Friday, April 18, 2008

A Story Worth Telling

I like stories - whether it's a good murder mystery or a swashbuckling adventure... or even something as wonderful & simple as a camping trip disaster story shared among friends. (I heard a good one last night about sinking a boat because the guy telling the story forgot to put the plug in... and he came back to the dock to find his grandfather-in-law still holding the rope while the rest of the boat was underwater.)

I like to tell stories, too - part of the enjoyment of blogging is storytelling. If you've followed my blog & my Grapevine articles over the last three years, you've heard stories about me getting stuck in two different airports (O'Hare & DFW), about my friends managing to get me thrown out of Disneyland, and about God confronting me about my addiction to pornography.

Yesterday, Aaron (our worship/youth pastor) & I got to hear Donald Miller speak at Fresno Pacific about ministry & storytelling & following God. His premise (which is evidently the premise of his upcoming book) is that each of us are storytellers. Some stories we tell around the campfire or watercooler or whatever... but the most important stories are the ones we tell with our lives.

Donald Miller quoted Robert McKee, a screenwriting legend & expert on the nature and structure of story, in trying to make his point. McKee believes (even though he's not a follower of Christ) that stories set & adjust our moral compass. Good stories have the power to inspire us to live wisely & generously or to warn us when we are headed for destruction.

Miller suggested that in our "me first" culture, we tend to want things that end up telling dumb stories... when the focus of our life, our efforts, our everything is the acquisition of a new car or a bigger house, what story are we telling? When our energies & hopes are devoted towards getting someone to like us enough to date and/or sleep with us, is that a big enough story to inspire someone to change the direction of their life?

Of course, he said it a lot better than I did... and with a lot more humor & wisdom. (That's why he's writing books & I'm blogging.) But he did get me thinking... what story am I living? Are the things I want to do/be heroic and/or self-focused? 

Is my life a story worth telling?

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