References to stories, story-telling, and finding a new story are popping up everywhere. Influencers for this Great Idea are sprinkled liberally throughout:

Sharing our stories is powerful: stories help us discover who we are as we articulate our inner world; stories shape community as we grow in understanding; stories guide us toward justice by developing empathy.

Richard Rohr’s week-long series, The Cosmic Egg (don’t let the title throw you!) beautifully illustrates how My Story is essential for knowing “my self” and Our Story teaches healthy boundaries and behaviors, but both have shadow sides. The Story holds these two smaller stories within itself and draws us beyond them into our True Self and God’s desired reality.

For a great adult discussion on the power of stories and how they shape who we are, how we live, and what we believe, read Yolanda Pierce‘s In My Grandmother’s House: Black Women, Faith, and the Stories We Inherit.

It’s time to tell our stories – and tell them in new ways!

Option A:

Listen to Krista Tippett’s interview with Drew Lanham, which reveals how every personal story tells us about history, nature, and our world.

After listening to the interview, invite everyone to observe their favorite part of creation for a while, then write or draw a story about what they see. Share these stories in an open forum. As each story is shared, notice what is being said in the story’s sub-text about: the person telling the story, our current realities, your historical context, your community, etc.

Option B)

In In Search of a Better Future, Rev. Dr. Cameron Trimble articulates our need for a New Story. Trimble invites us to share these “new stories” in Convergence’s call for Letters to 2021.

Invite participants to cast a vision for 2021, and write it down in a letter. Share these stories with Convergence, and with each other.

Invite broader community members to participate. Sharing the letters with one another as a broader community could be extremely transformational and hopeful.

Read the letters when Convergence posts them – as a broader community. Explore how they intersect with the letters written by your community. Do they spark new ideas and hopes? Do they clarify specific goals already articulated? Listen and vision together as a whole community.

Option C)

In We Don’t Have to Fix Everything, Rev. Dr. Cameron Trimble highlights the importance of being seen and having our story heard.

Faith Formation Ministries offer 5 Ways to Retell a Bible Story. Use one or all of these different ways to retell a Bible story as practice for telling your own stories.

Create a story-telling event and invite your children, youth, young adults, adults and elders to an “open mic” – which might include dance, music, spoken word, prose, poetry, drama, visual arts, etc. Get creative with how people share their story.

Patrick Senense and the Youth Group of Magnolia Park UMC shared their stories to raise funds for a cause with which their stories connected.

Where might sharing your stories lead?

How might learning your stories help you reimagine yourself as a faith community?

How might hearing the stories of your neighbors inform how you engage as a partner in your broader community?

Stories are transformational – sharing them is hopeful!