This week’s guest blog comes from Bill Harper, Vicar of Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island, WA (www.gracehere.org).  This is one of his “Notes from the Vicar” and he speaks of his faith and the Call to discern and choose the stories that guide our life. Thanks, Bill!)

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We are only as good as our stories.

We are only as good as our stories.

David Brooks, writing in (the) New York Times, reminds me (again) how true this is. And how overlooked.

“[P]eople do have a drive to seek coherence and meaning. We have a need to tell ourselves stories that explain it all. We use these stories to supply the metaphysics, without which life seems pointless and empty. Among all the things we don’t control, we do have some control over our stories. We do have a conscious say in selecting the narrative we will use to make sense of the world.”

But how conscious–how aware–are we of the stories we choose to provide that shape to our lives? Are we self-aware enough to know that we can be victims of our dark, unconscious stories? Lately I’ve been so troubled by what passes for debate, discourse, even conversation in the world around us. What stories do we harbor that allow us to cast each other as some sworn enemy? How in the world did it become OK to dismiss and de-humanize anyone who disagrees with us? Why would we let media voices into our lives when those voices rant, scream, mock and ridicule? What kind of human story makes that OK?

I deeply, deeply believe that choosing the stories we use to understand our lives, and the world around us, is the most important thing we do as individuals. Do you know what your “story” is? Does it give you life? Make sense of things? Does it bring life to others? These aren’t arm chair questions-these days they seem essential to our survival.

The faith we share-the “story” of God’s love for this Creation-is about life, and grace, and redemption. It’s a sacred story, and it makes us sacred.

What is your story? Is it a story good enough for the life you are called to live?