Story

It is well to remember what the ancient creeds of the Christian faith declare credence in.

"God of God, Light of Light... for us and for our salvation came down from heaven... born of the Virgin Mary... suffered ... crucified... dead... buried... rose again... sitteth on the right hand of God... shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead." That is not a theological idea or a religious system. It is a series of largely flesh-and-blood events that happened, are happening, will happen in time and space. For better or worse, it is a story.

It is well to remember because it keeps our eyes on the central fact that the Christian faith always has to do with flesh and blood, time and space, more specifically with your flesh and blood and mine, with the time and space that day by day we are all of us involved with, stub our toes on, flounder around in trying to look as if we have good sense. In other words, the truth that Christianity claims to be true is ultimately to be found, if it's to be found at all, not in the Bible, or the church, or theology—the best they can do is point to the truth—but in our own stories.

If the God you believe in as an idea doesn't start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don't believe in as an idea does start showing up.

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.

 

~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

 

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