Parables and Your Spiritual Life
Lots of people try to play God in this world, but what if you could play Spirit in your own spiritual journey? In John 14:26 ff, Jesus promises that God will send the Holy Spirit to guide us in the Christian life. If you want to be true to the best person God has made you to be, you have to pay attention to the spiritual dimensions of life. The challenge is to pay attention to the spiritual side of our lives and allow it to help shape the physical side of our life. If you were to imagine the Spirit speaking to you about your life, what would the spirit be saying? Think of your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, your desires and fears.
LET THE SPIRIT SPEAK
Don’t overthink this. Just take a few minutes and write down five questions or statements that you think the Spirit might have for you. In previous blogs, I have been exploring various ways that you can make use of fiction in the ministry. Now I want to invite you to use fiction to explore and move forward in your spiritual life. To enable you to step beyond the self-imposed boundaries of your life, let it be clear that what you are about to do is fiction. And allow yourself to have fun and not be tied to your present reality.
We have usually identified two or no more than three characters in our short stories. In this spiritual journey, let us name the spiritual character either Sam or Samantha Spirit. You choose, though there may be some value in choosing a contrasting gender for your story. The second person can again be of either gender. Provide him or her a name—Bob or Barbara.
I’m assuming for this experiment that you either are part of the ministry of a church or denomination, but if not you are at least interested in what it means to be shaped by God’s spirit. Since Sam(mantha) will speak to you in the form of another human, take a few moments to write a two or three sentence biography. Include age, size, personality characteristics, and tone of voice. Then compose a two or three sentence biography of Bob (Barbara). While that person might look different than you, provide them some of your own personality traits.
CHOOSING YOUR ISSUES
Now we touch your own personal reality. Look back at the five questions or statements that you think the Spirit might address in your life. Choose one or two of them to shape the context for your characters. For example, if you suggested that the Spirit might want to speak to you about your temper in times of disagreement or your fragile ego when you hear negative comments about your work, then compose a scene where such a situation and those issues might be present.
VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE SPIRIT
There are two ways you can proceed. Either Sam(antha) can be a visible person that is part of your scene, or s/he can be an invisible presence that only you can see who whispers in our ear from time to time. (I suggested that you weren’t to be restricted by reality.)
My example will be a church setting and Sam(mantha) will be an invisible presence to everyone but you. You can adapt that to fit your circumstance. The setting is a private meeting with a self-selected group who are critiquing your ministry and the fact that the church has lost some members to a megachurch in the city. You also have been frustrated and began questioning your ministry.
Don’t overthink the scene before you start writing the dialogue that will take place. Try to picture the setting in which this exchange will take place. Is it a church office, someone’s home, a restaurant, or some other place? Briefly describe the furniture, whether there is food and/or drink present, and whether it is in a public setting or not.
For the sake of fun, let’s give the critics some fun names and a brief description. For example, one could be Charlie the controller, another Prissy Penelope, and a third might be Peter Pacifier. Describe them each with no more than a couple of sentences.
LET THE DIALOGUE BEGIN
OK, assume everyone has arrived at the location the meeting. Charles will begin speaking first. Sam(mantha) is always near Bob (Barbara). Sometimes she speaks and sometimes she just makes faces or gestures to communicate.
Begin writing the dialogue as you imagine it. Occasionally interrupt the words with descriptions of the gestures, facial expressions, and movement of the participants. Above all, HAVE FUN. And let me know how it comes out.