Thursday, 28 May 2009

So what story are you telling at the moment?

Steve Taylor has been writing about daring to tell our wilderness stories. Reading his sermon and reflection made me realise what a huge challenge living and bearing witness in the modern world is for those with faith, it is assumed that Christians are both hypocritical and judgemental, Steve suggest this in his sermon:

One response is to be transparent. To tell our wilderness stories. To stop pretending we’ve got it all sussed. Be real about our struggles. Which could lead to a new perception: Christians are transparent about their flaws. So that’s a first application. If the story of Jesus begins in wilderness, then Christians need to be tellers of our wilderness stories.

Second application is that we need to place our wilderness stories within God’s wilderness story.
Being transparent, making ourselves vulnerable through story-telling is not always easy but only if we dare to do that will we also be open to looking for what Steve calls "Angel moments". As I wonder about my own story being too self-satisfied, easy and boring I found the idea of trying to tell it in wilderness terms helpful. Janet has been saying to me for ages that narrative theology is the way to build up community and building up community is about building up individuals. We all need to tell our stories in real ways and dare to show the cracks.


Hansuli John Gerber said...

Amen to Steve Taylors' sermon and your reflection. I believe that too and find that's what makes it so hard for me to properly function in a large Christian institution. 'cause I'm not sure any longer that you can have it both ways - be transparent, authentic and honest, and at the same time cater to or maintain an institution that was built 60 years ago. Institutions as we know them are anti-narrative by definition. They are greedy, if not for money then for self-agrandissement and for publicity. They essentially serve the egos of those who like to be called leaders.

Jane said...

Thanks for your comment Hans Uli.
I suppose the other side to the integrity issue is the question Sartre asks in Les Mains Sales - are we so keen to keep ourselves, our ideas, our party, our church ... pure that we never get our hands dirty?
I struggle with this myself and sometimes wonder how much all of us workign for institutions get drawn into a culture of entitlement after a while. that can mean that we end up not feeling very happy with ourselves, sort of disconnected I suppose.