Monday, June 12, 2006

Stories Stitch Us Together

STORIES are the real stuff of life. I think God lives in (and loves) our stories more than he lives in finely-crafted, exegeted sentences about the Bible.

LAST evening Julie and I were with a posse of friends for a potluck dinner with Curt, our host, doing his famous (new grill) turkey-that-disguises-itself-as-pork loin specialty. Curt sticks a digitally-ramped up probe into the meat to let him know its inside temperature. Go figure. Curt eats Copper River salmon on the Copper River, salmon he's caught himself bare-handed and cooked over an open fire. Curt is very, very cool. Curt is a Renaissance man.

GREG and Christine were there as well as each of their parents. Jim and Sue (from Colorado for a few days) told stories on Greg while Ken and Marilyn were discreetly quiet about their lovely daughter Christine. Justin was there with his delightful smile and wonderful ability to play the piano, and Micah showed up, an artist who writes subversively powerful songs and plays them on his guitar. Erica, Micah's wife, came later with their little son Asher. Erica is a passionate pursuer of God and God's mission in the world. Josh, who pilots the oldest boat on Reeds Lake, told stories about his novice knowledge of boating. Josh is a builder. Andi, who works with troubled teens, was missing Ben who's in Oregon as a newly ordained youth pastor (they get married in August). Wayne and Vicki who are earning their MPT--masters of parenting teens with its joys and agonies. (Wayne is our resident theologian-philosopher and well-grounded guru). Matt told stories of working as Teaching Cashier at a corner store in the city. He's senior executive cashier. We enjoyed Lydia whose knows Greek flawlessly because she is Greek. Curt and I carried a box-spring, mattress and bed frame up 3 floors for Lydia a few days back. Her apartment is so high I get a nose-bleed. Kristin, Lydia's friend, came and blessed Christine with a bouquet of flowers as a belated birthday gift. Karen, a clone of Martha Stewart, was our supremely welcoming hostess, who will not eat cheesecake from the box (like I will) but must put it on a raised cake plate.

CHRISTINE, who had been to a conference on Whidbey Island in the Peuget Sound, led all of us through an exercise about telling our stories; an exercise she recently experienced at the conference. She said, "Your stories are like your fingerprints. They are yours alone." As followers of Jesus we have stories to tell and our stories shared together in community point amazingly to and are part of God's grand, sweeping story of redemption and love. Christine had us list by category "Funny stories," "Stories I tell often," and "Stories that have shaped me." We then shared a few stories together.

JULIE told about our dinner time experience when our girls were little. When one of the girls had a particularly important story from her day, she not only told it to us, but got up beside the table and dramatized it. We had so much fun hearing (and seeing) the girls' stories. Greg told about his first meeting of Curt and how that led to the joyful experience we were all having around the table last night on Curt's deck.

CURT told about his brother, Doug, who recently spent an entire day with their grandfather. Doug told Curt, "Grandfather spent the whole day telling me stories and I'd never heard one of them before in my life." The grandfather is 95. What a treasure.

FOR GOD so loved the world that he didn't preach sermons; he told stories.

THANKS, little community, for your stories. Julie's life and mine are richer because of your laughter, tears, dreams, hurts and love. Because of your stories.

[for a great story by Bob Greene, click here]


At 6/12/2006 7:45 PM, Blogger Greg said...

The 4 Mutch's have just finished a nice dinner together, followed by a trip to Jersey Junction. Now we are at home gathered around the fire (laptop). We checked your blog and reveled in the re-telling of the story that was lived out last nite. Thanks, John, for reminding us. And thanks for sharing powerfully from your own life.

And thanks for being a founders-ationalist with us.

At 6/12/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen John. And we're all included, just as you show here!

At 6/14/2006 12:53 PM, Blogger Jim Martin said...

What a great post! and---such a good reminder of the importance of "everyday" stories. A post like yours reminds me that life is happening right now as opposed to thinking that one day, all of my circumstances will be just right.

At 6/14/2006 3:03 PM, Blogger John Frye said...


Richard Rohr says that God comes to us disguised as our ordinary lives. God's life is all around us.

At 6/15/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger ben said...

greetings from Oregon, John!

What a COOL night! While you were telling stories, I was at a finance committee meeting ... helping to decide what amount of money should go towards camp scholarships that would assist some of our kids from financially burdened families go to camp.

wish i was there with you all!

At 6/15/2006 7:28 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

We missed you and I know ANdi was missing you. Hang in won't be long.

At 6/24/2006 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks John for this great post. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and Julie and am so glad that you are part of our group. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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