All It Took Was an Inbound Pass
I am a sap. I love watching the "Bachelor" propose. I cheer with glee when the "Biggest Loser" transformation happens. And now you know my deepest darkest shame of watching reality TV. But, there is something freeing about being emotionally involved in a story. Take this latest three-minute video that has been making the rounds:
Now, if you aren't reaching for the nearest hankie after watching that...
It's odd; there are so many secular avenues where our heartstrings get pulled - yet rarely do they get tugged on in church. A place where we are to be transformed spiritually (and emotionally one would hope) is also a place where there should be room for some genuine shedding of tears.
That's where the power of the story - of the story you can tell - comes in. What makes the video of a local high school basketball game so moving?
- There was no manipulation involved. This was a true story. You saw it happen before your very eyes. But even if it were retold, without a video, you would still say "wow." Don't let the fear of emotion drive you from telling a compelling story.
- It was surprising. First, that a coach risks possibly losing a game by letting Mitchell, a developmentally disabled boy, suit up and play. Then, a boy on the opposing side purposely throws the ball to Mitchell (I'm choking up already) so that he can have his moment. And finally, to make the story all the sweeter, Mitchell makes a basket. The Gospels are full of stories with unexpected twists and turns. Where is the surprise in your story?
Secular author and blogger, Seth Godin says, "Your goal should not (must not) be to create a story that is quick, involves no risks and is without controversy. Boredom will not help you grow."
This, of course, does not mean that you need to have a story told in church every week that causes people to blubber uncontrollably. But, an authentic emotional, spiritual connection and experience can be inspirational and move you to be a better person and perhaps, be even more generous. Just remember the inbound pass.
PS: Some of my most spiritually and emotionally transforming experiences were during Catholic masses. So, congratulations and Godspeed to Pope Francis I!
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.