Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Story Telling

An excerpt from an introduction to student testimonies I gave a couple Thursdays ago at our weekly Large Group meeting:

One of the hallmarks of true community is honesty, vulnerability, this idea of “being real.” In community, we truthfully share our lives with each other, that we might really know one another and truly be able to care for one another. So in the interest of real community, I am going to get vulnerable with you all tonight. I’m going to share with you one of the deepest, darkest secrets I have in my life – something that no man in his right mind would ever admit:

I like Grey’s Anatomy. If you press my on the issue, I might even say I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy. I think it’s the most intriguing show on television, the only one which I will carve out specific time in my schedule to watch – or TiVo because I'm at Large Group.

I’m fascinated by the stories of the characters – of Meredith’s strained relationship with her mother, of chief’s being torn between the woman he loves and the woman he’s committed to, of Addison’s attempt to find purpose in a world full of broken relationships, of Alex’s life change from tough guy bad boy to female heart-throb, of George’s attempt to navigate life without his deceased father, of Christina’s battle to choose love over stress, of Bailey’s story to try to keep this whole hospital full of interns intact, of McDreamy and his hair, of McSteamy and his ego.

I love these characters’ stories. And I love how all their stories come together to form “Grey’s Anatomy.” All their stories come together to form this one great story.

InterVarsity is a Christian organization, and we believe in God, the God who came to earth and revealed himself to humans through the person of Jesus Christ. We believe this God has a story. From the beginning of time, he has been writing it. Today, he is writing it. And forevermore, he will continue to write this never-ending story.

God’s story is the story of his interactions with humankind. It is rife with romance, with tragedy, with redemption, with victory, with sacrifice, with adventure. It is the story of God’s love for us, of our rejection of that love, and of God’s ceaseless work to bring us back to that love. It is a great story.

Whether you realize it or not, you have a story, a story of your interaction with this God, a story that is part of God’s greater story. Just as Meredith’s story, George’s story, McDreamy’s story come together to form the story of "Grey’s Anatomy," so do all of our stories come together to form part of the greater story that God continues to write.

The stories of our interactions with God are as numerous as there are people in the room tonight. At various points in each of our stories, there have been dramas that would make Grey’s Anatomy look like child’s play, there have been comedies written by circumstance that even Dane Cook couldn’t think up, there have been adventures known only in the days of ancient Sparta, there have been horror stories with fear that would intimidate even Stephen King, there have been romances which Nicholas Sparks’s notebook could never contain. They are great and wild stories. And we believe that all of our stories have the same theme - God stopping at nothing in his work to call his people into a deeper and deeper relationship with himself.

He is bringing forth his story one story at a time.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Just a Little Friendly Heads Up

I made a mistake last night. I said it was cold.

And it was cold. After a sunny day in the mid-70's, the temperature had dropped to the chilly 40's as I walked to our Leadership Meeting at 7:00pm dressed to the hilt in khaki shorts and flip-floppery. Here, I uttered my climatic slur.

I received varied reactions from the UNH IV student leaders. One let out a Santa Clausian chuckle which communicated, "I know something you don't. Ha Ha Ha." Another gave me a quizzical look wondering why her staff worker was telling a lie. A third informed me that the weather outside was not, in fact, cold but "nice." I quickly quieted down and resolved to send Meteorological Me into hibernation for the rest of the winter.

Upon returning to my apartment after the meeting, I found an e-mail from the Prayer Coordinator of entitled "Just a Little Friendly Heads Up." It made me laugh. Then I reflected. That made me cry. Whether you are in the mood for comedy or tragedy, I thought you all might enjoy:

"NEW ENGLAND TEMPERATURE CONVERSION CHART

60 F: Southern Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in New England sunbathe.
50 F: New Yorkers try to turn on the heat. People in New England plant gardens.
40 F: Italian & English cars won't start. People in New England drive with the windows down.
32 F: Distilled water freezes. Maine's Moosehead Lake's water gets thicker.
20 F: Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats. People in New England throw on a flannel shirt.
15 F: New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in New England have the last cookout before it gets cold.
0 F: All the people in Miami die. New Englanders close the windows.
10 below zero: Californians fly away to Mexico. The Girl Scouts in New England are selling cookies door to door.
25 below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. People in New England get out their winter coats.
40 below zero: Washington DC runs out of hot air. People in New England let the dogs sleep indoors.
100 below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. New Englanders get frustrated because they can't start their "kahs."
460 below zero: All atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale). People in New England start saying, "cold 'nuff for ya?"
500 below zero: Hell freezes over. The Red Sox win the World Series."

Come, Lord Jesus.

Preferably before winter.