Retelling Our Story
Can you think of a story that felt disastrous at the time, but became humorous or profound when you retold it?
A social misstep…
A wardrobe malfunction…
A holiday nightmare…
I have been working my way through Rob Bell’s book, “What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.” He writes about recapitulation – to bring things together under one head. He uses the art of retelling a story to make this point:
“When you retell a story, you don’t remove the nasty bits or the unfortunate events – you include them. But in retelling things, they appear in a new light. They are what they are, and yet when they’re retold, they take on a new meaning and weight and perspective…when you retell the story, you include all those [nasty] details because in your retelling, they get transformed.
In fact, you accentuate the nasty bits.
What were the worst parts of the story, in your retelling, become the best bits.
Can everything eventually be retold in such a way that the worst parts – wars and diseases and oppression and on and on – are included and somehow brought together in unity?”
Our community has been through a nasty season. Less than a year ago, we gathered together upstairs and shared with you that our building was being foreclosed on. We entered a season where the future of our community felt uncertain.
Today, we have successfully raised 1.5 million dollars in 90 days through our “Ignite Our Community with Generous Love” campaign to secure our irreplaceable property. We retained all of our incredible education staff, we grew by 20%, and continue to grow stronger as a community. As a church and school, we learned that “Together, we are stronger!”.
Our open-hearted posture as a community allowed us to receive God’s gift of transforming a foreclosure into a story of community strength and resilience.
This transformation conversation is actively happening behind the scenes in our community. Our teams are considering how to retell our story in order to move forward under one head.
We are recapitulating our community.
At our most recent Administrative Team meeting, we pulled out the markers and wrote all over the glass of the Conference Room. We asked questions and included the nasty bits – because they matter.
What story have we been telling up until now?
What is working?
What are we missing?
What do we need to do to move forward?
As we find ourselves in the middle of Advent and preparing our hearts for Christmas, can you turn those questions inward?
What are your broken parts and nasty bits?
Truly, God invites us into transforming our whole story – it is an active art of co-creating with the Master of Retelling and Transformation.
Friends, we can only move forward in a genuinely successful way if we have our feet planted firmly and fully on the Truth – nasty bits and all.
“God is retelling…everything”. ~Rob Bell
Making Learning Visible,
Heather Sandager, Admissions Advisor