The rabbis guide their people with stories; ministers usually guide with ideas and theories. We need to become storytellers again, and so to multiply our ministry by calling around us the great witnesses who in different ways offer guidance to doubting hearts.
One of the remarkable qualities of the story is that it creates space. We can dwell in a story, walk around, find our own place. The story confronts but does not oppress; the story inspires but does not manipulate. The story invites us to an encounter, a dialog, a mutual sharing.
A story that guides is a story that opens a door and offers space in which to search and boundaries to help us find what we seek, but it does not tell us what to do or how to do it. The story brings us into touch with the vision and so guides us. Weisel writes, "God made man because he loves stories." As long as we have stories to tell to each other there is hope. (The Living Reminder by Henri J. M. Nouwen)
This theme continues to pop up everywhere. Really good stuff. I had to go back and add it to the post on story from last week. I love Nouwen's language as he describes the value, role, and function of story in the spiritual life. It challenges me not only to be living a good story, but telling a good story as well.