Narrative

When I was training to be a pastor, I spent a summer working as a hospital chaplain in a CPE program. CPE stands for Clinical Pastoral Education. It teaches skills for ministry that are used in hospitals and hospice programs, and it provides a learning community where all participants collectively explore the ways their life journeys have shaped them with strengths and growing edges. It is a valuable experience.

During one of our early CPE group sessions, we had an opportunity to tell our life stories and the ways that faith has shaped us. In the midst of telling these stories, one of my cohort members spoke a sentence that intrigued me. I found it to be quite beautiful. As she described a conversion experience, she said, “On that day, I adopted the Christian narrative to myself.” Years later, I do not want to assume all that she meant in that sentence, but I interpreted her words mean that as she received this story, she added her decision to let this Christian narrative mark her life.

I love that sentence:
Today, I adopt the Christian narrative to myself. 

I’m remembering this again because in our current American context, many cultural pockets of “Christianity” claim this religion and tradition but are greatly out of step with the Christian narrative itself.

What does it mean to adopt this Christian narrative toward ourselves? To keep living the story… To keep having the story written upon our lives… to love the neighbors in the story… and to love today’s neighbors? — those who are made to be outsiders, and lepers, and sex workers, and widows, and tax collectors?

Perhaps that narrative needs to be claimed and made alive right now.

Renee Roederer

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