Friday, March 04, 2005

The Other 99

Last night, Sheryl, Kinsey, and I attended a deal from Magdalene Ministries, which I would take the time to explain, but Clarissa Cox did a much better job. Long story short, it’s ministry to women who have been drug abusers and prostitutes, helping them get off the streets.

Anyway, I was thinking about stories and the power of God’s grace told through the stories that the three Magdalen ladies told us last night.

This may not describe anyone else, but having been a Christian basically my entire life, sometimes I don’t feel like I have a story. I’ve never done drugs, I don’t smoke (well, a cigar a couple of times a year), I don’t drink (well, a glass of wine a couple of times a year), I wasn’t abused as a child. I have my little quirks like everyone else (mom disfellowshipped from the church I attend now; going to a charismatic church for a while), but I don’t feel like I have that big dramatic story of God’s grace acting in my life or a Damascus road experience that I can use as a springboard in the sharing of the Good News.

I think a lot of that is driven by desire for drama. You know, we watch our big dramatic shows and love the stories told on them. And we love the stories that people tell. But I think that the stories of faithful people are just as uplifting, if not as “exciting” as the others. That the 99 sheep have stories to tell that are just as important as the one. God’s faithfulness to us is something that we should talk about, and we can talk about those. Not to brag because (insert self-righteous voice here) “I’ve never fallen away, like that rotten tax collector,” but to show that life with God is possible without the awful horrible things that can happen in life.

OK, am I way off base on this or just slightly out in left field? Thanks for reading this, whoever’s out there.


Marty Dodson said...

Phil....I couldn't resist the challenge. And look, I am the first to blog you on this one. I hope you have a great day. We appreciate all you do at OC.

Marty Dodson

K said...

I'm visiting via clarissa's blog.

I definitely do not think you are off base. Everyone has a story to tell and a gift to give. Just because it lacks the drama of other stories does not make it less important or life changing. There are those of the 99 sheep (quite a few I bet), mulling along quietly wondering why they are there... they would benefit from a faithful witness from another everyday sheep like you (and me).

Grace and Peace,

eclark said...

Hi, Philip!

After that pitiful bit of site-promotion over on TG's site, I just couldnt resist taking a peek at your blog.

Well, it worked, didn't it? 'Cause here I am!

Actually I'm glad you did that. Didn't even know you were a blogger. So thanks for the heads up.

Keep up the great work on the blog, at OC and elsewhere. You and Sheryl are appreciated more than you'll ever realize.

I'll check back with you and see if I can beat Marty one of these times.

AKA E. Clark Buchi

eclark said...

Philip -

I've thought about your blog all weekend. The sign of a successful blog, I think.

Here's the deal. I've always been plagued by the problem you have posed. No story!

In my mind, I've gone a couple of ways with it.

First, we have no records of anything but conversions in the NT. Only later would there have been children who "grew up in the Church." So you and I don't have good role models from scripture showing how it was done right - at least not from the NT.

All of those we see had conversion experiences of some sort, and some were very dramatic. In my younger life, I sort of wished that I had had one of those. You know ... act really bad and then have a magnificent conversion experience.

It never happened.

Praise the Lord that he ignored my immaturity!

Second, I've come to believe that my happy home life while growing up IS my story.

My story involves what some have called "observation and correction." It's a blessing from God that I've been able see mistakes in my life and have them gently pointed out and corrected. That's the pattern that I learned of a loving Heavenly father, modelled to me by loving parents.

I didn't have to relearn what true family meant. I didn't have to overcome a mistaken concept of "brothers and/or sisters" and how they should behave toward each other. I didn't have to learn recovery from a feeling of abandonment or loss of love.

And when it came my turn to raise children, I tried to imitate what my parents had shown me - with certain changes, of course, in an effort to change a few things that IMHO I thought needed some improvement. Know what I mean?

Anyhow, I HOPE that if you were to ask my two daughters now, they would tell you that they, too, don't have a story - in the same sense that you and I don't.

I pray that Kinsey won't have a story either. And I'll bet she won't, because of your and Sheryl's nature and background and training and experience AND your "lack of a story."

OK. I've gone on too long. Some of my friends say, "Ask him what time it is and he'll tell you how to make a watch." I know. I know.

But all this was brought on by your wonderful blog. And I think this is what blogging is supposed to be all about. Sharing ideas.

So if I've leaped off the deep end here, just "observe and correct" me.

In the meantime, let's both rejoice that we don't have a story. And hope we NEVER have one!!! Except for the sweet and gentle non-story that we seem to have inherited and now are passing on to our children.

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