People inhabit stories – surfer, political type, artist, jock….
The Modern era had a few big stories that gave coherence to everyone, that everybody kind of bought into – for example, even though a surfer, you were also an American and listened to the same music as the politico and the jock. Fashion had the big look of the season, and you had it or didn’t.
But now in the post-modern era there are so many stories flying all around everywhere, that ultimately the confusion leads to nobody having a story. You can wear whatever you want, the music industry is segmented unbelievably – there are just so many channels to choose from, that you end up “story surfing” so much that you never really have one story to call home and come out of the streets and into.
This leads to weariness.
The church needs to be the place that people can go to experience a coherent story that gives meaning to their life and a place to rest from their weariness.
The community of the church needs to live out its story in two ways – in relational lifestyle – making and keeping promises to be there for one another over the long term. And in the liturgy; the liturgy is the place where we will literally create a habitable reality – a story which people can inhabit with coherence leading to rest.
Your life’s reality is the story you inhabit. The surfer dude spends ten years of his life wearing clothes, talking with a specific language and hanging out with others just like him. The story of “surfer dude” is the actual reality he lived.
The liturgy needs to be so artistically moving that it pulls us in and tells a story we can be inspired by - just as we are at a rock concert or football game.
The liturgy has to have the artistic depth to draw us in with desire every week. We have to want to keep coming back for more.
If we can tell a powerful story in the liturgy that creates a habitable world, and make it legitimate by the way we live our lives communally, by making promises to be there for one another and keeping them – then the church will be a welcome haven for the weary souls “surfing” through life without a story or warm bed to come home to.
– Most of the ideas here were inspired by Robert W. Jensen in his article, “How the World Lost its Story” published in First Things.