The Whole Life is a “Well-Storied Life”

Everybody loves a good story. That becomes even more obvious during the time of year when the Golden Globes are on and nominations have been made for the Oscars. While I don’t see that many movies, I am always looking for the next movie with a story that captivates at the soul level. The kind of movie where you leave the theater feeling profoundly impacted, energized, impassioned, convicted, and so on. You can probably think of at least one movie that did that to you.

This past week, thanks to a Post-Doc seminar at Fuller Seminary, my wife and I got to spend a couple days around a table with Leonard Sweet. Len’s written 61 books and is only a couple years older than me. I’ve read a few of his books. But sitting next to him for a couple days and watching his heart and passion for story really changed me. In fact, it’s hard to write this blog because I’m now convinced that there is something more powerful than words…images. Images convey a sense of story far better than words do. That’s why for most it’s easier to go see a movie than it is to read a book.

I was challenged by some of Len’s statements, such as:

  • “We don’t know Bible stories as stories – but only as points and principles.”
  • “Take a story you think you know and see how well you know it.”
  • “The new success is not your numbers . . . it’s your narratives.”
  • “You can only build an identity on narrative.”
  • “Our culture doesn’t trust the words, but they’ll trust the stories.”
  • “You’ve memorized a Bible verse – but have you ever memorized a Bible story?”
  • “The first thing a missionary does is learn the language of the culture – but this is what we refuse to do! The creativity in churches today is for a world that is no more and in a language that no one can hear.”

If we’re going to be brutally honest, there are three stories we really don’t know – the grand story of God contained in Scripture, the story of the culture right around us, and our own story in the midst of the first two. Maybe that’s why we hunger so much to watch or read a great story?

So here’s a challenge. This coming year I think we’d all grow a bit, not to mention become better followers of Jesus, if we’d . . .

  1. Get to know the whole STORY of God by grasping the big picture of the Bible, from Genesis to Maps
  2. Learn to see and hear the STORY right around us by looking and listening for what God is up to right around us at work, at school, and in our neighborhoods
  3. Treat our own STORY as God treats it – as sacred and important, and part of the other two

At SOULeader we’re all about WHOLENESS. And if the whole life is a well-storied life . . . then we’d better learn the stories.


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