Archive for story
Over the past weeks I have been busy with travel, meetings, and a writing project. I am expecting news to be available on the writing project soon, but it is under wraps for now. I can share that my writing has involved a good amount of research which has turned up all kinds of interesting things as usual. One of those, I wanted to go ahead and pass along. It is a video of Caesar Kalinowski, one of the planters and elders of Soma Communities. He has spent time learning from missionaries about the process of storying with pre-literates and now is advocating use of story with post-literates.
Storying has potential application in urban centers among nationals and what some may consider an emerging people group of transnationals–people that are more at home in international cities than they would be in smaller towns or villages among people that share a language and cultural background. I have used elements of storying with post-literates among multiple cultures and feel like this deserves more trial both in the U.S. and among the nations.
It seemed like it would be enjoyable just a few days ago. You know it had been such a good ride up until then. I thought maybe just one more time would be fun. Just a little bit more suspense. An extra helping of drama. Well, after last night I think maybe not. Too late though. Instead of finishing the series in 6 games, now the Rangers press on for game 7. Now there will be no Wild Wings’ extension. All one hundred sixty-whatever games now come down to this one. Come on guys, time to finish it. Time for the drama to be over. And just in case you don’t know this story and haven’t cared about the Series, check out MVP Josh Hamilton’s story here. (If you are wanting to watch the game, but your spouse is not so into that kind of thing, show this story and work for relational buy-in fast so maybe you can have date night over 9 innings. Be careful though, this creating interest strategy often works.)
One side note, I will be doing this last one at a high-school football game with ear phones inserted. Family commitments. Yes, tonight I am that guy that is here and there. If it gets too close, someone may have to phone in the result of the football game.
“I love you!” the grandfather said to his 4 year old grandson with Latin heritage aiding the grandfather in conveying the fulness of his love for the child. Impulsively, the child responded with an independent, “I don’t love you.” Without a pause or shift in his countenance the grandfather replied, “That’s OK. I love you enough for both of us.” Then, the process began again for the second of three iterations. “I love you!”….
I learned so much observing this family encounter some years ago. Both about the giving love of a wise one as well as the impulsive self-centeredness of a child-like mind. About the love of the Father and the reality of me.
As a continuation of the previous post a good bit wiser, this anecdote is to illustrate a bit more that “if they hate us, it is OK because we have enough love for both of us.” When the wise ones enter into relationships with others while permeated with the love of Christ, we are blessed to enter in with our eyes wide open. When confronted with the lovely or seemingly unlovable, we can move forward in confidence because of His goodness–because of His love.
Late last night I saw a voice mail from a neighbor that said “we have big problems.” He wanted me to call him back. Instead, I walked next door to his house.
The short version of the story is the father who phoned and his oldest son were fighting. They didn’t see a way out except for the son to move out and for there to be a permanent break in their relationship. We talked for some time about life and about God’s forgiveness. After that, they humbled themselves and asked for forgiveness for all of the stuff they had been doing to each other. That humility thing was not easy. It is hard for all, and definitely hard for the people among whom we live. I was amazed at the beauty of a reconciled relationship. God was clearly at work.
So after a late night last night, I rolled out of bed somewhat early this morning to let the dog out and have our morning ritual of giving her food and water and have a few rounds of fetch. (Usually she brings me the frisbee, sometimes I take it to her.) While out there, my neighbor starts whistling at the missional pooch. Then he and I begin talking and he asks me to come over to chat. When I arrive on his back porch there is another man there waiting on me.
“You are a man of God?” he asked. OK, that was a first for me. It seemed like a frightening question for so many reasons. Based on his dress, I could not tell if he was a preacher or a businessman. Based on his leadoff question I guessed wrong, but it wasn’t important. The only answer I could give in those circumstances was “yes, i am.” Then he started to tell his story. Well, the story is not appropriate for family reading, but he was asking for help. We talked about a prodigal son who returned to be graciously received by a loving, forgiving father. We talked about the Savior and about giving our life to Him. No sooner had I offered that we could pray than he was on his knees on rough concrete steps on the patio in slacks and a tie. I knelt in my PJ shorts and t-shirt while my neighbor knelt behind us in his normal painters garb.
This man cried out to God. Tears and snot were in abundance–yes, that tie will be ready for retirement before another wearing. When we finished praying, he shared about the deep shame he felt for the first time ever. He continued to be hunkered down, humbled before God. I am humbled and rejoicing.
God is moving here among our people.
As several have asked about a recent event in our lives based on a tweet I posted on The Twitters, an update seemed in order. For readers that don’t know, during my recent travels our house was burglarized. No one was home and every one is safe though the pooch was a little shaken up. While the hoodlums didn’t make off with loads of valuables, they did disrupt our lives.
We are continuing to address the logistical issues which come from a forced entry break in. But on the bright side, we were able to have a meet up with a number of our neighbors to talk about what it would look like for us to act as neighbors rather than just as people who live in close proximity to each other. I do not believe that God has for us to live in strife with our neighbors. At the same time I do not believe that He desires us to have a state of apathy for those that live close to us. It is in our community–where one plants his family–that we are the incarnation of the gospel.
Our neighbors were skeptical about getting together the first time, but they decided for another get together much sooner than I would have proposed.
Off topic, I had a piece posted this week on the Upstream site on the Sent and Sending church. Well that was the published title. I originally sent it as “A Church Brouhaha.”
In talking with many national leaders and planters throughout our time on the Prague / Budapest JetSet trip, one of the most compelling stories for me and many of our trip participants was about how God had moved among the Czech people and was drawing them to himself. It was the story of Sasha Flek, but it was a parallel story of his country and a post-Christian world.
Sasha told of his journey in coming to Christ which was instrumental in many of his friends being transformed, though not in the sequencing one might expect. Later, led to translate the Bible into a contemporary version of Czech, which was completed a couple years ago, he continued to see God stirring the hearts of people throughout the country as the whole text was and is read annually at Easter in town squares throughout the country.
This brief interview gives some more insight into the Czech worldview which Flek describes as anti-clerical or anti-institutional. He gives some of his cultural exegesis in how to speak to his postmodern, post-Christian countrymen.
Unfortunately we did not get Sasha’s full story on video, but we do have the audio. It was a huge blessing and encouragement to me. I would encourage you to give it a listen if you can invest the time. Here is a link for the audio on The Upstream Collective sight. By the way, his story includes an amazing phenomenon that has started in the last several years in the Czech Republic because of the Easter holiday. Thought I would share that in case anyone is still looking for a good Easter illustration. (smile)
It was a glorious night at the furthest corner of a sprawling, underground restaurant / pub. In this bunker, we shared our stories, laughed with and perhaps a few times at each other, and had a couple Czech guys tell what the Lord has done and is doing in their lives. (Audio of the stories will be posting soon at the Upstream site.) If for no other reason than this night, the trip was a personal gain–an enriching time. All the while though, something dreadful was taking place. It was something none of us could see, but it was among us and impacting our lives both that night and, undoubtedly, for the rest of our trip.
Each of us as we put on whatever we deem sleeping attire (though I am not certain I wonder if Frost was wearing his white satin nightgown that he finds so inspiring), it hit us. Now woven into our clothes was “the stink”. Not only was it now part of our clothes it had been baked onto our skin and saturated our hair–not exactly a problem for all of us. Tossing the clothes aside and scrubbing well, I thought it was all over–we had conquered. That was until I repacked my stuff to head for the train this morning. Folding up a shirt it hit me again. The reek of the stink is pervasive.
So now with my shirt and jeans laden with the stink packed in a closed case with my clean clothes, I am afraid that the stink will have multiplied and nested in each fiber by the time we open our bags. I’m afraid we will be living with the stink for the rest of our time. Of course it’s not such a big deal to stink if everyone else around you does also, but then again maybe we can try to have an upcoming missional conversation in a laundromat.
Today I ran across an intriguing story about a lost roll of film and the journey to return the resulting developed photos to the owner. While watching the video I was taken with how much of Luke 10 this guy, Todd Bieber, lives out in fulfilling his goal–to return the film and make friends along the way.
Thanks Todd for the fun story. Thanks for the model of humility and openness to adventure and other people.
It has felt a bit like a soap opera of late. First I write a few posts back about what a difference she is making in a neighbor’s life and then suddenly she turns gravely ill. In fact, there were two different occasions over the course of a week that I thought she wasn’t going to make it.
Strangely enough, all of this drama was over our dog. We have since seen her come through parvo. As a family we prayed a lot and not just a few tears were shed. Thankfully she is back at home and doing well. The vet asked us to keep the pooch calm, help her not to bite or swallow foreign objects and not to let her run free in the yard. I have wanted to call the vet many times and ask her if she has ever been around a 12 week old dog. Sometime this weekend she is supposed to be given her freedom to go and run and explore and dig in the back yard.
Just wanted to let you know the latest as some have known about the illness as we were going through it. (At the same time I promise all readers here that this blog has not just turned into a dog’s tale.)
Also, a quick update on our neighbor is that we continue to have amazing and at times awkward opportunities to be involved in their lives. Good things are happening. Soon the missional pooch will be back in the back yard to wake Gus up at irregular times in the early morning so that he may have opportunity to read more of the gospels.
Sometime recently (my days are running together both figuratively and literally right now) I went over to meet one of my new neighbors. Walking toward his porch, I see soap suds and water flowing freely. Turning the corner I see Gus with a stiff, soapy brush and the water hose giving Jesus a good scrub. Yes, he was washing the grime and dirt off of Jesus. In spite of the fact that his Jesus had either a party hat or a horn coming out of his head–it didn’t seem appropriate to do a micro-examination of his Jesus statue when we were exchanging names and pleasantries–what surprised me most was his attentive, diligent concern for cleaning Jesus.
I have been in his home briefly twice already and his sons helped move some furniture. Gus is already showing himself to be a person of piece. More on this in the future as we are days away from moving in among a people who scrub their Jesus.