My friend and colleague, Brian McLaren, has co-written an important book called "Cory and the Seventh Story." It's a children's book that adults need to read. Most of us know that the stories we tell ourselves shape our understanding of the world. As Brian and his co-author, Gareth Higgins, point out, we have told ourselves six stories as a nation all grounded in a myth of redemptive violence.
The first story is the domination story where "we" rule over "them."
The second story is the revolution story where we take revenge over them.
The third story is the purification story where we, the majority, blame them, the minority, for our struggles and exclude or exterminate them.
The fourth story is the victimization story that justifies our actions through the scale of our pain
The fifth story is the isolation story where we withdraw from society believing in our own righteousness and look for a promised land
The sixth story is the accumulation story which pretends that happiness comes from having stuff and making sure no one can steal my stuff.
The trouble with these stories is that they depend on violence to stay in existence. We continue to believe and act as if the world was designed to bring order from chaos out of force. It is "us" vs. "them."
But we somewhere deep within us, we know this doesn't work. Violence doesn't create peace. Killing does not redeem or cleanse. Hoarding does not guarantee happiness.
There is a better way. A Way of Love. It's a story of Reconciliation and Liberation.
I won't give away the ending. All I ask for today is that you pay attention to the stories that are influencing your life. Becoming aware is the first step to becoming free.
- Rev. Cameron Trimble, author of Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight