Caution: The BBC3 documentary “Deborah 13: Servant of God” includes Deborah’s introduction to the “real world” of dance clubs and college parties, so viewer discretion is encouraged.
Deborah Drapper is a true rebelutionary. At thirteen, the homeschooled Christian girl from Dorset, England, has an inspiring passion for God and for evangelism. After getting an email about her from Anna in Ireland, I had to blog about it.
Fascinated — or maybe frightened — by her “sheltered” life and Christian faith, BBC filmmakers spent over 100 hours with her last summer for a one-hour documentary that aired in the UK earlier this month. They didn’t find what they expected.
In a review in the Daily Telegraph, TV critic Benji Wilson writes:
Whatever version of the fish-out-of-water conceit the producers were hoping for, what they got was far more compelling. They got Deborah. Steely-eyed and still, she was sensational. When we first met her, the producer, Linda Brusasco, asked, “Do you have a TV, do you have a mobile, do you watch The X Factor, do you go to Topshop?” and she replied, “No, no, no… and no.”
Deborah then bit right back, asking the producer, “Would you consider yourself to be a good person? Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, used God’s name in vain, coveted anything?” It was a “yep” to all. “So you’re a lying, thieving, coveting, blasphemer… Do you still think you’re a good person?”
Something to chew on there, and credit to Brusasco for including Deborah’s comeback. This film’s strength was that while it could have sneered at Deborah, instead it just observed her.
“I hope that it is a reflection of my life as I seek to be obedient to God’s Word, live my life under his direction, and share the truth with others,” she told Streetbrand Magazine, before the documentary aired. “And as others see how I live and share Christ, [I hope] they may be encouraged to live and share their Christian faith.”
Many people, even other Christians, might say that Deborah should “turn it down” a bit. But after watching the entire film, Brett and I agree with her older brother Matthew — the rest of us are the ones who need to “turn it up.”
We’re so proud of Deborah. Her faithfulness to “do hard things” and share the gospel — both privately and publicly, both alone and with her family — is the reason for the larger platform God has given her. She was never doing it to get attention. Instead, she did it because she truly loves God and believes the gospel.
Besides dealing with all the emails, criticism, and media requests that have come with the documentary (and besides school, chores, and working with her family), Deborah also has a terrific blog. Be sure to pay her a visit and let her know that you’re praying for her. And more than that, let’s all learn from her example.