We live in a complex and complicated age. The call to live faithfully in the midst of a continually changing landscape can be difficult and disorienting. There are three guiding narratives that help aim our lives toward faithful living in God’s kingdom. These orienting stories weave together to both make sense of our surrounding circumstances and give us a path towards a future that is anchored in active hope.
“I can only answer the question, ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?” – Alasdair MacIntyre
The first story is God’s grand narrative that unfolds throughout the Bible. This story explains our origins, invites our participation, and aims our hope. Fellows will drink richly from God’s Word and learn more deeply how it fits together as one cohesive story.
“Heaven and earth are assumed to be detached… having nothing to do with each other. But in the Bible heaven and earth are made for each other.”
~ N.T. Wright ~
The second narrative is the story of our individual lives. We have each been uniquely created with our own set of talents and weaknesses, accomplishments and failures, hopes and fears, circumstances and backstories. Our stories are composed by One who designs us to bear his image, reflect his glory, and bless our neighbors. Fellows will spend time learning to decipher and develop their gifts and skills, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of their own stories.
“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”
~ Saint Augustine ~
The third narrative is that of place. Each neighborhood, town, and city has its own particular story of pain and beauty, despair and flourishing. To live faithfully we have to be grounded and aware of our place. Fellows will learn to see how each particular place grows out of its history and informs a faithful Christ like presence.
“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”
~ Wendell Berry ~
While the three orienting stories ground our lives and aim us in a Kingdom direction, formation gives us the character and endurance for the journey. God doesn’t just desire to merely ‘use’ us, but to transform us into the image of his Son. Fellows will invest deeply in these ancient and enduring spiritual practices of prayer, study, meditation, contemplation, and sabbath.
“Jesus is a teacher who doesn’t just inform our intellect but forms our very loves. He isn’t content to simply deposit new ideas into your mind; he is after nothing less than your wants, your loves, your longings. – James K.A. Smith
Oriented to the larger story and formed deeply through spiritual practices, Fellows begin to respond to God’s call. This call (or ‘vocation’) invites us to join Jesus – the ruling and reigning King - as He brings reconciliation to a broken and needy world. He is making all things new and his kingdom ushers in a cosmic hope as far as the curse is found. This leads fellows into the world as they engage their community and culture through work, service, hospitality, and incarnation.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner