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April 19, 2018

Forum Explores Art, Faith, and Generosity in Babette’s Feast

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On April 17, 2018, Christian Union partnered with The Trinity Forum to co-host an evening of rich conversation centered on the off-Broadway production of Babette’s Feast, a timeless tale of lavish generosity and community-transforming grace. (1:16:45)



Abbie Killeen, producer of Babette's Feast, sat down with world-renowned artist, writer, and culture shaper Mako Fujimura to examine important themes from the play in the context of the New York City theater scene and the nation’s current cultural climate.

Fujimura is the Director of Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center and has served as an artistic advisor to the new production. The insightful discussion was moderated by president of The Trinity Forum Cherie Harder.

The stage production of Babette’s Feast is based on the original short story by Isak Dinesen, which was also adapted into the 1987 Academy Award-winning film. It a bundle of exciting contradictions, made all the more remarkable for being conveyed in the constraints of the theatre: by turns stark and lush, stunning and austere, mysterious and comic.

Babette’s Feast highlights the plight of a refugee who finds asylum, but is the one to exhibit radical generosity by sacrificing all she has to create a lavish feast. Click to Tweet  The feast becomes an agent of grace, inviting the participants into an abundant experience of forgiveness that transforms the fractured community.

Babette’s Feast illustrates how embracing the stranger can change a community for the better.

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Following a short reception, forum attendees at the Union Club were treated to two delightful hours unpacking the power of this abundance and benevolence in Babette’s Feast. Fujimura remarked, “I can’t think of any better story to talk about infinite grace.” He traced the power artists have to elucidate the relationship between beauty and sacrifice, which Babette’s act symbolizes. “This play isn’t about food,” he quipped, “but heavenly bread.”

Producer Abbie Killeen, also an actress in the production, elaborated on the power of story and the theater. She sensed the awe and wonder experienced by theatre-goers when, within the limits of a two hour production, human beauty can be glimpsed. In her words, “theater is embodied thought,” and, “acting is word made flesh.” The opportunity to engage an allegorical tale like Babette’s Feast, a production which she has been at the helm of producing for 12 years, has revealed to her much about God as provider and we as the recipients of His infinite grace.

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The edifying conversation offered at the April forum attracted graduate students, young professionals, and leaders from the arts and business sectors. Attendees were invited to consider how the Lord leads believers to live sacrificial and generous lives as Christian leaders. A time of question and answer continued to probe the intersection of faith and art which points to the Gospel reality in day-to-day life.

At Christian Union New York City forums such as this, world-class speakers explore how Christian faith applies to all sectors of work. This insightful evening was made possible in partnership with The Trinity Forum. Very special thanks go to Harder, Killeen, and Fujimura for sharing from the rich bounty of their wisdom.

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