This summer I have read more books than usual and they have all been memoirs and biographies. My husband is an English teacher and, I must admit, has much more sophisticated literary tastes than my own. He can make an articulate and well-reasoned argument for reading widely in all genres of literature but when it comes down to my summer pleasure reading I just want someone else tell me their story.
I love reading stories of others coming to faith like Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss or Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God. I marvel at the invitation into a profoundly personal story of healing and recovery like Ruth Everheart’s Ruined or Seth Haines’ Coming Clean. I delight in reading about an extraordinary and incredibly unusual life like In the Great Green Room about children’s author Margret Wise Brown. And I especially treasure the opportunity to take a deep dive into the narratives of those who are unlike me like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy or engaged in cross-cultural ministry like D.L Mayfield’s Assimilate or Go Home. (This is not a Restoration endorsement of these books but I personally enjoyed each of them and would love to hear if you have read them or other interesting memoirs).
When it comes right down to it I am nosey and curious but afraid to ask the people I actually know about their lives in non-superficial ways. So I satisfy my curiosity with the stories of strangers. And yet sharing our testimony about our life in God is key to healthy Christian discipleship. Unlike modern over-sharing about our deepest darkest details, testimony is focused on Christ’s work in an through us. I find Paul’s testimony recorded in multiple spots in the New Testament especially moving. Read Acts 26 and see how all the events of his life ultimately point to Jesus and are shaped by the movement of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s story is always ultimately about Jesus’ crucified and glorified.
This Sunday in worship we will hear the testimony of Restoration family members as they tell stories about how they are joining God in the restoration of our city and the our world. I ask that you come and listen carefully as they share. Celebrate together that we are invited into God’s mission. Then go out an share the story of how Jesus is shaping your life and transforming the world too. If you need to someone to practice with, come to me—I love a good story!