Our church spent the past couple days at a retreat center shaping and reworking our values in hopes of discovering our vision and our mission. Given the reality that people need to earn the right to be heard by cultivating genuine relationships and hearing stories, the discussion turned to, “how do we help people tell their story that evoke questions and prodding that create opportunities to tell the Story?” During this discussion I began taking furious notes specifically around this idea of people being living or walking parables. When Jesus was asked about the Kingdom of God, he responded with stories, analogies, metaphors and images. Through these stories he communicated what God values and the principles that fuel God’s economy. Through these parables he gave people a radical new paradigm in which to look at life. With these thoughts percolating in my mind, I began to wonder, what if people’s stories could become God’s parable to humanity? It’s the idea that people’s lives are a tangible reflection of the Kingdom of God at work, that the through the lives of people, (i.e. embodying loving kindness, acts of compassion, mercy, and justice) they can become testaments to God’s economy and the practical implications of His new paradigm for living life? Parables evoke questions and for those who dig, poke, wrestle and prod, they might be given the gift of greater understanding of the Kingdom on deeper and deeper levels.
Perhaps our church can be in the business of encouraging, equipping and teaching others how to tell our stories in order that they might be able to communicate the Story. However, it’s not just about communicating the story, it’s fundamentally about being the story. How do we move people to a place where they see themselves as translators of Christ into their own culture, community, and social lives? How to we move people to a place where they know the hope that they have in Christ, can articulate it, and live it out? These ideas still have quite a bit to go to get fleshed out and made into practical applications, but I’m excited about the direction that we are headed with this and I think this could be really healthy for our church community on multiple levels. More thoughts to follow.