This episode, in which Jesus demands that his followers hate their fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, is certainly fertile ground for the kind of discussion of difficult aspects of the Gospel stories that I’m trying to encourage with these plays, but in this blog post, I’d like to discuss and defend my use of Kool-Aid in the play.
Yes, I use the word Kool-Aid in this play. And no, I’m not aware of any evidence that powdered fruit drink mixes were in common use in first century Palestine. However, I’m pretty confident that the concept of “drinking the Kool-Aid,” or at least an historical occurrence similar to the one from which we got that phrase, must exist in most cultures, and that it might even be expressed in some common idiomatic phrase in many. So you can consider this a kind of loose translation or paraphrase: whatever they would have said back then to express the idea of disciples following a charismatic leader into disaster, I’m translating it into its rough idiomatic equivalent in English.
I suppose I could have just stated the idea literally, but I like having the Kool-Aid in this play. For one thing, you can use it as a test of how awake your readers are. Then, if someone is alert enough to call out the anachronism, you can discuss the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” and perhaps even talk about its origin. The session could turn into a profound discussion of the dynamics of leaders and followers, the good and the bad.
Anyway, that’s my Kool-Aid. Drink up!