The wonderful @Vicky_Walker was asked to provide a short summary of the themes of ‘story’ that had emerged from the day at #CNMAC12. Some in the audience became rather distracted by #pickles, so we asked Vicky if she could summarise her thoughts & observations in a blog post:
We were all there that day because we had stories we wanted to explore. Talks and seminars designed to help us find new and better ways of telling our own stories were useful, instructive and thought provoking, but other things became apparent too. Three things in particular stood out:
That even though we have a story, our own story, we want to tell, it isn’t just about us – we want and need to learn how to tell others’ stories better too. Vulnerable people, those without voices, whose stories are important but might not be heard without our help. We heard stories of those who are oppressed, who can’t speak for themselves, whose lives may be at risk, and we heard those stories from people who have dedicated their time and lives to making sure the world knows. What part do we have to play in telling the stories of those who cannot speak for themselves?
That there is a question over the authenticity of each of our stories and whether we embrace or reject it – essentially we have a choice. We can easily hide online, use anonymity to cover who we are, and this may be practical, reasonable and valid. But there is an additional risk – that we lose sight of who we are. Digital space allows us to edit ourselves, to create a story we’re happy with, even to change how we live in order to enhance our story, perhaps fooling ourselves. Are we telling our story as it evolves or are we trying to create the story we want to live?
That we need to understand the importance of story in our own lives. Jesus knew what he was doing when he told stories, but it’s notable he didn’t really tell his own story – he even asked ‘Who do you say I am?’ He told stories of other people. He created stories because he knew we would relate to the actions and reactions of others. He’s created each one of us to live out a unique story. While we might struggle with aspects of our lives, where we are going and even what hasn’t gone the way we expected, we might lose sight of our own stories. Are we remembering to go back to the one who created us, who wants to help us write our stories, to gain his perspective and focus, so in the end, through living out our stories, we can tell his?