed and where visitors participate in this process. To do this, I return to the idea of dark tourism. In the process of deconstructing Behold the Lamb as a performance of execution, I also suggest reasons for visitor attraction to the violence of this sacred. Behold, an Execution The presence of the HLE in contemporary society challenges movem ents to alleviate and eliminate suffering from the human experience. According to the logic of the HLE, suffering must be central to our worlds. Behold the Lamb is the foci of the site, both physically and conceptually. The drama is often only offered once a day at the end and execution, the process of which comprises fifteen ou t of twenty minutes. Makeup
241 artists do their best to transform the healthy body of the actor into the tortured and failing body of Jesus in an attempt to create empathy in the audience. Can we imagine our bodies in his place? We are meant to try and to be overwhelmed with visceral pain, acknowledging our inability to carry and persevere through such a burden. By emphasizing corporeal pain and dramatizing torture and crucifixion, the HLE is offering visitors the opportunity to engage in a (simulated) public execution. State sanctioned public executions have been absent from the United States for almost a century. The Holy Land Experience dramatizes an execution daily. This may be one of the only locations in the United States where audiences can participate as spectactors in a live performance of torture and execution. There is, however, a marked difference between the HLE performance of execution and contemporary philosophies and modes of execution in the United States. Behold the Lamb creates a space whe re spectactors can participate in a public execution inside the framework surrounding two powerful discourses: religious devotion and capital punishment. Violence is inherent in the beliefs and practices of religion and the national penal systems. Religion employs violence through sacrifice, whereas the judicial system uses violence through punishment. The goals of our contemporary judicial system institution of sacri 3 theories of violence are applicable to this project because they allow me to investigate Behold the Lamb as a performance of sacrifice (sacred and profane) and penal justice (secular). Con textualizing the HLE drama within institutionally sanctioned performances of faith (sacred) legitimizes the presentation of a human, embodied Christ messy with his corporeal pain (profane). But the modern processes of capital punishment (secular) suggest t he inhumanity and inappropriateness of such a display. Visitors are constantly negotiating these discourses and these negotiations are particularly evident at Behold the Lamb
242 Repression of the Violence of Execution executions, specifically lynchings not authorized by the judiciary, through a performance framework. He argues that performances in and around lynchings of African Americans in the United States often include d taboo subjects like sex. Taboos regarding sexual matters created an atmosphere of sexual repression in the Victorian era. Fuoss understands the explicit presence of sexuality in the performances of and related to understand Behold the Lamb as an act of contained, orchestrated violence which functions to vent a repressed social violence. I suggest that dark tourism in general and Behold the Lamb in particular are instances contemporary practices of capital punishment repress the violence inherent in execution. The past four hundred years in the United States have been marked by significant changes in the processes and meaning s of legal executions. For the majority of those years, executions were the most popular performance genre in the United States, drawing sprawling crowds. 4 These public executions were originally bound up in the rhetoric of Christianity. They functioned, a mong other things, as morality plays where a criminal faced torture and death as a result of breeching social codes and/or challenging those in power. Even after the official judicial ruling, the malefactor was, yet again, judged. The crowd weighed the pro embraced her punishment, accepted confession and publicly professed a relationship with what medievals [societies] called the hereas, an unrepentant scoundrel who refuses confession and voices no remorse for the crime is judged deserving of an excruciating end. 5 Yet no matter the torture and execu tion. The difference was in how witnesses made sense of the mutilated body. The pain afflicted upon the penitent body was understood by onlookers as a process of purification and noble suffering, manifesting the sacred and endowing martyr like status upon the deceased. The unrepentant body in pain was deserving of the torture that would mark her last moments on earth and pave her way to hell.
243 In the contemporary United States, the violence inherent in our penal system and the reality that capital punishmen t is murder are repressed topics. One of the most pertinent contemporary characteristics of execution rituals is a predisposition towards humane delivery of death through the medical model of lethal injection. These practices are implemented to control and sanitize the execution performance. Ideally, in a modern execution, the criminal body demonstrates no outward signs of discomfort or pain. The body remains intact and clean. Witnesses are left with the impression that the deceased has fallen into a deep, peaceful sleep. 6 The intention is to remove the corporeal from capital punishment. Michel Foucault argues in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison that in contemporary Western societies, at least, performances of corporeal and capital punishment have dramatically shifted from public displays to private events in order to disguise the violence of the state. Dwight Conquergood affirms this observation in his ri tual performances of executions have shifted from the public sphere of spectacle to the veiled private sphere. This shift in access is muddled and marked by issues of inclusion/ exclusion, popular/elite, and redemption/retribution. Whereas executions were once performances directed towards the public, including individuals of all classes, a spectacle of potential redemption through state retribution, the shift to public exclusion and the privileging of a private, elite (state selected) audience obscures the possibilities for public redemption and attempts to disguise the actuality of state retribution. In its supposed humanity, these new processes of execution only hide the evidence of violence and 7 Foucault understands this shift as an indication of a shift in the relationship between power and discipline (from external suppression by demonstration to internal repression, which Foucault finds positive because it supposedly decre ases the presence of raw, physical violence in societies). In contrast, Conquergood minimizes the importance of this shift by emphasizing the frequency of execution practices. While he recognizes that a shift in visibility has taken place, Conquergood unde rmines the importance of this shift by focusing instead on the increased popularity of the practice of execution as
244 punishment. He notes that between 1968 and 1976, there were no executions in the United States. To his chagrin, at the printing of his artic le in May 2002, there had already been 31 people executed that year. He attributes this increase in blood lust (or rightful spectacle of the scaffold to which Conquer good refers is not a spectacle of death or dying, as it was in the context for which Foucault coined the phrase, but rather the image of the death mechanism (such as the electric chair or gas chamber). The human body being disciplined is absent from Conque parallel with the Christian spectacle of the scaffold. In Protestant traditions (but not the death mechanism is often exhibited, but the tortured, dying body is absent. While Protestants may argue that the omission is largely an indicator of theological emphasis the violence of his torture and d eath. To his credit, I believe what Conquergood is attempting to do is raise awareness of a change in the social atmosphere, an increased interest in and desire for spectacles of punishment and death. And while the Protestant spectacle of the scaffold may Protestant religiosity, such as the HLE, demonstrate a public interest in the tortured body of Jesus. Where can we find spectacles of punishment and death if not overtly in our own system of c apital punishment? I suggest that contemporary audiences may seek these spectacles or more appropriately these experiences of punishment and death in edutainment and entertainment venues like the HLE in order to help them make sense of their worlds Specif ically, sites classifiable as dark sites offer visitors the opportunity to witness and experience moments of terror, pain, and death otherwise unavailable in our culture. As I stated in Chapter 5, dark sites are spaces whose themes engage some type of dest ruction, catastrophe, or death. In a society where the violence of punishment and death are repressed, hidden, sanitized, and taboo, the increasing popularity of dark sites as destinations of visitation suggests the repressed is returning in interesting wa ys, notably via performances and simulations found in educational venues.
245 Because they are technologies of cultural and national memory, museums are not only permitted to display atrocities, but are compelled because of their educational imperative to cr boundaries of decency intrinsically tied to the discourse of capital punishment will only allow dark sites in the U.S. so much latitude in presenting torture and death. The Holoca ust Museum in Washington, D.C., offers pictures of brutalized bodies, sounds of execution, interactive stage sets that include the train cars which carried multitudes of people to their doom. Yet the museum does not and will never perform a simulated execu tion. Showing the mechanisms of death is different than presenting a live performance of the execution itself. Films and photographs are able to portray torture and execution without much moral reprisal. In fact, some films are heralded for their educati onal and emotionally compelling presentations of executions (documentaries chronicling World War II and Vietnam, as well as works of fiction like The Green Mile come to mind). The two dimensional quality of the film engenders a distance between the viewer and the event, performance of an execution as an edutainment event has largely been the territory of ause it is not understood as an execution, but rather a sacrifice. Visitors are able to reconcile the fact that they are witnessing state sanctioned torture and execution (corporal and capital punishment) a taboo performance by couching the act in the reli gious rhetoric of sacrifice. Sacrifice as Sacred Violence In his treatise on the relationship between violence and the sacred, Renee Girard differentiates ritual sacrifice from punishment meted out by contemporary Western judicial systems. With these di stinctions in mind, he then argues that the violence inherent in both systems is the same. Both systems employ violence in order to curtail more violence ( reciprocal revenge inflicted on a surrogate victim
246 the Old Testament of the Bible, posit a god or deity who demands sacrifice and the community offers a bl ood sacrifice (typically) via animal slaughter. This sacrifice is meant to appease the god so that no further violence (violent acts of nature such as floods or famines or disease) besets the community. Girard suggests that the theological interpretation of sacrifice obscures the actual function of sacrificial systems in societies. By understanding these systems as religious, and often dismissing them as imaginary or absurd, scholars facilitate a misunderstanding of sacrifice. Sacrifice, argues Girard, is a means of controlling and directing violence, a safety valve of sorts, which allows a society to vent its violent impulses in a proscribed and meaningful way. The ultimate goal of sacrifice is to prevent further violence. What constitutes a sacrificeabl e victim? Typically, a sacrificial body is an abject body someone on the margins or outside of the community. Again, sacrificial victims are typically non human, but share some kind of meaningful relationship with humans. For instance, lambs were commonly sacrificed in the Old Testament because of their high use value to their human counterparts. Animals, because of their non human status, are popular choices, but human sacrifice in certain communities has been documented. When choosing a human sacrifice, i individuals, incapable of establishing or sharing the social bonds that link the rest of the 8 9 The abject status of the victim is vital to the sacrificial process because the goal of sacrifice is to prevent further violence. a to end violence and save the world. Scripture describes Jesus as a sacrifice: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believ eth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his
247 Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 10 Though sacrifice has been the conceptual framework through which Christians interpret Je arguably assassinated because he posed a political threat. His death was a decision reached by the governing judicial body, and thus does not conform to the characteristics of ritual sacrifice. But it is imperative t o the some rhetorical strategy is necessary. This rhetorical strategy cons ists of referring to Jesus as the Lamb of God, equating him to the animal victim most often slain in Jewish he serves as a surrogate. In his divinity, Jesus is ab jected. Like the example Girard provides of kings who have been the victims of sacrifice, Jesus though a leader of his isolate him from his fellow men . . He escapes 11 reprisal. Jesus is the son of the god to whom he is being sacrificed; his death is preordained, required, and sanctified thro he gave my emphasis ). Ideally, there is no risk of vengeance, no Jesus is the ultimate sacr ifice because his death theoretically ends violence. His death narrated by Chr istians as not just a sacrifice, but the perfect sacrifice and gift. also highlights the secular, political nature of the crucifixion as public execution. In systems of ritual sacrifice, the victim being sacrificed is not guilty of a crime, but is a surrogate for the community. In executions, the victim has committed some crime against the community, has undergone some form of judicial process to ascertain guilt, and is then sentenced to a punishment by the judicial institution. Jesus was arrested and charged
248 o ever 12 Pilate, the governing autho rity who represented the Roman Empire, never convicted Jesus of the alleged crime, but sentenced him to crucifixion at the behest of the council of elders who governed the Jewish community. This is an important element in maintaining the rhetoric of sacrif ice: Jesus was not officially deemed guilty of any crime by the state. And yet, he was sentenced as a criminal and crucified beside two other criminals. This act of violence is simultaneously sacrifice and execution, sacred and secular, and saturated with the profane. soldiers who scourged Jesus clothed him with purple, and plaited a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own 13 wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, S 14 The chief priests mocked Jesus, as did the criminals who hung beside him. When they believed he was thirsty, the soldiers offered him vinegar. Torture, humiliation, and shame were common elements of the proces s of public execution until the eighteenth century, but these elements were not technologies of the profane. Indeed, they were often understood and invoked as purifying elements that could result in criminals experiencing redemption and the sacred. The pro fane is neither a part of the secular judicial system nor the system of ritual sacrifice. Its presence in the process be confined to common ritual sacrifice or simple secular execution. It performs elements of each while it transcends
249 something other than secular violence. It is a p against God, our profane nature, and thus the reason we need divine forgiveness and l y nch pin of the logic of the narrative of Sa lvation by Grace. The importance of the profane to the narrative of Salvation by Grace is not Behold the Lamb originally performed the im down, Behold the Lamb also includes a scene of the scourging where Jesus is flogged, draped in ing as a spectactor, bearing witness to these things, I cannot make sense of the layers of violence. I try to use my experiential knowledge of violence as a framework, but I do not know this kind of ritual sacrifice or this kind of corporeal punishment. Th is is not to say I do not know pain, but like so many of my contemporaries, I do not know severe physical pain through extreme physical violence. Nor do I know extreme physical suffering as sacrifice. How, then, do I make sense of the story of Salvation by Grace, or of the narrative event that is the execution of a man named Jesus? Historically, people experienced and made sense of violence through their understand ritual sac rifice because we have been privileged to live in societies governed by powerful, transcendent judicial systems that eliminate the need for what he terms have formal judicial institutions and must employ other practices such as sacrifice in order to thwart reciprocal revenge. Private vengeance is rare in our society and typically contem 15 Fouc ault would agree that private vengeance in our society is deterred by the specter of public vengeance, rather than overt punishment of bodies. Contemporary
250 Americans, Foucault might suggest, cannot understand the torture of bodies by earlier penal systems compulsion of self against the horizon of the norm) combined with the carceral system of detention and rehabilitati tortures . 16 of controlling violence. The diminishing of violence through the obfuscati ng technologies of sacrificial and judicial systems has not vanquished violence, only repressed its judicial vengeance, and when we speak of sacrifice, it is often in eco nomic terms (Have you tithed this week?). At the HLE, we are able to lift the veil of secrecy and glimpse the processes of sacrificial and judicial violence. By transporting us through space and time, the HLE recovers an era in human history where both s acrifice and judgment were articulated and suffering because it is morally right that we do so we must witness the sacrifice. We must understand what the world did to t he body of Jesus through the fallibility of human judgment. A Postmodern Passion for Pain? To witness the violence of sacrifice and judgment upon a human body through a live performance is a profound experience. The fact that a performance such as this is being enacted everyday at a Biblical edutainment complex located amidst a tourist Mecca perspectives regarding the repression of pain and suffering as appropriate public pe rformances may be changing. Prior to leaving for the HLE on March 21, 2008 (Good Friday), Rick and I the crucifixion as interpreted by Beck was weaved through a hod ge podge of Pink Floyd
251 music. He says he plays this piece every year, and he continually gets calls from listeners wanting to know why he focuses on the death of Christ, rather than the resurrection. Beck launches into an enlightening response: On Good Fri day [I] just want to spend a few minutes with you just talking about the meaning of Good Friday. Doesn't matter if you're a Christian or not. The meaning is universal truth, and I guess I started it with pain that you've got to have the pain. You have to g o through the pain, and it's what you do with the pain. You've got to have the pain and then stop and recognize it; and everybody always asks me on Friday, on Good Friday, why that piece that we played at the beginning of the hour ends at the crucifixion a nd the death. Well, because the resurrection comes later. Focus on the pain for a minute and recognize the pain. Behold the Lamb One of the tropes of the postmodern condition is anaesthesia, a sense of numbness. Th e definition of anaesthesia 17 Typically, the term refers to the medical technology employed to numb the senses prior to any procedure which will cause pain. It is easy to understand, based on the definiti on, how this term has become a trope of postmodernity: the dulling of sensitivity to pain through artifice. Our thriving medical industry doles out prescription drugs specifically for this purpose rath er not involve a doctor, we can self medicate with alcohol or narcotics. Thus, the connotations of postmodernity are often negative. People do not feel as if they are living their lives. They feel detached and alienated, a strange drifting that is existenc e, not life. Living is conflated with authentic experiences, with risk, with the (calculated) nearness of pain and death. What is the social anesthetic which leaves us feeling numb? the age of me dia saturation where images of everything are available in an instant. Media mediates our experiences with our worlds. Media mediates self and other. Speaking of Holocaust death
252 camps, Claude Lanzman n the filmmaker who produced Shoah (1985), a nine and a h alf hour documentary about the Holocaust argues that world wide knowledge of images of the concentration camps themselves. 18 n emo tion is lost, reduced by knowledge in anticipation and familiarity from media 19 Upon my first visit to the HLE, I found myself devastated and disgusted by own apparent emotional distance from the performance of pain. I believed I had become desensi tized to the pain of others, a product of our media(ted) age. Field Notes: June 27, 2004 As we walk away from this site of torment and murder [ Behold the Lamb ], I wonder at my lack of emotion, my apparent desensitization. I thought that I had come here a willing participant in the illusion, but am I now subconsciously rejecting the construct or have years of exposure to this story dulled my sensitivity? Maybe my fairly graphic film, The Passion of the Christ has overshadow ed my experience of HLE Jesus bled; compulsion to take pictures. Maybe my lack of emotion can be blamed on current socio political events or on cent into a kneeling position, hands secured behind his back, blindfolded (or maybe not), shaking in fear, defecating himself because he has the knowledge that his head will soon roll from his shoulders. Or maybe my emotionless reaction was because Jesus was tortured in a way that contemporary Americans simply cannot imagine and, though filmmakers and Marv Rosenthal try in earnest to give us the imagery that we lack, t heir efforts seem in vain. Jesus is an historical character, distanced in time and space from us. Can we feel
253 authentic emotions for someone who is so far removed from our current reality? Maybe the real issue what compels evangelists to recreate and asser t this graphic imagery is fear of an increasing detachment of the individual consciousness from the ultimate sacrifice. Contemporary Christians can no longer empathize with Christ and, thus, his sacrifice becomes trivialized. * Later, I understo od (or maybe I rationalized?) this initial reaction as shock. It Behold the Lamb Indeed, it was the opposite. I was so overwhelmed with the sensuousness of suffering that I could not process or make sense of what I was witnessing. I was in shock. As I wrote through those rough field notes trying to grapple with the event and my seeming lack of engagement, I drew upon the only frames I had for understanding this sort of performance: film and d ocumentary reports two dimensional media. The shock (my 20 ) of being present in a living performance of such profound violence has now settled into confusion, sadness, anger, disgust, and vulnerability, all emotions I can identif . 21 Speaking of the mass distribution of images, Sontag argues that boredom is an expectation, and thus aspect 22 onsumers droop. They need to be stimulated, jump started, 23 Cultural and media critics, like Lennon and Foley, suggest that the public is experiencing a mass desensitization to violence affected through the pervasiveness of media generate d imagery. Glen Beck, in his Good Friday radio broadcast, clearly echoes theories of media desensitization (oh, the irony!), and bemoans the anesthetizing of U.S. central to emotional state (in which deep identification with the 24 Maybe
254 this is the case. Maybe we, as a society, are finding it more challenging to empathize with the pain of others. Maybe we do not feel the emotions we believe we should feel when we see images of pain and suffering. What I suggest is that, if this perceived desensitization is the case, individuals are not seeking out new experiences of pain an d shown because of the quantity of imag states described as apathy, moral or emotional anesthesia, are full of feelings; the feelings 25 26 cause (not the result) of desensitization. Sontag eloquently sums up the postmodern condition as not lacking feeling, but suffering from an overabundance of feeling. Desensitiza tion is not a characteristic of postmodernity because of the pervasiveness of images, but because we stop trying to engage those images. Our rage and frustration at our seeming inability to change the conditions of suffering displayed in those images leads us to stop trying to passivity, which is the harbinger of desensitization. Contemporary interest in dark sites, especially performances of pain and suffering like Behold the Lamb can be understood as means of reclaiming our agency through cultivating s ensitivity. We are counteracting desensitization by choosing to become active, to become spectactors. People are seeking out ways to develop their sensitivity sensitivity being a method of sense making, an analytical skill ways to experience violence that will allow them to help make sense of their worlds; to connect, to empathize with others who have lived or are living through suffering. We want to touch the pain of others so that we may deepen our understandings of the human experience of pain and death. It is our curiosity and our desire to know experientially, and to organize and control the ultimate abstract death that compels us to seek the macabre.
255 Acquiring Embodied Knowledge of Pain and Suffering A desire for the macabre is manifest in contempo rary travel practices that include dark sites as destinations. Live performances of suffering and death are generally absent from the contemporary cultural lexicon. This absence, or rather this disguised presence, is felt as a shift in reality a lack of au thenticity. Dark tourism attests to the growing fascination of late modernity with the spaces, acts, and histories of death and human suffering (specifically physical, bodied suffering). According to Lennon and Foley, disaster and atrocity is a growing phenomenon in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries and that theorists have both noted and 27 I argue that while we are subject to a barrage of images of pain, death, and destructi on on a daily basis through the media, most of us do not have experiential knowledge to draw upon in making sense of these two dimensional images. We desire an embodied knowledge of events that saturate our media and so we seek out these experiences in our travel destinations. If we have become desensitized to the pain of others in this postmodern world, then edutainment venues like the HLE allow for new ways to experience pain. Lennon and Foley argue, Museum objects, whether it be a fortification, site o f imprisonment, place of death, take on a key role in a culture that is dominated by moving images and fleeting visions in modern technology. Permanency of monuments, ruins, preserved spaces, can serve to attract a public dissatisfied with . [t he] medi a culture of the modern age. 28 Edutainment venues that include live performances use the medium of performance to types of experience can strip away the typical mediat ions that intervene in the experience 29 The HLE esemblance to reality obscures their status as mediated and authored, thereby producing the illusion of direct access to the lost 30 In a sense, demediating simulation In Chapter 5 I
256 defined simulation as performing the pres ence of something absent, and thereby producing signs that function in place of the absent thing; simulation is a process of production and a process of meaning making. Simulation is a powerful force of generation, continually reconstituting a plethora of virtualities and contingent truths. Demediation is the use of media to trouble mediation. Like simulation, demediating is a generating force that creates opportunities for experiential authenticity. Behold the Lamb an embodied performance of sacrifice a nd execution, is a demediating event insofar as it troubles typical mediated representations of the event (such as in which pain and suffering are created via the performance of an imagined reality always already mediated. Spectactors in the event may experience a renewed perception of the narrative of Salvation by Grace because they are experiencing it as a live, embodied event. They may also experience a renewed perception of sacr ifice and capital punishment. This renewed perception through direct experience creates a sense of reality, which translates to experiential authenticity a feeling of having sacrificed Sacrifice M ade Strange I have been fascinated by the concept of sa crifice since I was a child. Growing up understand it. More than anything, I wanted to understand that sacrifice, I wanted to touch the pain of Jesus, to know how i t felt to give everything you have to save another. I associated sacrifice with love. Sacrifice is the ultimate expression of love I believed. Maybe I still believe this. Sacrifice is the ultimate performance of faith I believed. Maybe I still believe th is, too. My understandings of faith, love, sacrifice, and punishment have been twisted up together for as long as I can remember. It is through these tropes that I have attempted to make sense of my attraction to the HLE. It is in this fun house mirror, which their mingling creates, that I see how I have experienced the violence of Behold the Lamb and the violence of writing this dissertation.
257 I have stumbled through this process spiritual journey/research project, another manifestation of sacred/secula r, another false binary always questioning my worthiness: Am I smart enough, critical enough, reverent enough? Always questioning my sacrifice: Have I given enough time, energy, money? Always questioning my devotion: Do I want this badly enough? Do I love it above all things? Have I proven my faith? And I always find myself wanting. Herein lies the violence of my sacred the sacrifice and the punishment. I learned martyrdom from my mother, but I refined it in the halls of the academy. Worship at the altar of knowledge and find redemption. Publish in the annals of the discipline and find immortality. Devote myself to interpretation and understanding and receive peace of mind. No one told me these things. I overlaid my desire for communion and transcendence o nto what seemed like a noble pursuit the acquisition of knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Faith, love, sacrifice, and punishment are easily translated from the institution of Christianity to the institution of Knowledge. I had faith that what I was do ing was good and useful and would save my soul from degeneration and desolation. I loved my research and my writing. But the sacrifice: At what price knowledge? What will I give? These are questions I thought I heard chiming like church bells in the hallow ed halls of my university. These are the questions that have haunted me as I struggled through this project. What I have come to realize is that I have constructed this manuscript around issues I face in my life: identity, desire for community, desire f or cultural and historical anchors, my own educational imperative, performances of faith, and need to make sense of my attraction to the violence inherent in the space of the HLE. t my own fascination while sketching a theoretical framework and method of inquiry through as a nonprofit organization. The HLE claims to be a museum, whereas county tax officials argue that it is an entertainment. I argue the HLE is an edutainment complex, which does discussion of
2 58 visitors interact with performative display practices like those employed i n the Scriptorium. These performative display practices characteristic of orchestrated models of museum design function to create virtualities and facilitate experiential authenticity. e discussion of museum design broached in Chapter 4, focusing on the HLE as a themed space and a heritage site. I argue that the HLE functions as a heritage site offering visitors a means of physically engaging with an imagined past and publicly participat ing in the narrative of relationship between theatre, performance, and religion in the United States, focusing on the development of Passion plays in the twentieth century. I th en assert that visitors Behold the Lamb As spectactors, visitors The violence of the HLE positions the location as a site o f dark tourism. In this final chapter, I argue that visitor attraction to dark tourist sites like the HLE can be understood as a means of sense making and resensitization a combating of the anaesthesia of postmodernity a means of reclaiming agency through witnessing. Which brings us here: the end? Actually, this is a beginning of sorts. It is the beginning of resensitization, my active attempt to understand the relationships between faith, love, sacrifice, and punishment that influence this work; that infl uence the ways I have been moving through my life, including and especially the academy. Now, I will end with the beginning the rambling, confused, angry, and defensive thoughts of a girl whose faith has been interrupted and begin with the ending the rambl ing thoughts of a girl performing the beginnings of a faith she wants to find.
259 Field Notes: June 27, 2004 This is not a story of conversion or conviction. I did not venture to the Holy Land Experience to worship God or celebrate Christianity or eat quasi Middle Eastern food or buy trinkets directly imported from Israel or delude myself into substituting this experience for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I did not go to the HLE to criticize d and hung from a fake wooden believe land of miracles and God incarnate. I thought I wanted convenient, pre fab fantasy packaged in a safe environment and equipped with colorful characters. Yet, leaving the park, I was overcome with a sense of defeat. Though I did not go to the park to find redemption or experience the sublime, I did want to feel something. Maybe I did want my spirit moved and my faith reaff irmed and some kind of tangible sign that we are not alone in our ephemeral journey through this universe and that death is not really the end. I was searching for authentic emotional responses in an elaborately contrived, commercially driven themed produc tion. Logically, I knew that the Holy Land that being immersed in a religious theme park surrounded by what I believed would be other religious people, I might feel m ore religious. Instead, I took home parachute Jesus. Journal: December 21, 2008 And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. -Matthew 28:20. s ays. I stare into the vast expanse of the road ahead, one hand on the wheel, the other dangling outside the window. The warm breeze reminds me why Christmas never feels like Christmas in Florida. The sun is already beating heat on my leg, and I think I m ay need to turn on the air conditioning soon.
260 Half in and half out of the trance like state engendered by driving familiar roads, I means. s a God out there who listens to everything man, a real person, to save the world by dying This is our final trip to the HLE. Our passes expire today, four days before today by promising to go to the Orlando Prime Outlets afterward. I hear the disgust in his tone subtle but present, as he questions the logic of belief. I wait, thinking it may be a rhetorical question; more venting about the colonialism of Christmas. Rick is seriously anti Christian : worker whose zealotry has have to fo 4. The question was apparently not rhetorical. ritiquing the stories and the people really not You only w ent to a Catholic school for a couple of years. And institutional pressure to
261 hat have sought as I embarked on this journey. But something is coming to me; a knowledge that I know I have known, but never articulated. I feel it stirring and I sit up st raighter in my seat, as if adjusting my posture will allow it to move up into my consciousness and out that strange place in my chest that hollows out at those most terr ifying moments of depression, desperation, and loss. Focused on the asphalt in front of me, but seeing and feeling fragments of my compelling because if we believe it, then that means a God exists who loves us unconditionally. Enough to make a monstrous sacrifice. Nobody on earth loves us a God out there who loves us that much, the story: virgin birth, infallible man, resurrection. Come on! If God is God, then why would God He can make things the way he My awareness of my own relationship with faith is sharpening, like a ka leidoscope as it settles on a particular formation. No coherent image or representation, per se, but a clear view of how separate particles dance together and create a distinct, fragile moment of beauty. unconditional love. If we forsake the story, then we have to admit to being ultimately
262 alone. When I was a kid sometimes the only solace I had was in thinking that there was someone out there in the stars who gave a shit about me. Someone who would listen and days I felt the most profound emptiness; days of deso lation and asking myself why I should even continue to live. In the most desperate hours when we have nothing else, no one else, then who can we turn to? Who will care about us? I needed that belief in those moments. I needed that faith to survive another The moment I allowed myself to acknowledge the inconsistencies and irrationality, the utter ridiculousness of the stories I was raised to believe, was the moment that a vast, terrifying abyss opened up at the edge of my consciousness. I feel it so close to my soul, and I am sick with fear that one day my soul will step wrongly and will spiral down into bleak, bottomless nothingness. Empty. Alone. Rick watches me as I sit tense and uncomfortable. I feel raw and vulnerable. I have valued my strength above all things since I was a child. I was the anchor that held my family fast in the maelstrom of poor choices, incessant battles, and psychosis that characterized my childhood. I had the broad shoulders, open ears, and comforting words. God to hear me and send me refuge. To admit to those moments of weakness, of fear and doubt and utter desolation, comes easier now as distance allows me to look critically at the events and my role in perpetuating the craziness. But to admit to these moments now to acknowledge to control slipping with my strength; that I fear emptiness and constantly battle a sense of isolation; that, even though my faith has gone, I still beg God to hear me and send me refuge leaves me exposed, tender, and frightened. but h e seems to accept my ramblings. need to believe in a person like Jesus or in God as he exists in Christianity. And I think
263 that my spirituality functions in the same way, at least foundationally. I feel like we are I envy Rick because he is in a place spiritually tha find. He is contented. But he also actively seeks his contentment. I have just waited for mine to find me. Until now. This is a beginning.
264 NOTES Chapter 1: Genesis 1. Discovery Map and Guide Trinity Boradcasting Network, 21 March 2008 2 The Holy Land Experience n.p., n.d. The Holy Land Experience n.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 200 7. 3 Welcome Guide The Holy Land Experience, 27 June 2004. 4 The Independent 6 Feb. 2001. Web. 19 Feb. 2005. 5 The Tampa Tribune 27 June 2004: Travel 2+. 6 Lomartire 2 7 June 2004 7 Lomartire 27 June 2004 8 Discovery Guide The Holy Land Experience, 7 July 2007 9 Sola Scriptura is a ministerial organization founded in 1994 by Robert Van in 1994. Sola Scriptura Sola Scriptura, n.d. Web. 26 October 2009. 10 The Holy Land Experience n.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2004. 11 Ministries n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. 12 . 13 Lomartire 27 June 2004 14 packaging the Pilgrimage: Visiting the Holy Land in Marketing Heri t age: Archeology and the Consumption of the Past eds. Yorke Rowan and Uzi Baram (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2004) 251. 15 Marvin Rosenthal, Not Without Design (Bellmawr, N J: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1980); Marv Rosenthal, The Prewrath Rapture of the Church (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1990). 16 This belief is consistent with Prewrath Tribulationists who believe that Christians will experience som e of the terrible events associated with the Tribulation, but will be ra p tured by Christ prior to what are known as the Seven Vial (Bowl) Judgments of the wrath of God. These judgments include seas turning to blood, massive earthquakes, and intens i fication of sun (burning) all for the purpose of destroying the members of humanity who have accepted the mark of the Beast. 17 a Palm Beach Post 13 April 2006: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 18 Kam, 31 March 2007. 19 Travid Reed , USA Today 28 July 2007. n.pag. Web. 31 May 2008.
265 20 Brad Flora News21 A Journalism Initiati ve of the Carnegie and Knight Foundations, 23 Aug. 2007. Web. 29 Oct. 2007. 21 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 22 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 23 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 24 News21 A Journalism Init iative of the Carnegie and Knight Foundations. 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 29 Oct. 2007. 25 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 26 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 27 Flora, 23 Aug. 2007. 28 Paul Crouch on the Holy Land Experience, 6 Apr. 2008. YouTube Video. 5 Sept. 2009. 29 Robert Mapes A Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity Encyclopedia of Religion ed. Lindsay Jones, 2nd ed., vol. 10 (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005) 7028 7034. 30 Anderson, 7030 31 The Crouches have bee n consistently critiqued in the media for their propensity to live large. In 2001, Paul Crouch Sr. earned $403,549 as the President of TBN and Jan Crouch, Vice President of TBN, earned $347,365. Los Angeles Times reporter William Lobdell noted that, in 200 million, 19 seat Canadair Turbojet owned by TBN. They drive luxury cars. They have Nonprofit exec salaries The Christian Centu ry 118.29 (2001): 15 Porsperity Gospel Los Angeles Times 22 Sept. 2004: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 6 Sept. 2009. 32 hat thou hast, and The Bible. Matthew 19:21 ( Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994 ). Authorized King James Vers. 33 Flora, 8/23/2007. 34 Flora, 8/23/2007. 35 F lora, 8/23/2007. 36 ChairtyNavigator.org provides a breakdown of organizational expenses and Sr. as president and director of TBN receives a salary of $419,500. His wife Jan, Vice Pres i dent, receives $361,000, and son Paul, also Vice President, receives $130,000. 37 Critical Studies in Media Communication 18.2 (2001): 157 73. 38 Flora, 8/23 /2007. 39 Ministry Watch Wall Watchers, n.d. Web. 6 June 2008. 40 Flora, 8/23/2007. 41 Flora, 8/23/2007.
266 42 Flora, 8/28/2007. 43 Campus Crusade for Christ International Campus Crusade for Christ International, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. 44 The Christian Century. HighBeam Research Inc., 19 Jan. 2000. Web. 13 May 2008. 45 Dinosaur Adventure Land N.p n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2009 Dinosaur Adventure Land is currently closed because the property has been seized by the federal government due to unpaid fines. 46 New York Times New York Times, 1 0 June 2007. Web. 13 June 2007. 47 Emery, 10 June 2007. Bar current ly subject to spec u lation due to reports of his the theme park) earl y career as a photographer for Penthouse Magazine Daniel Radosh, Huffington Post Huffington Post.com, In c. 6 May 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2009. 48 Emery, 10 June 2007. 49 Emery, 10 June 2007. 50 Emery, 10 June 2007. 51 Ark Alive Fullwood Methodist Online, n.d. Web. 27 May 2008. 52 Ark Alive 53 Burke O. Long, Imagining the Holy Land: Maps, Models, and Fantasy T ravels (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2003) 14. 54 Long, 45. 55 Long, 51. 56 The Journal of Consumer Research 16.2 (1989) : 227 38. 57 Radosh reports th at the location is currently owned by Rick Joyner, who plans to rev i talize the site. 58 . 59 Time Time.com Inc., n.d. Web. 3 June 2008. 60 Daniel Radosh, Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture (New York: Scribner 2008 ) 31. 61 TDR: The Drama Review 51:1 ( 2007 ): 138 53 62 TDR: The Drama Review 51:1 ( 2007) : 8. 63 Christian apocalypticism refers to the Christian belief that the end of the world is planned by God and has been detailed in the Bible. 64 Dombek, 141. 65 Dombek, 140. 66 Dombek, 142. 67 Dombek, 142. 68 Timothy Beal, Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith ( Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2005) 6 7.
267 69 Beal 6, 52, 212. 70 Beal, 68. 71 Beal, 68. 72 Scott Lukas, ed. The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self ( Lanham, MD: Rowman & Lit tlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007) 73 The m The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self ed. Scott Lukas (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2 007) 275. 74 Lukas, 275. 75 Lukas, 275. 76 Lukas, 275. 77 Lukas, 275. 78 Annals of Tourism Research 18: 241. 79 Dydia A nnals of the Association of American Geographers 89.4 (1999): 604. 80 American Anthropologist 96.2 (1994): 401. 81 For the purposes of simplification, Bruner suggests th at the foundation of constructi v ist theories is but emerges from how people read or exp e 407 82 Bruner, 409. 83 Tracy Stephenso 141. 84 Stephenson Shaffer, 1 41 85 Stephenson Shaffer 142. 86 R. Laurence Moore, Selling God: American Religion in the Mar ketplace of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 87 See Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967); Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (New York: Free Press, 1965); Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and Profane: the Nature of Religion (New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1959). 88 See David Chidester, Authentic Fakes; Religion and American Popular Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); An drew Greeley, God in Popular Culture (Chicago, IL: The Thomas Moore Press, 1988 ); Conrad Ostwalt, Secular Steeples: Popular Culture and the Religious Imagination (New York: Trinity Press International, 2003 ). 89 See Berger, The Sacred Canopy 90 Ostwalt 5 91 Ostwalt 3.
268 92 Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality; the Silent Takeover of Religion (N ew Y ork : Routledge, 2005) 93 Chidester 52. 94 Chidester 52. 95 The leisure movement of the late nineteenth century focused on improving moral chara cter through e n countering sublime spaces, such as Niagara Falls, Mammoth Cave, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite N a tional Parks. Sublimity was in this era intrinsically tied to geography. The United States was culturally i m compete with the ancient religious institutions that existed in Europe. Thus, in order to find God in their own country, Americans turned to the land. Tourists were encouraged to visit these sites, commune with God, and experience spiritual transformations. See John Sears Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century ( Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press 1989) 96 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation ( Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994). 97 Ihab Hassan, Paracritici sms: Seven Speculations of the Times (IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985). 98 Radosh 20. William Romanowski, Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Cu l ture (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2007). 99 Radosh 20. 100 Craig Detweiler and Barry Taylor, A Matrix of Meaning: Finding God in Pop Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003). 101 Radosh 20. 102 Is it a coincidence that when I stepped through the Damascus Gates at the HLE, I stepped into a marke t place? Literally, I stepped into the Jerusalem Street Market Parachute Jesus. It was a su r real experience in postmodern theology. 103 Radosh 20 1. 104 My emphasis. Radosh 31 105 Buadrillard Simulacra and Simulation 30. 106 Baudrillard Simulacra and Simulation 31. 107 Baudrillard Simulacra and Simulation 31. 108 Baudrillard Simulacra and Simulation 2. 109 Baudrillard Simulacra and Simulation 3. 110 Baudrillard Simulacra and Simulation 2. 111 Jean Baudrillard Simulations trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, and Philip Butchman (New York: Semiotext[e], 1983) 148. 112 Stacy Holman Jones, Organizational Culture (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998) 66. 113 See Greeley; Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in Ame rica (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995); Moore; Malise Ruthven, The Divine Supermarket: Shopping for God in Popular Culture (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1989)
269 Interlude: Journal, May 4, 2008 1 Liz Dean, The Art of Tarot (Lon don: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2001) 29. 2 Minor arcana cards are the most common cards comprising fifty six cards of the seventy eight card Tarot deck. These cards are not accompanied by the detailed descriptions or keywords characteristic of the major arcan a cards. According to Dean, to day events, rather than the deeper changes signaled by 3 Dean, 42. 4 Dean, 35. 5 Dean, 56. 6 Dean, 40. 7 Dean, 31. 8 Dean, 31. 9 Dean, 31. 10 Dean, 23. 11 Dea n, 23. Chapter 2: I Tell You the Truth: Museum Status and the Educational Imperative 1 Kam, 13 April 2006. 2 Public charities are defined by the IRS in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) sections 509(a)(1) through 509(a)(4). Public charities typically receiv e the majority of their funds from the general public and/or the government. Private foundations, as d e fined by IRC section 509(a), are funded primarily through investments and endowments, which are then distributed through the private foundation to other charitable organiz a tions. Private operating foundations, see IRC 4942(j)(3), direct the majority of income into the exempt charitable activ i ties. IRS.gov Internal Revenue Service, n.d. Web. 31 March 2007. 3 Jeff Brumley mes Come to Life: The Holy Land Experience in Orlando Re Florida Times Union 3 July 2006: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 4 Christopher Boyd Orlando Se ntinel 16 Oct. 2006: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 5 dedicated to a d vancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional sel is also designated as a 501(c)(3) organization with offices located across the United States. The counsel, established in 1989, refers to itself as a ministry and a c cepts donations to function. The firm boasts a 92% victory rate since 2004, a significa nt increase from its historically maintained 86% win ratio. Liberty Counsel n.p., 1995. Web. 1 Aug. 2008. 6 Kam 13 Apr. 2006.
270 7 Brumley 3 July 2006. 8 Orlando Sentinel 12 July 2005: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007 9 Associated Press 11 July 2005: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 10 exempt Status 11 K am, 13 Apr. 2006. 12 prope r ty owned by organization that is exempt under s. 501(c)(3) of Internal Revenue Code & used for displays re Biblical history & Biblical worship, if prop erty is open to public as specified & organization has received from IRS written statement that such use of prope r ty does not adversely affect organization's federal exemption, etc. creates Florida House of Representatives MyFloridaHouse.gov., 2003. Web. 1 Aug 2008. 13 taxation property owned by an organization exempt from federal income taxes and used 2 5 and the Senate 28 10. Florida House of Representatives 14 From HB 7183; f rom SB 2676. Florida House of Representatives 15 Kam, 13 Apr. 2006. 16 Jerry Jackson Orlando Sentinel 13 Oct. 2005: n.pag. LexisNexi s Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 17 Kam, 13 Apr. 2006. 18 Brumley, 3 July 2006. 19 Brumley, 3 July 2006. 20 21 Alexandra Alter The Miami Herald 10 Sept. 2006: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 22 Oxford English Reference Dictionary Revised 2 nd ed. 2003. 23 This position sharply contrasts with the teachings of prosperity gospel, with which TBN is closely affiliated, thus eliminating th e conflict at least for the parent organization. 24 Brumley, 3 July 2006. 25 Kam, 13 Apr. 2006. 26 So the conflict becomes, who gets to define religion as institution and as form of the County Property Appraiser (involving taxes) or of a Circuit Court Judge, to render these distin c tions? 27 Discovery Guide 28 Bella Dicks, Culture on Display: The Production of Contemporary Visitability (Berkshire, England: Open University Pres s, 2003) 20. 29 Oxford English Dictionary Online Oxford English Dictionary, 2008. Web. 3 Aug 2008. 30 OED O
271 31 OED O 32 The P rotestant R eformation took place in the sixteenth century in Europe. Martin Luther was an infamous l eader launching criticisms of the Catholic Church in his Ninety Five Theses Reformers were particula r practices, such as selling indulgences. Indulgences are pardons from sin and the subsequent punishment of that sin, typ ically associated with Pu r gatory or some earthly penance. 33 John Burris, Exhibiting Religion: Colonialism and Spectacle at International Expositions 1851 1893 (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 2001) 10. 34 Burris, 10. 35 Burris, 10. 36 Dicks, 4. 37 Burris, 3. 38 Burris, 3. 39 Dicks 6. 40 Dicks 6. 41 Wikipedia Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2008. 42 ICOM is an extra governmental, not for profit organization founded in 1946 nternational organisation of museums and museum profe s sionals which is committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intang i sts over 26,000 participants from 151 c ountries. International Council of Museums UNESCO, n.d. Web. 3 Aug 2008. 43 Dicks, 32. 44 Dicks, 94. 45 Dicks, 100 01. 46 Dicks, 93. 47 Dicks, 94. 48 Dicks, 99 49 Dicks, 94 50 Dicks, 94. 51 Discovery Map and Guide 52 Dicks 94. 53 Dicks 98. 54 Dicks 98 55 Gift Catalog The Holy Land Experience, 2006 07. The Holy Land Experience The Holy Land Experience, n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2008. 56 Dicks 165 57 Dicks 165 58 This section is built on information synthesiz ed from the following sources: Burke O. Long, Imagining the Holy Land: Maps, Models, and Fantasy Travels (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2003); John Davis, The Landscape of Belief:
272 Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth century American Art and Cu l ture (Pricenton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). 59 Manifest Destiny is a term identifying religious and nationalist motivations that inspired policies of expansionism in nineteenth century America. Settlers of the U.S. b e lieved that God was directing them to move west across the continent, domesticating the land and proselytizing the people they encountered. For more on the relationships b e tween Manifest Destiny and tourism, see Marguerite S. Shaffer, See America First: Tou r ism and National I dentity, 1880 1940 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001). 60 Long, 11. 61 Long, 12. 62 Long, 12. 63 Long 14. 64 Davis, 89. 65 Long, 17. 66 Long, 17. 67 Long, 20. 68 Davis, 92. 69 Long, 28. 70 Long, 31. 71 Long, 30. 72 Synaesthesia ref ers to the stimulation of multiple senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing) in order to evoke complex, mental impressions and physical sensations. 73 Long, 39. 74 Long, 40. 75 The Chautauqua Institution n .p, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2 009. The Chautauqua Institute continues its work today, now known as the Chautauqua Institution. According to the we b for profit, 750 acre educational center b e side Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, w here approximately 7,500 persons are in res i dence on any day during a nine week season, and a total of over 142,000 attend scheduled public events. Over 8,000 students enroll annually in the Chautauqua Summer Schools which offer courses in art, music, danc e, the a 76 The Chautauqua Institution 77 Davis, 96. 78 Leaflet, Celebrating the Louisiana Purchase Saint Louise Public Library Exhibit n.d. Web. 7 Aug 2008. 79 Long, 50. 80 Long, 62 81 Long, 59 82 Long, 58 83 Long 59 84 Long, 50.
273 85 Long, 50. 86 Long, 63. 87 Long, 50. 88 Long 52. 89 Long, 50. 90 Long, 24. Mountford participated in the Chautauqua Movement, which framed her performances as morally righteous and educa tional. The Chautauqua Movement, emer g ing from the Chautauqua Institute, and the performances (lectures, readings, and theatrically influenced enactments) associated with it were pop u larly understood as acceptable, morally uplifting modes of education and entertainment and were closely associated with elocution. Elocution in the nineteenth century United States was a scholarly and artistic approach to public address, often concerned with the professionalization of public rea d ings of literature. In particula r, elocutionists studied the intricacies of presentation and public speaking focusing on scientific ways to improve techniques of voice, poise, and affect. While these practitioners of elocution may today be understood as related to the a tre, elocutionists and the practice of elocution were distinctly separate (at least conce p tually) from the theatre in the nineteenth century. The theatre was considered debauched and lascivious. I discuss these early biases against Text and Performance Quarterly 13 (1993): 350 Neo Chautauquas: A Return to Oral Pe r Text and Performance Quarterly 17 (1997) : 182 Text and Performance Quarte r ly 20.4 (2000) : 325 41. 91 Long, 66 92 Long, 66 7 93 Lydia Mamreoff von Finkelstein Mountford, The Life Sketch of Lydia Mamreoff von Finkel s tein (New Yor k : N. p 1908) 35. Long, 67 94 Long, 67 95 Long also discusses the New Holy Land in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The New Holy Land co n sists of the Christ of the Ozarks stat ue, an amphitheatre that houses the Great Passion Play performance, and several acres of pasture land that are supposed to resemble the landscape of Palestine. Gerald L. K. Smith began building the New Holy Land in 1966. In Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Su b stance of Faith religious scholar Timothy Beal records his tour of numerous religious spectacles like Holy Land USA in Bedford County, Virginia. Holy Land USA is a scale model of Biblical Jerusalem. Another site he visi ts is Golgotha Fun Park in Cave City, Kentucky. See Beal for discussions of contemp o rary sites of religious spectacle. 96 Long 33. 97 Long, 11 98 The Holy Land Experience The Holy Land Experience, n.d. Web 8 Nov 2007.
274 99 Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle t rans. Donald Nicholson Smith (New York, NY: Zone Books, 1995). 100 Debord, 12. 101 Long, 12. 102 Long, 12. 103 Long, 20. 104 Long, 20. 105 The Holy Land Experience The Holy Land Experience, n.d. Web. 8 Nov 2007. 106 Lydia Mamreoff von Finkelstein Mountford, Jesus Christ in His Homeland Lectures Stenographically Recorded (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1911) : 7. 107 Mountford, Jesus Christ in His Homeland 7. 108 Mountford, Jesus Christ in His Homeland 7. 109 See Chapter 5 for a dis cussion of religious performances such as passion plays. 110 u seum of Art Fort ArtKnowledgeNews.com Plain Dealer Publishing Co., 13 Nov 2006. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. 111 nd Christianity at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale 112 Admission for senior citizens was $13.95. Children under six years of age were admitted without charge. 113 to Tell Hol PR Newswire 10 Aug. 2006 : n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 114 SBL F o rum n .p. July 2007. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. 115 Society for Environmental Graphic Design n.p., n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. The Soci e global community of people working at the intersection of communication design and the the exhibits at Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory U niversity. 116 to Tell Holy L 117 Elizabeth Langton Dallas Morning News 10 March 2007: n.pag. LexisNexis Academic Web. 31 March 2007. 118 to 119 Lang ton 10 March 2007 120 Langton 10 March 2007 121 The Holy Land Experience 8 Nov. 2007. 122 Bucciarelli, July 2007
275 123 Bucciarelli, July 2007 124 y 125 Lang ton 10 March 2007. 126 Bucciarelli, July 2007. 127 and Ch The Atlanta Journal Constitution 16 June 2007 : E1. 128 . A bout.com Cleveland, 9 Aug 2006 Web. 7 Sept. 2009. 129 Dicks, 95 130 Sears, 28 131 Discovery Map and Guide Interlude : The Scriptorium 1 Lomartire, 27 June 2004 2 The audience is presented with specifically selected periods of U.S. history determined by HLE admi n this nation, but chose to omit certain details of these selected periods in an effort to maximize tourist pride and minimize tourist guilt; an excellent example of tourist attractions pr e t hrough an aesthe t ic of sentimentality Neumann, On the Rim: Looking for the Grand Canyon (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001) 205. 3 The Bible John 3:16 4 Orvar L fgren, On Holiday: A History of Vacationing (Berkeley, CA: Univ ersity of California Press, 1999) 27. Lofgren is quoting Diderot. Chapter 3: In Situ 1 Alan Morinis, Sacred Journeys : The Anthropology of Pilgrimage e d. Alan Morinis ( Connecticut: Greenwood Press 1992 ) ; Dean MacCannell The Tourist: A N ew T heory of the L eisure C lass ( New York: Schocken Books 1976 ) 14. 2 Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998) 54. 3 Debord, 23. 4 S ee Marcy R. Chvasta and Survivor Lessons: Essays on Communication and Reality Television eds. Matthew Smith and Andrew Wood (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co., 2003) 213 225.
276 5 See V alerie Casey The Drama Review 49.3 ( 2005 ): 78 95. See also Kirshenblatt Gimblett and Dicks 6 See Casey 7 See Casey; Dicks; Laurajane Smith, Uses of Heritage (New York: Routledge, 2006). 8 Casey 85 9 Casey 85. 10 Casey 84. 11 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 167. 12 Quoted in Kirshenblatt Gimblett 31 O riginally in italics 13 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 32 3. 14 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 33. 15 FL. this lecture. 16 17 18 19 Kirshenblatt Gimblett, 33. Quoting ects of T he International Folk Exposition ed. Helen Wheeler Bassett and Fredrick Starr (Chicago: Charles H. Sergel, 1898) 227 47. 20 Behold the Lamb The Holy Land Experience, Orlando, FL. 18 Aug. 2007. Performance. 21 Behold the Lamb 22 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 32 Q uoting Matthews 23 Casey 85 24 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 30. 25 Museum Philos o phy for the Twenty first Century ed. Hugh H. Genoways (Lanham, MD: AltaMira, 2006) 3. 26 Hein 3. 27 Hein 3. 28 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 152. 29 Priscilla Boniface and Peter Fowler (New York: Routledge, 1993) 107. 30 Boniface and Fowler 112. 31 Casey 86. 32 Gift Catalog 33 Gift Catalog 34 Casey 82. 35 Casey 82. 36 Casey 82. 37 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 21.
277 38 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 20. 39 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 20. 40 I have named the galleries based on their content: Ancient Mesopotamia (the round room where we are introduced to the intentions of the museum), Cuneiform gallery, Scrolls of Ancient Egypt gallery, C o dex Workshop, Scribe gallery, John Wycliffe Study, Guttenberg Press gallery, Ty n Hall of Prophets, Contemporary Living Room, Ex Libris Gift Shoppe. 41 McDannell, 68. 42 McDannell 68. 43 McDannell 85. 44 Shaw 134. My emphasis. 45 Scriptorium The Holy Land Experience, Orlando, FL. 21 Mar. 2008. Digital Sound Recording. 46 John Berger Ways of Seeing ( London: Penguin Books 1972) 21. 47 Berger 23 4 48 Berger 23 4 49 Berger 23. 50 Berger 21. 51 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 7. 52 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 8. 53 Scriptorium 54 Scriptorium 55 Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Boston, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999) 418 19. 56 Benjamin 419 20. 57 Casey 87. 58 Casey 87. 59 Casey 87. 60 Ca sey 87. 61 Casey 83. Chapter 4: Heritage, Identity, and a Christian Homeland 1 Alan Bryman, The Disneyization of Society (London: S age 2004) 50. 2 Smith 44. 3 Lukas 2 4 Bryman 15. 5 Bryman 15. 6 TBN reports a 47% increase in park attendanc e from December 2006 to December 2007.
278 AllBuisness.com LexisNexis, 8 Feb. 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2009. 7 Lukas 11. 8 Dicks, 134. 9 Smith 59. 10 Dicks 134. 11 Dicks 122. 12 Dicks 123. 13 Dicks 123. 14 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 167; Dicks 124. Notably, the HLE is marketed as a Biblical Biblical there may be a conceptual difference between the HLE and other museums that present history in this format. I would venture to say this difference could be anchored in the perceived diffe r ence of authorship: humans write history, God wrote the Bible. While this difference is significant to the interpreta similarity b e tween the HLE and other living history museums. Thus, I will refer to the HLE in terms of a living history m u seum. 15 OERD 16 Smith 4. 17 Smith 2. 18 Kirshenblatt Gimblett, 65. 19 Davis, 13 14. 20 Davis 3. 21 Davis 3. 22 Under the administration of President Bush. 23 Dicks 120. Quoting David Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) xiii. 24 Refra m ing Pilgrimage: Cultures in Motion eds. Simeon Coleman and John Eade (London: Routledge, 2004) 151. 25 Basu 157. 26 Basu 159. 27 Basu 159. Referencing Mary C. Waters, Ethnic Options: Choosing Identi ties in America (Berkeley: University of Cal i fornia Press, 1990). 28 Wilderness Tabernacle The Holy Land Experience, Orlando, FL. 15 Apr. 2008. Digital Sound Recording. 29 Wilderness Tabernacle 30 Wilderness Tabernacle 31 Wilderness Tabernacle 32 Basu 152. 33 Basu 152. Q uoting George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980) 55. 34 Basu 154.
279 35 Swatos, On the Road to Being There: Studies in Pilgrimage and Tourism (Boston, MA: Brill Publishers, 2006) 280. term for a location, not necessarily and the pr o 36 It does now. The HLE now includes a Prayer Garden. 37 Arnold Van Gennep The Rites of Passage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960 ) 38 Victor Turner and Edith Turn er Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture (N ew Y ork : C o lumbia Universtiy Press, 1978) 6. 39 Turner and Turner 7, 15. 40 Turner and Turner 11. 41 Turner and Turner 10 11. 42 See Morinis; John Eade and Michael Sallnow, Contesting the Sacred: The Anth ropology of Pilgrimage (New York: Routledge,1991). 43 Eade and Sallnow, 1 5. 44 See Long; Davis; Lester Vogel, To See a Promised Land: Americans and the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993) 45 See Sears 46 Vogel, xv. John Kirkland Wright, Human Nature in Geography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965). 47 Vogel 8 48 Vogel, 10. 49 Basu 158. 50 CensusScope.org. Social Science Data Analysis Network, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 20 09. 51 Basu 158. Q uoting Durkheim 184, 78 ( italics original). 52 Basu 159. 53 Dicks 126 54 Smith 201. See Tony Bennett The Museum Time M a chine: Putting Cultures on Display ed. Robert Lumley (London: Routledge, 1988); Kevin Wal sh, The Representation of the Past: Museums and Heritage in the Post modern World (Lo n don: Routledge, 1992). 55 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 159. 56 Scriptorium 57 Scriptorium 58 Scriptorium 59 OERD. 60 OERD. 61 I ndigenous OERD 62 Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism: Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London: Verso, 1991).
280 63 Dicks 131. 64 Dicks 131. 65 Scriptorium 66 Dicks 126. 67 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 161. 68 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 161. 69 Smith 60 Q uoting Pierre Nora Representations 26 ( 1989 ): 9 70 Smith 59. 71 Smith 64 Q uoting Benedict Anderson Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1991 ) 6 72 Smith 63. 73 The Eucharist is the official ritual commemorating the Last Supper and the forthcoming sacrifice of Ch r ist. 74 Eucharist OERD 75 Lukas 277. 76 Lukas 277. 77 Lukas, 277. 78 John J. Lennon and Malcolm Foley, Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Di s aster (London; New York: Continuum, 2000) 3. 79 Lenno order to make their argument that dark tourism is a phenomenon intrinsically tied to postmoder n ism (which they loosely define as doubt in the Modern project of progress). The authors argue that events prior to the sinking of the Titanic do not qualify as dark about mo d ( 79 ). Lennon and Foley clearly do not take into consideration the processes of the produ c tion, maintenance, and transformation of collective memories. Nor do the authors recognize the project of History as processual and sha ped by the needs of the present. If they did, then they would not be able to ignore the reconstitution of events prior to the Titanic in popular culture. 80 Lennon and Foley 3. 81 Lennon and Foley 11. 82 Lennon and Foley 37. 83 Lennon and Foley 120. 84 Lennon and Foley 146. 85 L ennon and F oley, 157. 86 Dicks, 126. 87 Smith 6. 88 Dicks 119. 89 Berger 11. 90 Smith 28. 91 See MacCannell. 92 MacCannell 100 01.
281 93 Kirshenblatt Gimblett 159. Kirshenblatt Gimblett was originally referring to statement s made by Jon a than Mane Wheoki about the exhibit All Roads Are Good housed at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. 94 Lukas 7. Chapter 5: 1 See Meredith In Everyday Religion : Observing Modern Religious Lives e d. Nancy T. Ammerman ( New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 ) 1 87 200. 2 Spiritus 3 (2003): 5. 3 McGuire, Spiritus 9. 4 McGuire 190. 5 McGuire 197 6 Plate, 66. 7 The Story of Jesus Power and Light Production, Inc., n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2009. While the play continues to be directed by Mike Graham, the production is now spons ored (and owned) by Power and Light Production, Inc., a manufacturer of profe s sional sound equipment. 8 Alan Nielsen, The Great Victorian Sacrilege: Preachers, Politics, and The Passion, 1879 1884 (Jeffe r son, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1991) 14. 9 N ielsen 12. In England, theatre companies had been consistently under attack by rel i gious groups throughout the latter half the sixteenth century. These tirades resulted in the mandatory closing of all the a tres in England in 1642. 10 Nielsen 13. 11 The Fi rst Great Awakening was an international revivalist movement characterized by evangelical speakers hosting tent meetings and reinvesting religious practice with emotionalism. In the American col o nies, the established, officially recognized and state sancti oned churches (Anglican, Quaker, and Congregationalist) ignored the upstart movement. The minority churches (Baptist, Calvinists, and Presbyterians) embraced the tent revival meetings, and used the evangelical performances to increase and strengthen their congregations. In effect destabilizing the prominent positions of the established churches and creating a platform to lobby for religious and political power. Nielsen 14. 12 Moore 41 13 Moore 41 2. 14 Nielsen 13. 15 The American Company, origina lly known as Hallam Company and then London Company, is widely considered to have been the first full time, professional acting co m pany to open in the American colonies. For more information on the American Company, see Michael A. Morrison Shakespeare in North America The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage eds. Stanley Wells and Sarah Stanton ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) 230 32.
282 16 Nielsen 17 8. 17 Nielsen 17. 18 Nielsen 18. 19 Moore 43. 20 Moore 43. 21 Moore 50 1. 22 Fi nney was a highly celebrated revival minister who embraced method preaching b e ginning in the 1820s. 23 Method preacher is a term coined by Moore to refer to the systematization of the pe r formance of preaching developed in the late eighteenth and early n ineteenth preachers immersed themselves in their himself into the spirit and meaning of the writer, as to adopt his sentimen ts, make them Finney b e lieved preachers should give the same consideration and effort to the Words of God. Moore, 50. 24 Moore, 51. 25 Moore, 43 4, 53. Here, aesthetic r efers to products (plays, paintings, music, etc.) evidencing artistic co n ventions associated with what was considered high art. 26 Moore, 54. 27 Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the first books in the New Testament, are known as the four Gospels. 28 Nielse n 6. 29 See Nielsen for a complete history of the legal battles that ensued over The Passion in various states. Ult i mately, Morse forced questions about the relationship between drama (and the arts) and freedom of speech. His leg al challenge and the national a t tention it brought demanded discussions about the scope of the First Amendment. 30 Nielsen 203. 31 Nielsen 203. 32 See James Shapiro, Fa m ous Passion Play (New York: R andom House, 2000). 33 Nielsen 52. 34 Nielsen 50. 35 n TDR: The Drama Review 50:4 (2006) : 121. 36 Chansky 122. 37 aning in a Mountain Folktale Perfo r mance, Culture, and Identity eds. Elizabeth C. Fine and Jean Haskell Speer (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992) 121. 38 Speer 121. 39 Jan Cohen Cruz Local Acts: Community based Perfo r mance in the United States (London: Rutge rs University Press, 2005) 84 Quoting John MacAloon.
283 40 Victor Turner, Anthropology of Performance (New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1986) 42 Q Elderly: Performance, Visibility, and Rememberi ng Studies of the Human Life Course ed. Kurt Beck ( Washington, D.C. : American Association for the A d vancement of Science, 1980) 7. 41 h ner, The Futu re of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance (London: Routledge, 1993) 228. 42 Turner 75. 43 Turner, 75. 44 Schechner 230; Turner Anthropology of Performance 34 5, 76. Turner theorized social drama as a model with four phases: breach, crisis, redre ss, and reintegration or re c ognition of irreparable schism. Note, it is in the phase of redress where rituals may be i n voked, as a result of the antagonistic interactions of the crisis phase. 45 Richard Schechner, Performance Studies: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (New briefly addressing his theory of an effic a cy/entertainment continuum. According to Schechner, all performances exist in terms of purpose som e where along this contin uum. Performances with strong efficacious goals are more like ritual, whereas pe r formances that (seemingly) value entertainment are likened to theatre (note Cohen description of community theatre). Context, rather than the content or structure of th e performance, determines its place along the continuum. To what purpose and for what audience is the performance being produced? As I have discussed throughout this manuscript, the HLE challenges binaries, polarities, and co n tinuums that pit entertainmen t against education, tourism against travel, play against work, profane against sacred. Here, too, the HLE challenges Behold the Lamb functions efficaciously as a perfo r mance of ritual, while existing within th e context of an entertainment venue. To what purpose? For ministry (efficacy) and for leisure. 46 Cohen Cruz 85. Quoting Schechner. 47 Richard Schechner, The Anthropology of Perfo r mance by Victor Turner ( New York: Performi ng Arts Journal Publications, 1986 ) 9 48 Secular Ritual eds. Sally F. Moore and Bar a bara G. Myerhoff (Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 1977) 46 7. 49 ion Performance, Culture, and Identity eds. Elizabeth C. Fine and Jean Haskell Speer (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992) 33. 50 Originally, Behold the Lamb only enacted the death walk, crucifixion, and resurre c tion. However, after TBN assumed ownership and cr eative control over the site in 2007, the Passion play underwent revision. Currently, the staff members with whom I spoke commented that the drama is in a state of transition. The last presentation I witnessed in December 2008 had changed considerably from the original production.
284 Gethsemane, J e disturbingly 51 imagined community Th e collective Christian Like nations, Christian is an imagined community because, while impossible to fully assemble at any given time or place, it exists as a community in the minds o f each member. As Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1991) 6. 52 I cannot make this claim for every small, local performance of the Passion, but it holds true regarding popular, large presentations that are nationally known. 53 Chansky 122. 54 Richard Schechner, Essays on Performance Theory, 1970 1976 (New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1977) 75. 55 Jan Cohen ilitant form of art intended to emotionally and ideologically mobilze its audience to take particular action vis Cruz, Radical Street Performance: An Internatio n al Anthology (London: Routledge, 1998) 13. 56 Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen Playing Boal: Theatre, The r apy, Activism eds. Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen Cruz (New York: Routledge, 1994) 2. 57 Because of his activist work, Boal was arrested and tortured for three months in a Br a zilian p rison in 1971. After his release, Boal moved to Argentina, where he continued to develop his techniques, creating image theatre and leading workshops in Peru. Image theater privileges the body as a way of knowing and communicating human experience. The bod gover n ment. These limitatio ns resulted in Boal focusing on documenting his philosophies, the o ries, and techniques in books: Theatre of the Oppressed (1974), Latin American Tec h niques of Popular Culture (1975), and Two Hundred Exercises and Games for Actors and Non actors (1975). In 1976, he was exiled and moved to Europe where his theatre tec h niques thrived and, ultimately, became a global phenomenon. Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed trans. Charles A. and Maria Odilla Leal McBride (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1985) 56. 58 Schutzman and Cohen Cruz 2. 59 Boal 119. 60 Boal Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism eds. Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen Cruz (New York: Routledge, 1994) 139. 61 Schutz . are placed within the co n structed frameworks of invisible power dynamics and fragmented identity politics, they are somewhat incapacitated . . Schutzman, 140. 62 Schutzman 142.
285 63 Daniel Feldhendler, Therapy Playing Boal: The a tre, Therapy, Activism eds. Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen Cruz (New York: Routledge, 1994) 87 8. 64 Anthropology of Pe r formance 34 5. 65 Jan Cohen Theatre of the Oppressed Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism eds. Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen Cruz (New York: Rou t ledge, 1994) 113. 66 Oxford English D ictionary Online Oxford English Dictionary, 2008. Web. 3 Aug 2008. 67 Media, Culture & Society 24 (2002): 700. 68 Shoah, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History eds. Shoshana Felman and D. Laub (New York: Routledge, 1992) 204. 69 of Sufferi Media, Culture & Society 26.2 (2004): 298. 70 Rentschler, 297. 71 Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (NY: Fa rrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003 ) 115. 72 OED O 73 Schutzman 144. 74 Schutzman 144. 75 Schutzman 144. 76 Arguably similar to the structure of the original historical event in that the mob had to be controlled to a certain extent. 77 Field notes, 15 Apr. 2008 78 Boal 35. 79 See Richard Schechner Between Theatre and Anthropology (PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985). 80 John Peters, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999) 67. 81 Sontag, 98. 82 Sontag, 98 99. 83 Finding A ids to the Past: Bearing Personal Witness to T raumatic P ubli c E vents Media, Culture & Society 24 (2002): 700. 84 Zelizer, 700 Chapter 6 1 Bible Matthew 28:19. Variations of this statement can also be found in Mark 16:15 and Luke 24:47.
286 2 The number and frequency of the Behold the Lamb performance has var ied over the years. When I first attended in 2004, the performance was offered twice a day at noon and forty five minutes before closing time. At one point, the frequency of performances was limited to once a day at the end of the day. Then, during the Chr istmas holiday se a son, the performance was canceled altogether. The last time I visited the HLE in Dece m ber 2009, Behold was being offered twice a day again. 3 Rene Girard Violence and the Sacred trans. Patrick Gregory (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972) 23. 4 Dwight Conquergood Theatre Journal 54 (2002): 339 67. Conquergood references Stuart Banner The Death Penalty: An American History (Cambridge: Harvard Univers ity Press, 2002); Peter Buckley The Cambridge History of American Theatre I ed. Don B. Wilmeth and Christopher Bigsby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 5 Mitchell B. Merback, The Thief, th e Cross and the Wheel: Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 20. 6 Of course, this is not always the case. More than several cases have been documented where the convicted has not died quickly or without pain, the body convulsing 7 Conquergood 352. 8 Girard 12. 9 Girard 13. 10 Bible John 3:16 11 Girard 12. 12 Bible John 19:12 13 Bible Mark 15:17 20. 14 Bible Mark 15:29 30 15 Girard 15. 16 Michel Foucault Discipli ne and Punish: The Birth of the Prison trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995) 307. 17 naesthesia, OERD 18 Lennon and Foley, 61. 19 Lennon and Foley 61. 20 OERD 21 Sontag, 82. 22 Sontag 105. 23 Sontag 106. 24 Lennon and Fol ey 157. 25 Sontag 102. 26 OERD 27 Lennon and Foley, 3. 28 Lennon and Foley 147.
287 29 Ellen Strain Public Places, Private Journeys: Ethnography, Entertainment, and the Tourist Gaze ( New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003 ) 3. 30 Strain 6 Q uoting psychoanalytic version of the processes and functions of demediation in film Christian Metz, The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema (IN: Indiana University Press, 1986).
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300 Appendix A: Photographs Fig 1. Gates of Damascus.
301 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 2. Bedouin W omen W eaving.
302 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 3. Sara P laying Samson.
303 Appendix A (Continued) Fi g 4. Moses and the Ten Commandments.
304 Appendix A (Continued) Fig P alace at the Temple Plaza.
305 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 6. The Scriptorium.
306 Appendix A (Continued) Fig. 7 Bronze altar in the Wilderness Tabernacle.
307 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 8 Pilgrims in a P rayer C ircle.
308 Appendix A (Continued) Fig. 9. Living R oom G allery
309 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 10. Roman S oldier.
310 Appendix A (Continued) Fig 11. Roman S oldiers.
A bout the Author Sara B. Dykins Callahan (Ph.D.) is a graduate of the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. concentrations are Performance Studies and Critical/Cultural S tudies. She Ma i es at the University of South Florida. In 2005, Sara receievd the Norma n K. Denzin Qualitative Research Award for her research on classism in academe This dissertation received the International Congress of Qualitative Inqu iry 2010 Distinguished Dissertation Award in the category of Mixed Methods. An abbreviated section from this dissertation has been accepted for the Top Contributed Papers Panel in the Performance Studies Division at the 2010 National Communication Associat ion Annual Convention. Sara loves her husband and her dogs deeply and is committed to community work and support of animal rights organizations She hopes that world.
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Dykins-Callahan, Sara Dykins.
Where christ dies daily :
b performances of faith at orlando's holy land experience
h [electronic resource] /
by Sara Dykins Dykins-Callahan.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains X pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
ABSTRACT: This manuscript focuses on performances of place and faith inside the Holy Land Experience (HLE), an edutainment complex nestled in the fantasy nexus of Orlando, Florida. A self-proclaimed living-history museum, the HLE includes animatronic Bible characters and musical dramas. The HLE enacts and embodies evangelical narratives of Christianity and Christian faith, and visitors to the park are asked to join the performances, blurring the distinctions between spectators and professional actors. I argue that visitors' performances of faith invest the space of the HLE with sacredness, while the location and design of the HLE infuses the space with elements of the secular. The HLE exemplifies the performative nature of the sacred and shows how sacredness is a process (a performance), not an inherent property. Through participant observation, interviews, and critical/cultural analysis, I engage the multiple meanings of the HLE with the intention of facilitating empathic understandings of the complex, embodied phenomenon of faith as it manifests in this hybrid space
Advisor: Stacy Holman Jones, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.