Thursday, 14 August 2014

I did learn something...story is powerful.

I'm a Preacher's Kid, and I'd NEVER listen to my Dad's sermons. Oh I was there, in the building, sitting in a pew, but I was usually writing notes to my friends, or when I got older, I was harmonically analyzing the chords progressions from the Hymn Book. Until he told a story...

The I'd listen - couldn't wait to hear what he had to say. Sometimes it was even about me. (I liked those ones the best) Story is what makes even the most hardened of PK's listen to their Dad with rapt attention.

Story is what drives social media today. Well, that and our own narcissism. Story is finding the intersection between your life and mine. Without story, we are strangers.

When I look at cultures and generations that have gone before, the most important thing they passed on to those who were just coming up were the stories. It wasn't a list of dos and don'ts. It was the stories that they had heard when they were young. Think of the bedtime stories you told your kids when they were small, when did you learn them? I bet they were the ones that were told to you. We don't forget them.

I like to occasionally get the new FB friend that I don't know all that well and then I start digging. (not to be confused with creeping, of course) Through FB, what have they disclosed to me about their story? And what do I tell people about mine?

Story of course has a downside. It can be voracious. I once took a class where the Prof said that gossip is to women what porn is to men. I don't know that I completely agree, but there may be a kernel of wisdom there. Did we really need to know how Robin Williams was found dead? What position he was in? No. After I heard it, my husband and I had a long talk about how long it would have taken, and did he pass right after he said good night to his wife and how long does it take for rigor mortis to set in and a whole lot of things that are honestly none of our business. Some stories don't need to be told to the world.

But having said that, I will never forget those details.

Because story is powerful.

This was at theologian Fred Buechner's blog a few days ago,  "It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life's story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others' lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling.

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