I recently had the delightful pleasure of editing, formatting, and assisting with the publication of a wonderful book of Biblically-inspired plays by Ken Lee called Voices from the Bible. I decided in the spirit of Thanksgiving to share this with my readers by interviewing Ken.
Ken did something amazing with these plays. He made stories from the Bible accessible … to anyone regardless of religious persuasion.
Jeanne: Tell us about your life and how it relates to you most recently released book Voices from the Bible.
Ken: For 26 years I traveled throughout 40 states as well as England, Canada, and Israel as a Drama Evangelist, performing one-man musical plays about Biblical characters. I was a featured artist on Christian television and several of my videos can still be seen on YouTube. I have performed for over 30 different denominations (I didn’t know there were so many) as well as many national conferences and have served as Pastor, church Music Director, and Evangelist for almost 50 years. I retired in 2019 to work on my writing and to publish the plays I’ve authored during my ministry. I have no idea what I’m doing, but much of my life I have had to jump in with both feet and figure things out as I went.
Jeanne: Wow—you’ve had quite an unusual life.
Jeanne: Can you share with my readers why do you write?
Ken: I started to write because I wanted to “bring the Bible alive” for church congregations and I could find very few quality resources in the 1970s when I began my life’s work. My mission now is to offer young ministers better quality scripts than I had when I started. I realize that Christian theatre is no longer in vogue in most churches, but my hope is that my works will inspire others long after I’m gone. Surprisingly, I also find myself writing novels, short stories and devotionals of which I am quite proud.
Jeanne: Sounds like writing begets more writing.
Jeanne: Name a book that made you cry. Why?
Ken: As a child, Winnie the Pooh was more than literature to me. I read it over and over again so that I could leave my inner-city home and rest in the Hundred-acre Wood with my best friends, Pooh and Piglet. It became my escape and helped me survive the stresses of being a sensitive child in a society that meant to toughen me up. Also Astrid Lindgren’s book Mio, My Son struck a chord deep within me as I entered puberty. I was never abused like the main character, but I longed to find a new life in my imagination if only for a few hours. I felt disconnected from my society and it helped me understand that I have a spiritual Father who loves me as well as an earthly one.
Jeanne: Do you write to music/create play lists?
Ken: In addition to my writing, I have four albums of original music. Even though churches were occasionally skeptical of my acting, my singing helped win them over. I don’t consider myself a poet, yet if songwriting counts then I suppose I do have a bit of poet inside me.
Jeanne: Poetry and songwriting have a lot in common. Having heard your singing, I can completely understand how it would win them over.
Jeanne: Does your writing carry a message?
Ken: This is absolutely crucial to me. All art carries a message. I insist that my work reflect a value system I can defend. Even if my message is that we mustn’t take life too seriously, I consider my influence on the reader as a privilege which must be respected. Whether or not someone gets the same message I intended is not the issue, only that it will help others and not harm them. Saying I am not responsible for the impact of my work is to say I am not responsible if my car runs over your baby. No matter how important the message, it must be expressed in a way that will facilitate a better world. People who use the Bible to hurt or discourage people are misusing and abusing the God they say they love.
Jeanne: What are you currently reading?
Ken: I’m currently reading your book Bridge to Us, and Sarah Angleton’s mystery novel Smoke Rose to Heaven. I have only known a couple of published authors in my lifetime. Since joining Saturday Writers and meeting both Jeanne and Sarah, I wanted to sample their work. I also wanted to stretch myself a bit by reading things I would not otherwise have chosen. Jeanne’s romance novel is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I’m enjoying it much more than I expected. Likewise, Sarah’s book has religious overtones and spiritual mysteries that I find intriguing. Having read these works, I may even find the courage to write a romantic short story or a supernatural mystery novel.
Jeanne: Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to read Bridge to Us. I very much appreciate that.
Jeanne: How do you prefer to interact with your fans/readers?
Ken: I have a weekly posting on Facebook that I call Ken’s Korner. I try to give a short devotional word of encouragement which includes a scriptural passage to validate what I’ve said. If you like it, you can send a friend request. I try to keep my followers updated as I publish new works on Amazon. I also occasionally sing an old hymn or gospel song. Plus, I have a Facebook page Ken Lee Books for those who want to read more. If they wish to email me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blurb for Voice from the Bible:
Plays to make Biblical characters, stories, and themes come alive.
is an anthology of plays written by Rev Kenneth W. Lee for use in churches of all denominations.
Volume One includes all of Ken’s original one-man plays that have won him critical acclaim.
Plus, it includes 25 shorter monologues written for amateur performers…for women as well as for men.
Whether you want to learn something new about Bible characters yourself, or if you’re looking to challenge your church to better understand the scripture, these plays will do the job.
All of the scripts may be performed without royalties.
Quote from One Size Fits All—“Inside, we’re all the same size…and the same color.”
Quote from Joseph the Carpenter—“The path of the righteous is not always well lit, but it is always well planned.” Included in Voices from the Bible Vol. One
Where can readers follow you and your work?
Thank you, Ken, for spending time with us. Be sure to check out Ken’s inspiring works.