Tag Archives: narrative

I need the story

I don’t like people to tell me what happened in a movie or book before I have my chance with the story. I don’t want their take coloring what the story might say to me, lift from me, work into me, strengthen me to do. I don’t need their take, I need the story.

We had a little girl, she is 22, but that is a little girl  to me now, come and share her story of being bullied in school. She is obviously beautiful, eloquent,  brilliant and in the race for Miss Alabama, now. Had someone else told me her story, I would have listened. It was interesting, almost unbelievable, worth the time to hear. But it wouldn’t have effected me the same.

She told us just a little of it; there was challenge,  sacrifice, pain, suffering, redemption, calling, purpose, triumph and everything a good story should have. But the power of the story came in a moment, unscripted, of ethos and pathos, when she broke for millisecond, and it all rushed to the NOW, and we were in it with her, almost in her, living it, too. And something deep transpired. I watched some of the students make the shift, from listening to being with/in, listening through. And truth, core cutting truth, came into that room and worked some wholeness and some grief. I know that she didn’t tell it all, but she told enough to bring the NOW into the moment.

She told lots of interesting, challenging statistics; but her story, brought the real – the eternal real (God Himself) tangibly into the room.

Sometimes, when I get still enough, ready enough to listen, God will tell me some of His story, He will read it to me, adding all the helpful embellishments, just the way my Dada would the funny papers. He will tell me the unabridged, drop-down version and sometimes,  His voice will break, too…and pull me in to Him, so “with” that I can barely discern myself…and I feel what He feels, see what He sees.

I so need story.

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Greek to me

I often rave in my classroom about the curse of dualism: either/or, black/white thinking. Dualism is the fallout of the Greco-Roman system of thought and categorization. It produces a culture of we/they, as in, we are good, they are bad. We are right, they are wrong. Get the picture. It is not very knowledge based, hardly wisdom based, and it does wonders for one’s relational IQ.

But dualism has been all the rage in the west for a couple of thousand years. That is until now, its power to possess is waning. Maybe it is a function of the “smalling” of the world. Information and technology can change a lot about what we know and who else can know it quickly. Post modernism embodies this paradigm shift, this new, more respectful way of seeing the universe and those who dwell in it. And everyone is getting the memo – except those who should have identified, addressed, and corrected  this error first, the “truth seekers,” the Church.

Unfortunately, we seem to cling most passionately to something old and worn and honestly never really helpful: dualism. In the third century there was a huge brouhaha about gnosticism in the church, the same basic dualism argument. It contended that “Matter is evil and spirit is good.” It was derived from the traditional Greco- Roman nomenclature: essence is reality and matter  is decaying. From such were derived many non-incarnational mentalities, which in turn led us to value less the earth, humanity, and the interactions between the two. Never mind that Jesus didn’t just teach about incarnation, He was the embodiment of it.

Anyway, the mentalities of Plato’s perfection and Aristotle’s ascending achievement totally eclipsed our view of Christ. We, at least in the west, see Him via these lenses. But what if He was something altogether different and/or more? What if through our understandings of the way the world worked – ( and how much did we have right back then? or do we really have now?) we totally missed the story of God. The story God told us about Himself, most clearly punctuated by the Person of Christ. What if we missed it all? What if in our retelling, the beautiful story got botched? Maybe a few characters were remembered and salvaged, but the plot and the back stories all got confused and glossed over in our desire to make the story line fit our way of seeing the world.

What if all along, the beautiful story (of God) was right there in front of us? What if so much that we do not see about God, about us, was right there, but we saw it through lenses that all but blinded us to it.

Anybody willing to have your prescription checked? Continue reading

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