Sun, May 06, 2018

Danny & the Shacks

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Discussion Questions:

1) The opening song of the musical asks the question, “Who will you bow to?” Danny & the Shacks presents the Old Testament story of Daniel, in which Daniel (“Danny”) has to choose whether or not to bow down before a statue of the king. Bowing down to physical statues is not an issue in 21st century America. What kind of idols might we be challenged to “bow to,” and what would that look like?

2) Danny and his friends are given Babylonian names, which they accept, but they refuse to eat the Babylonian king’s food. Why? How was accepting the royal food different from accepting pagan names and obeying the pagan king in every other way? (Read Daniel 1. See also Leviticus 11:4-20 and Proverbs 23:1-3.)

3) What do you know about the ancient city of Babylon? Where else in the Bible does it appear besides the Book of Daniel? What is its Biblical significance? What do you think life might have been like for the Israelites living in exile in Babylon? Is there an equivalent today (literally or figuratively)? Can you draw parallels between the stand taken by the Israelites and the stand taken by certain protesters today? (Example: Compare Daniel’s refusal to bow to a statue with NFL players’ refusal to stand for the national anthem. How are they similar? How are they different?)

4) The Shackelles introduce the theme of the musical by saying,
      “…Danny and his friends will continually face a series of choices.
      “And these choices will change their lives.
      “Will they choose to compromise their beliefs and follow the rules of Babylon?
      “Or will they choose to follow God?”
And when the Shacks are faced with the choice of bowing to a statue or being thrown into the furnace, Bernadette pleads with them,
      “If you’ll make just this one compromise, you’ll be able to keep serving God for a long, long time!”
How does compromise work? Is choosing to compromise always a bad thing? In what ways do we rationalize disobedience to God with an end-justifes-the-means argument such as Bernadette’s? What is wrong with a desire to save your life in order to serve God longer? (See also Psalm 6 and Psalm 88.)

5) When have you been challenged to make a choice either to obey God or to acquiese to cultural or social pressures? How have you handled that? What choices have you made? Are there areas where your faith has been compromised in ways that you need to change?

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