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Center for Action and Contemplation
The Seven Stories: Part One
The Seven Stories: Part One

The Seven Stories: Part One: Weekly Summary

Saturday, February 3, 2024

When we believe in a deep way that life is good, God is good, and humanity is good, we do exciting and imaginative things because we are confident that we are part of a storyline that is going somewhere good.
—Richard Rohr

In the Seventh Story, the story of reconciliation, we still get to win, just not at anybody else’s expense. In the Seventh Story, human beings are not the protagonists of the world. Love is.
—Gareth Higgins and Brian McLaren

In Genesis, the nature of God in the first creation story is not God dominating and forcing the world into a certain mold. It is “Let there be light.” It’s a permission-giving power.
—Brian McLaren

Unless a restorative consciousness is engaged, revolutions run the risk of merely turning the tables, replacing one set of broken relationships with yet more domination, perhaps a slightly less oppressive form of domination, but domination nonetheless.
—Gareth Higgins

All the people that Jesus hangs out with and eats with are people who are being scapegoated, people who are being used for somebody else’s purification narrative.  These are the people that Jesus humanizes.
—Brian McLaren

Instead of withdrawing from the world, whether as individuals or groups or nations, we are called to be fully immersed in the places we are. Our contemplative practices are always ways of being more alive in the world and more active for the common good.
—Gareth Higgins

Week Five Practice

Peace and Light

Brian McLaren and Carmen Acevedo Butcher offered this meditation at the end of the CAC online gathering Stories That Wound, Stories That Heal as a way of encouraging listeners to live by the Seventh Story.

McLaren: I’d like to invite you to take a couple of deep breaths, get comfortable sitting or standing where you are, and let your body come to rest for a moment. Imagine this Seventh Story as a tiny point of light. The story comes through your ears or you see it lived out in someone’s life. It enters who you are. The story of peace, whose hero is love. It’s a story of justice and equity and safety and joy. Imagine that story as a little point of light that comes to rest in the center of your being. Then imagine that little point of light becoming a pool of light and a spring or a fountain of light. Just for the next few moments, picture that point of light growing within you.

Butcher: Imagine yourself becoming full of that light. Now imagine that light filling you and that light shining out through you. Imagine now that this light coming out from you touches those around you, those in your family, your neighbors, others in your neighborhood, those in your workplace, those in your faith community, and all others you meet. Imagine that this light embraces them and also that it fills them.

McLaren: We all know that there are many other stories at work in the world, stories that are wounding people, stories that maybe wounded each of us. Let’s realize that we can be tempted to respond to those stories that wound in a way that continues that [wounding] story. For a few moments, let’s hold in our heart a prayer, a request, a plea for help, that our lives would not be sucked into the stories that wound, but that we would live on a steady course of a story that heals.

McLaren: May I live in the story of peace, whose hero is love. May that story live in me.

Butcher: May the story of God’s peace bring healing to us and to the world.

McLaren: And may the story of God’s love bring healing to us and to the world. Amen.

Adapted from Brian McLaren, Carmen Acevedo Butcher, and Mike Petrow, Stories That Heal, Stories That Wound, Center for Action and Contemplation, September 28, 2023, online gathering. Recording unavailable.

Image credit and inspiration:  Thays Orrico, Untitled (detail), Brazil, 2020, photograph, public domain. Click here to enlarge image.

We keep the candles lit together throughout the joys and pains of human life.

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Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
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