Apricots, Underwear, and Scenes of Reconciliation

Back in January, Donald Miller wrote a blog post in which he explained that living a good story means envisioning climactic scenes in your life—reaching the top of Mt. Hood, renewing wedding vows, crossing a finish line, sharing a meal, meeting your sponsored child.

“Once you have that climactic scene in mind, you’ll know the scenes it takes to get there,” he said. “Write down what that climactic scene looks like, smells like and feels like. It will get in your brain and like good protagonist in a great movie, you’ll wake every day knowing what you are supposed to do with your time.” 

I think about this whenever my pastor urges our little group of Christ-followers to ask ourselves, “What does reconciliation look like? Because that’s what we want The Mission to look like.”

What does reconciliation look like? 

What does it smell like? 

What does it sound like? 

What does it taste like? 

What does it feel like? 

Reconciliation is such an abstract, theologically-loaded term that we forget it is ultimately a story, complete with characters, conflict, and climactic scenes. But this week I caught a few glimpses of reconciliation-in-action that inspired me to envision more climactic scenes in my life. 

For Kristin (Halfway to Normal”), reconciliation meant feasting with strangers on fresh apricots and Madagascar chocolate. 

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(Photo by Kristin Tennant)

Writes Kristin, “There we sat at one very long table, facing one another. People in their 20s and in their 60s. Pastors and medical students, farmers and professional violists, mediation specialists and chocolate makers. A friend visiting the Midwest from San Francisco, and a dad holding a baby. Passing the roasted potatoes and finding out about each other. Refilling one another’s wine and water glasses and laughing together… Learning things we didn’t know before from people we didn’t know before.”

For Nathan (“It Seems to Me...”), it meant apologizing to the gay community for the way they have been treated by Christians and hugging a man in his underwear at Chicago’s gay pride parade.

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(Photo by Michelle at maladjustedmedia.com)

Writes Nathan: “He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, 'thank you.' Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs...This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified." 

For Jamie (“The Worst Missionary”), it meant allowing her personal space to be violated by a Somali refugee

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(Photo by craiglea123)

Writes Jamie, “We walked six blocks like that. Six agonizing blocks, and she never said one word to me. Not one. We just walked along, sweating all over each other, and I do mean ALL over each other. We were touching, nearly from armpit to ankle, touching and walking…I learned, that day, that meeting with God can be painfully intimate business. But when I allow it, when I wrestle through it no matter how long it takes and no matter how uncomfortable I get, and when I hang on looong enough, in the end, God can* humble me, and He may*even bless me. And then, one of these days, I might* get to link arms with a stranger, and hold on to them as they fight it out, too.”

So, what does reconciliation look like in your life, in your community, and around the world? What climactic scenes have you experienced  or envisioned?

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Can 'The Office' go on without Michael Scott?

I was so bummed to learn that Steve Carell will be leaving ‘The Office’ after Season Seven.  Dan and I don’t watch a lot of TV, but the Thursday night lineup on NBC is something we look forward to every week. (Our favorite is '30 Rock.')

Can the show go on without its main character?

The only way I see it continuing as a hit is if Ricky Gervais resurrects his role from the original British version of the show and becomes the new regional manager at Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

What do you think?

What's your favorite TV comedy? Got any favorite Michael Scott lines?

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That's a good question...

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Perhaps the most significant life lesson I’ve learned in my young adulthood is that knowing all the answers isn’t as important as asking good questions. So every now and then I like to use Fridays to 1) link to other bloggers and writers who have asked compelling questions during the week and 2) open the floor for you to share whatever questions you’ve been wrestling with lately.

Today I’d like to feature bloggers who have asked me some interesting, funny, and bizarre questions over the course of past week:

  • From Marshall Jones Jr.—Why do you think questions are more important than answers, especially with Bible verses that specifically tell us to be ready with an answer? (Read my response here.)
  • From Nicole Unice—What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing at night? (Read my response here.)
  • From Big Mama— Do you feel as though your questions led to a change in your politics or were your political leanings a precursor to your questioning? (Read my response here)
  • From Jason Boyett—Who are the three most significant monkeys and/or apes in popular culture? (Read my response here.)

Feel free to use the comment section to take a stab at some of these yourself!

In addition to interviews, several reviews of Evolving in Monkey Town have appeared on the blogosphere this week. What makes me most happy about these reviews is the wide variety of perspectives from which they come. Follow the links and you will hear from…

a scientist
a book blogger

a conservative Catholic mom

a “bleeding heart liberal”

a college professor (and one of my favorite bloggers!)

a skeptic

a well-known former pastor and church-planter

a “writer, editor, dreamer and book lover”

an advocate for women recovering from religious patriarchal abuse

a book lover and Twitter friend

an editor for Reasons to Believe
a women’s fiction writer

***

So, what questions are you asking this week—on your blog, at your dinner table, in your head, in your heart? (And who do you think are the three most significant monkeys and/or apes in popular culture?) Feel free to take the opportunity to pimp your blog and include some links!

(Photo by DorkyMum)

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Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.