What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

When I worked at a library, I quickly became a Spoiled Book Brat: if I saw something interesting, I filled out an order form at the Reference Desk, and almost everything was approved for purchase. PLUS I’d be the first to get to read it: score!

Having relinquished my keys and Dynix login, I have had to adjust to life without my book privileges. For a while I was quite dismayed by the selection at my local library: the new books were seriously lacking, and the old books were . . . well, old. But then I became an Online Hold Junkie: by logging into the cooperative library district, I could request books from around the area, all while sitting in my pajamas or rocking my infant son to sleep in his bouncy chair. Now I wait until I have a stack of holds (which doesn’t take long to add up, both bookwise and taking-up-space-on-the-hold-shelfwise, especially when you put the Gourmet Cookbook on hold and don’t realize that it’s a breezy 1040 pages. I just wanted to see if it had pretty pictures), let Judah loose in the kids section right next to the Circ desk, whip out my card, throw books into the bag, and flee before I become “that woman with all the holds” who brought in “that kid who jumps on stacks of voter booklets in the corner” again (I know what Circ/Youth Desk folks say).
Every once in a while the public library system doesn’t have what I’m looking for; in those times, I exercise my alumni rights and frequent my university’s library. Again, yay for online searches, because believe me, they don’t have a Children’s Department next to the Circ Desk. Recently I received a lovely email notifying me that Stories of Emergence: From Absolute to Authentic came in. I thought it’d be another EC book, probably a compliation of folks who all know each other and are all chummy chummy in the Inner EC Sanctum (not that I’ve seen the Sanctum: I think it’s a bit like Shangri La, only in Minnesota :)). But it’s not: each chapter is written by a different author focusing on an aspect of some sort of “emergence” in their life – in ministry, world view, etc. The importance of sharing personal journeys (i.e. testimonies in Quaker terms) seems to becoming emphasized again: these folks put their money where their mouths are.

As you read these stories you will find a safe place to doubt and question your faith and be the real you. Follow the stories of these “formers” who were steeped in their beliefs–a former fundamentalist, Pentecostal, liberal, feminist, communist, and several others–and walk with them on their journeys. See what twists and turns arise before them, and find out what they learned (about faith, themselves, their beliefs, the world) as they emerged on the other side.

The first section of stories are regarding ministry, and they really struck home. It reminded me of elements of my journey that I shared during my Yearly Meeting workshop, and I’m thinking it may be time to share again. I’m not sure what form it will take. And I’m also mindful of appropriate sharing. Sharing on the World Wide Web can be intimate but also boundary-building: there certain elements that can be lacking – accountibility, caution, a common vocabulary, correct communication. Initially the same could be said for a book or any reading material, but blogging can be very immediate and reactive rather than thoughtful and intentional: it takes discipline to be balanced.

Where do you share your story? Or do you share at all? Do you feel like you have a venue, opportunities to bless others with your experiences? Sometimes it can be hard in suburbia, with our lack of pubs (which, my husband always reminds me, started off as public rooms with alcohol served rather than just a bar). I wonder where we can create space to share and be together. . .

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