Forward Friday: Tell a Story; Hear a Story
This week we’ve been talking about sharing our stories as part of what it means to be the body of Christ, the community of God, in the world. For today’s Forward Friday, let’s remain mindful of growing into a more holistic body theology by participating in the body of Christ through story. Here are two ways you can keep moving forward.
1) Tell a Story
And by this I mean tell your story to someone else. If you have a deep, vulnerable story to share, something that’s been weighing on your or burning in you, find a friend with whom you feel safe and who will keep your story confidential. Notice how, as you share your story, you are sharing a part of who you are with another person. Allow the story to help foster community between you and strengthen your friendship.
If you aren’t ready to share something deep and vulnerable, don’t give up. Share a funny story, your most embarrassing moment, or your favorite childhood memory. Not every story has to be deep and vulnerable or about sin and shame in order to foster closer community. As we share our stories with others, we create space for others to share their stories in return. Learning more about who we are as a community of God helps us to be more connected and more real as the body of Christ in the world.
If you aren’t comfortable sharing your story with a member of your church community, come back and share it here in the comments section. This blog is a safe space, too. Or you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer to share privately. I always enjoy making new friends and strengthening existing friendships!
2) Hear a Story
And by this I mean hear the story of someone in your community. It’s all well and good to watch films like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but unless you bring that experience of story home to your community, you won’t see any real change. Make time to hear the story of someone you know. Notice how, as they share their story with you, they are sharing a part of who they are with you, too. Allow the story to help foster community between you and strengthen your friendship.
Before you hear someone else’s story, create space for that story to be told. This can happen in a number of ways.
If you are a small group leader, you might have a “story night” and ask all your participants to think of a story that shares something new about themselves with the group and have popcorn and soda to help keep the atmosphere light as people share. (If people are sharing vulnerable stories, be sure to state up front that you are creating a safe space and that everything shared in the group will be kept confidential. Encourage participants to listen with openness and love and to avoid judgmental facial expressions or responses to any story shared.)
If you are part of a more relaxed church community, try having a “story night” as part of your worship experience.
If you prefer a one-on-one experience, invite a friend or fellow community member over for coffee or tea.
Remember that as we create space for others to share their stories, they may be more open to hearing our stories in return. Learning more about who we are as a community of God helps us to be more connected and more real as the body of Christ in the world.