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  • Storied Church

A little less disappointing

written by Kiah Gaskin

“One of the reasons people avoid community is because other people are disappointing.”

So much of my heart is in Kate Bowler’s interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber. She's a straight shooter who names the things everyone else is afraid to say.

I’m going to be honest. My excitement around coming up with a name for our church was met with much anxiety. If we called the church “Storied Church”, I was probably going to have to at some point share my story.

I’d rather small talk the logistics of the name: the UMC said we needed one and we liked “story” but went with “Storied” because there was already a “Story Church” in Rancho Cucamonga California (of course).

I’d rather theologize the meaning of the name: God entering into our human story, we the Church bringing our burdened selves to each-other, and Christ making unbroken our places of suffering and pain.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’m just hiding behind all that small talk and theology.

It’s a really hard thing to tell the truth about ourselves. It’s awkward, it takes practice, and it’s likely at some point to be- my biggest fear- disappointing.

But I’m learning that my need for community is often times confrontational- it provides for me what I can’t provide for myself. I’m holding on to the hope that there is light underneath the stigma, shame, and disappointment.

Nadia goes on to say, “by being in community, we take turns being the ones who are disappointing. And then, forgive each other and move on. Maybe it’s that guy’s turn to be disappointing, but next week it’ll be me. It’s that culture of turn-taking when it comes to being the ones who need grace, or who are giving grace, or who remind each other that grace is a thing.”

So if you’re like me and would rather run from this story telling experiment- it’s OK.

If you’re like me and have been hurt by church- church people, the institutional Church, or just the every-day indignities of our dishonoring “Christian” culture- it’s OK.

If I have any prayer for Storied Church it is that we would have gentleness, patience, and openness toward one another. I pray that by walking in new friendship, God would grow us in wisdom to love ourselves and each other in ways that are ultimately, a little less disappointing.


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