Archive for the ‘Story’ Category

Consider the Possibilities

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

In other words, Bible stories don’t have to mean just one thing. Despite what you may have heard from a pastor or Sunday school teacher along the way, faithful engagement with Scripture isn’t about uncovering a singular, moralistic point to every text and then sticking to it. Rather, the very nature of the biblical text invites us to consider the possibilities.

“Turn it and turn it,” the ancient rabbis said of Scripture, comparing it to a precious gem, “for everything is in it.”

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 40

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 1, 2018

Relational Sacred Text

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Midrash, with its imaginative engagement of the Bible’s stories, reminds us that biblical interpretation need not be reduced to a zero-sum game, but rather inspires endless insights and challenges, the way a good story does each time it is told and retold. Our relational God has given us a relational sacred text, one that, should we surrender to it, reminds us that being people of faith isn’t as much about being right as it is about being part of a community in restored and restorative relationship with God. This is how Paul engaged Scripture, after all, and Jesus — both of whom were Jews.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 25

Photo: Sunrise, South Riding, Virginia, September 7, 2018

Stories and Community

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Her story reveals how the biblical text comes alive in the context of community, its endless shades and contours revealed in the presence of a diversity of readers — young and old, learned and unlearned, rich and poor, historic and contemporary, living and dead. This style of engagement not only brings us closer to Scripture’s many truths, but closer to one another. The sacred text becomes a crucial point of contact, a great dining room table, erected by God and set by God’s people, where those who hunger for nourishment and companionship can gather together and be filled.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 24

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 9, 2014

God Stoops.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

God stoops. From walking with Adam and Eve through the garden of Eden, to traveling with the liberated Hebrew slaves in a pillar of cloud and fire, to slipping into flesh and eating, laughing, suffering, healing, weeping, and dying among us as part of humanity, the God of Scripture stoops and stoops and stoops and stoops. At the heart of the gospel message is the story of a God who stoops to the point of death on a cross. Dignified or not, believable or not, ours is a God perpetually on bended knee, doing everything it takes to convince stubborn and petulant children that they are seen and loved. It is no more beneath God to speak to us using poetry, proverb, letters, and legend than it is for a mother to read storybooks to her daughter at bedtime. This is who God is. This is what God does.

Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 11-12

[Photo: Waterside Inn, Chincoteague, Virginia, November 11, 2017]

Why We Tell Stories

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Story makes us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving. Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith, faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase

[Photo: Oregon Coast, August 6, 2014]

The Power of Story

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

But it’s the stories that have always drawn me. When I was a child (as now) there were stories I found difficult, such as that of the workers in the vineyard, where those who had worked only an hour were paid as much as those who had worked all day in the heat of the sun. It wasn’t fair! Like most children, I wanted things to be fair, even though life had already taught me that unfairness abounds. I think many of us still feel like the child stamping and crying out, “It’s not fair!” Those who have worked all day long should certainly be paid more than those who came in at the last minute! But Jesus is constantly trying to make us understand that God’s ways are not our ways, and that God’s love is far less selective and far greater than ours. “Is thine eye evil because I am good?” God asks in Matthew’s Gospel after he has finished paying all the workers the same wage. When God blesses those we deem unworthy, does our jealousy make our eye become evil? Are we, like the elder brother, like Jonah, upset at God’s forgiveness? Daily I need a deep and penitent awareness of how much greater God’s love is than my own.

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher, p. 128, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase, p. 133

[Photo: Burnside Gardens, Virginia, April 22, 2016]

Story First

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

So it was a theological as well as a literary enterprise for me, but as a storyteller I had to make the story come first. I sat down and typed out “It was a dark and stormy night.” The theology is down deep. It’s not there unless you look for it. And that’s where I think it should be in stories. It should not hang below your skirt like a slip.

— Madeleine L’Engle, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase

Women’s Stories Matter.

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Women’s stories matter, the stories we write, the stories we read – the big-deal winners of literary prizes, and Harlequin romances, and documentaries, and soap operas, and PBS investigations, and Lifetime movies of the week. Women’s stories matter. They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings. They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or alone. Women’s stories matter. And women matter, too.

— Jennifer Weiner, Hungry Heart, p. 4

Reckoning

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Men and women who rise strong are willing and able to reckon with their emotions. First, they recognize that they’re feeling something — a button has been pushed, they’re hooked, something is triggered, their emotions are off-kilter. Second, they get curious about what’s happening and how what they’re feeling is connected to their thoughts and behaviors. Engaging in this process is how we walk into our story.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 40

Wired for Story

Monday, March 7th, 2016

We’re wired for story.

In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there’s a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories — it’s in our biology. The idea of storytelling has become ubiquitous. It’s a platform for everything from creative movements to marketing strategies. But the idea that we’re “wired for story” is more than a catchy phrase. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a story — a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end — causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p.6