Stories in a Larger Narrative

At town meeting the other day, one of the town leaders bragged about how the town’s stabilization fund was growing even faster than expected – a rousing success for everyone. What she didn’t say was that the fund was growing faster because money had been taken from an already underfunded school system and public library, among other things. The town budget looked better, but the quality of education and access to necessary resources through the library were both severely restricted. The larger story beyond the municipal spreadsheet had a different tale to tell about what was good and necessary. What gains a family if its savings account is growing but everyone is hungry?

Narratives within narratives, stories within larger stories. My life’s story is part of the many narratives of my family, my town, my place in history, and my planet. I am not the author, I am not the sole focus of this story that is creation, and I’m incapable of jumping out of my story and seeing the whole book of life. There is more beyond what I see and what I understand, and forgetting or ignoring the bigger story may very well harm others.

May God grant me wisdom to do no harm, strength to repair the hurts I cause, and forgiveness for the harm my limitations bring.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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