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The Seven Stories: Part Two
The Seven Stories: Part Two

The Seven Stories: Part Two: Weekly Summary

Saturday, February 10, 2024

If we’re honest, culture forms us much more than the gospel. It seems we have kept the basic storyline of human history in place rather than allow the gospel to reframe and redirect the story. —Richard Rohr

If we simply give ourselves over to this narrative, to the storyline of “Uns and Nots” … then we abdicate the one thing that can reposition our relationship to the entire experience of our life: responsibility. —angel Kyodo williams

Whether it’s bigger sofas or bigger houses or bigger jobs or bigger bank accounts or reputation or ego or a bigger empire, we don’t have to look too far to find the accumulation story at work. The more you think you need to accumulate, the bigger fence you need to build around yourself and the fewer people you will trust and let into your life. —Gareth Higgins

Jesus doesn’t give up on his story, but to the very end, he lives this Seventh Story. In the resurrection stories, he doesn’t come back saying, “Okay, enough of that love story. I’m going to come back a second time to get revenge on all those people.” The story of the resurrection is, “Let’s keep this story going.” Jesus lives and dies by a story of love, and the protagonist of the story is love. —Brian McLaren

I’m seeing people waking up, being in relationship, grieving and raging and marching together, reimagining their own area of public life, their own sphere of influence in ways that I never imagined possible before. In those acts, in those moments and those gatherings around fierce love, I feel like I see glimpses of the nation, the world, that is wanting to be born. —Valarie Kaur

The Trinity has tremendous practical, pastoral, and political implications. We don’t have time for anything less than loving! Fear will never build a “new creation” (Galatians 6:15); threat is an entirely bankrupt and false storyline. —Richard Rohr

Week Six Practice

Living by Our Values

Randy Woodley points to the values that have been essential to Indigenous wisdom:

Why would human beings promote systems, structures, ideologies, and lifestyles that work against their own survival?

Good air quality is also a medicine. So is clean water. And healthy soil. Even a stress-free life is known to prolong people’s lives. It seems to me that people in the Western world are working against their own self-interest—against their own healing—and against their own grandchildren’s well-being. What will it take to change?

The only way I see such a destructive lifestyle changing is if people begin adopting different values and then living out these values. Our Indigenous ancestors figured this out—by trial and error and through necessity—so many years ago. These are the ancient values … that help us reconnect to sacred Earth.

  • Respect: Respect everyone. Everyone and everything is sacred.
  • Harmony: Seek harmony and cooperation with people and nature.
  • Friendship: Increase the number and depth of your close friends and family.
  • Humor: Laugh at yourself; we are merely human.
  • Equality: Everyone expresses their voice in decisions.
  • Authenticity: Speak from your heart.
  • History: Learn from the past. Live presently by looking back.
  • Balance work and rest: Work hard, but rest well.
  • Generosity: Share what you have with others.
  • Accountability: We are all interconnected. We are all related.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. But if we nurture these values in our lives, we will become more rooted in the community of creation. Begin working your way down the list and incorporating these Indigenous values into your own life. Search for songs, ceremonies, and stories from your own ancestry. Look for friends who align with these values. Then commit to immersing yourself in a new way of living….

Remind yourself that you are part of the community of creation. Choose one or two of the values on the list and try to embody them today.

Randy Woodley, Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2022), 241–242.

Image credit: Joel and Jasmin Førestbird, Untitled (detail), 2018, photograph, public domain. Click here to enlarge image.

Stories are layered like the rings of a tree.

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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.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.