“I Make Tents” is poetic prose with a rhythmic soundscape exploring Apostle Paul’s life as a tentmaker and his writings on wisdom and foolishness. Sound samples from professors and politicians intertwine with lighter sounds and Paul’s playful and even biting words. This piece is also part of the larger multi-media theatrical production Project Paul. Like other parts of the production, this piece deals with some of Paul’s favorite themes: wisdom vs. foolishness, weakness and humility, and the painful “groaning” of this world.

Listen to I Make Tents

Text: Apostle Paul, Jonathon Roberts and Christy Bagasao
Composition and Voice: Jonathon Roberts
Additional Voice: Brendan Marshall-Rashid
Additional Samples: Timothy Troy, Terry Rew-Gottfried, Governor Jim Doyle, Senator John Kerry, Lawrence University Wind Ensemble (recorded by Larry Darling)

If you are interested in working with this track for your own artistic reaction here is a version without the lead vocal. Please contact us for permission before you use this track.
Listen to “Tents” without Lead Vocal

The following passages, written by Apostle Paul are either quoted or responded to in this piece. Saying Paul was a unique and dynamic person is an understatement. During his ministry he worked as a self-supporting tentmaker, so no one would accuse him of “peddling God’s Word for profit.” He communicated with people he served in many different ways depending on what they needed to hear, sometimes even using humor, sarcasm or a biting wit to get his point across.

Paul the Tentmaker
2 Corinthians 2:17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

Acts 18:3
and because [Paul] was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.

1 Corinthians 9:6
Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?

For more insight into Paul’s “Tentmaking ministry” see 1 Corinthians 9:1-18

The World is Groaning
Romans 8:20-23
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

Wisdom and Foolishness
Isaiah 29:14
Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:8
and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

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