Elwood P. Dowd is perhaps one of the most genuine, down-to-earth guys you could bump into. He always takes time for anyone, not discriminating, and not giving more of himself to one than another. He takes people at their word, holds them to their word, keeps his word, and is quick to forgive someone who doesn’t. So what’s wrong with him? He has an invisible friend; a 6’1 ½” rabbit, actually.

But what’s so hard to believe about that? After all, Elwood P. Dowd swears that Harvey (the rabbit) changed his life. Everything Dowd does is inspired by his relationship with Harvey, and he simply desires everyone to meet him, so that Harvey can change their life too. Sound familiar? No, I’m not talking about your crazy uncle, I’m talking about Jesus.

Think about it, we Christians walk around expecting people to understand Jesus having died for them 2,000 years ago and yet being alive and well as if it were a practical idea. We tell them this casually, or draw it on a napkin, and then wonder why they look at us like we’re crazy to say that their belief that everything is relative could be wrong. “He’s right here with you”, we say, “and He wants a relationship with you, because you need saving.” The lack of evidence we can offer for Jesus being present in the world, and our poor management of what makes people need a Savior, I’ll save for another blog.

Elwood P. Dowd doesn’t go around bursting into song or anything dramatic, but he does treat Harvey like a miracle, and goes about treating everyone with compassion as if it were the obvious, practical way to relate to other humans. Why don’t we treat Jesus like a miracle? Why don’t we admit that the basis of the Gospel is hard to believe? And furthermore, why do we treat things like caring for the poor and compassion for folks different than ourselves, as if they were strange parts of our faith, and thus never hold each other to them?

I will be at the Staged Reading of Harvey at the Square Room this coming Monday night at 7:00 PM and you should come, too. We can talk more about these important topics after.  Or, we can just enjoy a brilliant play.

Talk to me.

Ethan Norman
Artistic Associate, The WordPlayers