Be Part of Life's Story and Stupid Simple Spirituality

 “We experience life as a story; not a formula,”

-Jacob Armstrong

Hallmark holiday movies…mark another year that I survived them.  I am really impressed with the actors and how they work the roles, but we all know there is a formula.  Our superhero movies have a formula.  Our news articles have a formula.

A good friend reminisced about the 80s recently. This got me thinking…so much of those movies had a formula.  Teenagers, with no jobs but seemingly endless resources (parents/guardians) took on their “world” of high school - fighting the adults/the “man” or bullies - and in the end, they emerge at 18 with a happy-ever-after story.  

Only, that is a formula - and it only gets you to graduation…if you are lucky.  But what about the next 70 years after that?  Hmmmmm…

I’ll be the first to say that while not always easy, I felt the “formula” was fine until I got diagnosed with cancer, then natural disaster, mental illness diagnoses in my family, then would come vision loss, then cancer and death of my wife and the struggles of being an only parent and trying to piece it all back together.  

This has been my story.  No Hollywood screen writer could write this.  There was no formula. It was the premise of my first book: “Life Sucks Seek God.”  It didn’t have a formula.  I just wrote my story - my journey - my faith.  I was SOLD that there was a formula to faith.

It is a lie.  There is no formula to our faith. 

You can go back 2000 years to the story of the early church and Paul’s writings to the Corinthians (2 Cor 11:1-4) where he writes how false teachers had taught the people a false faith about Jesus - a different Jesus entirely.  A formula should have prevented this - but there isn’t a formula.  There is life.  There is faith.  We live it out or we don’t and there is no promise that living by faith sets your path in a formula of happy ever-after, rainbows and unicorn sparkle path.  

What faith does do is give purpose to the story.  It helped me understand that I was, and am, in a story I didn’t know existed at my birth: The God Story.  And God is part of this story, not out of it - this is what Advent reminds us: This God is Immanuel = God with us.

I don’t know how your story will end.  I don’t know how mine will end.  In a moment, this blog will end.  It has followed a formula to this point but typically, there would some great call to action, some formula of guidance to follow…but screw that…

What are you going to do with your story? I don’t buy the idea of some Christians that your whole life is mapped out and you have no choices.  I don’t think many of the Bible folks would agree with that either.  They made a mess of things.  And the early disciples mostly died as martyrs…are any of us following that formua?  We think we are being “persecuted” when people don’t want prayers at football games.  That isn’t persecution - that is opinion.

Love your enemy.  That is the hard stuff.  Do to other people what you want them to do to you.  Give away your stuff and don’t be a hoarder of things. 

God didn’t give us a formula, God dropped us into the story of God.  Start living like it - you are writing your part and be part of the good.  Jesus said it simply: Love God and Love your neighbor. 

Damn.  That is just stupid simple spirituality right there. Go and do likewise.

Photo by & RODNAE Productions:


Becky said...

I just try to pay attention and do what’s in front of me. Most of the time that works, when it doesn’t it’s time for prayer, Reiki and asking what’s next, pay attention! Thanks for always sharing your path and heart. Becky

Ken Hagler, Your Alaskan Realtor said...

Being aware of the need is what I think Jesus was really getting at. It doesn't have to be grandiose plans, cathedrals and/or ministry organizations. Do you and I love the person right in front is what matters. You can do it...or not. You are writing the story!

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