Brokenhearted Theology, California, Equipping, Food, Meaning, Ministry, Quotes, Ramblings, Relational, Resurrection, Stories

Developing Community Through Shared Meals and Stories

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. (Philip Pullman)

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Stories and food are powerful mediums for weaving lives together.

On Wednesday nights, our community gathers for a meal. As  much as possible, we try to gather around a single table (at our place, we push three tables together and squeeze chairs close together). Sharing space and a meal allows for a sense of family that is more than nostalgia for an old-fashioned family meals. It’s about sitting in the same space, looking across at people, laughing together, and created a sacred space for life to happen and community to deepen. In a fast-paced city driven by technology, media, and celebrity-buzz, it feels like an unusual occurrence.

Recently we’ve been sharing stories during and after these meals- stories of hope, reflections on our respective journeys, etc. Last night we shared stories of failure and success. Hilarious and heartbreaking stories from childhoods lived far from Los Angeles. For most of us, memories far removed geographically from those gathered around the table. Different experiences, different upbringings, different vantage points. But shared together and offered as gifts of experience, wisdom, and laughter.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. (Robert McKee)

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. (Maya Angelou)

Our stories have the power to heal, to make the world new again, to give people metaphors by which they can better understand their own lives. (Christopher Vogler)

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. (Sue Monk Kidd)

Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. (Robert McKee)

There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. (Flannery O’Connor) 

My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours… it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us more powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually. (Frederick Buechner)

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