The 3 Central Questions of The Story Workshop
The questions God asks Adam, Cain, and Hagar—the earliest questions recorded in the Bible—give us access to what intrigues God. And what intrigues God must form the ground level of our intrigue in the world. The questions arise about our situation, face, and story. Where are you? Why has your countenance fallen? Where are you from and where are you going? These are not merely questions; they are portals to know the heart of God, and consequently the heartbeat of his creation.
Where are you? Why has your countenance fallen? Where are you from and where are you going?
In developing the Story Workshop, what I desired to create was a context where those questions could be addressed through the process of storytelling in a group with a seasoned leader who knows how to read context, face, and the heart of the one telling the story. I have found few people know the impact of their core stories of tragedy or how those stories shape their life. We are all enacting those stories of early loss, heartache, and shame without realizing their impact or considering their implication. Once we begin to face our heartache and see the implications of our flight from God in the midst of our tragedy, then the reality of how God has pursued and wooed us to shalom is a taste we can’t resist. I want people to be in awe and grateful of how God weaves our story into his own and our story into the lives of others.
My biggest thrill is when someone is able to say: “I just discovered something about myself that I didn’t know that I knew.” The Father of truth has been whispering, perhaps even shouting to us all along. We are far more broken than we can confess and far more beautiful than we can embrace. We often hover in the middle attempting to escape the extremity of our existence—yet both our capacity for darkness and our hunger for the light give depth and complexity to our existence. Again and again, we hear participants tell us that The Story Workshop invites people to come home to stories that brought them significant pain, but on a richer entry actually brings them home to the Father whose heart is full of joy and delight in their return either from the back fields or far away lands.
The Story Workshop invites people to come home to stories that brought them significant pain, but on a richer entry actually brings them home to the Father whose heart is full of joy and delight in their return either from the back fields or far away lands.
If my life and work is known for any one thing, I hope it is the surprising inversion that comes when we discover that death and resurrection must be held closely and intimately together. We are called to laugh with those who laugh and to weep with those who weep—that is, we are to have the capacity to hold sorrow and joy together. We should never be far from tears or laughter and it is that surprising complexity that announces the life of Jesus more than words or merely a set of beliefs.
If the resurrection is true, then we who believe Jesus was truly raised from the dead to walk, talk, and eat again with a body that did not hide his scars ought to be able to bless our wounds that reveal his death and invite others to touch and see the possibility of his resurrection. The Story Workshop has been our most successful offering simply because it offers others a taste of what it might mean to bless death and resurrection in their story and a vision of what it may mean to offer that goodness to others.