One of the things I love about our source text as Christians, the Bible, is that it teaches us not to avoid conflict. And it teaches us that before the fall of man, in Paradise, there was conflict. God wants conflict to be a part of your life.
I think, in the grand epic, Jesus is the hero of our stories. And our stories, as they were, are subplots in a grand epic and our job is not to be the hero of any story. Our job is to be a saint in a story that he is telling.
I used to write when I was in the mood or felt inspired. Anymore, I write whether I feel inspired or not. It's a discipline. So that's definitely different. It's part of maturing as a person and as a professional.
I started 'Storyline' after I'd accomplished all my goals and still wasn't happy. I'd become a 'New York Times' bestselling author, which was my goal from high school, and yet I was less happy after accomplishing my goals than I was before.
I think that's the true litmus test for someone who has become closer to Jesus: their heart is more loving, accepting, childlike, less believing that they have all the answers and more believing in Him.
Life is a story. You and I are telling stories; they may suck, but we are telling stories. And we tell stories about the things that we want. So you go through your bank account, and those are things you have told stories about.
Dwight Eisenhower said that from the beginning, his mother and father operated on an assumption that set the course of his life - that the world could be fixed of its problems if every child understood the necessity of their existence. Eisenhower's parents assumed, and taught their children, that if their children weren't alive, their family couldn't function. (page 34)
People assume when you're swimming in a river you are supposed to know which way you are going, and I guess some of the time that is true, but there are certain currents that are very strong, and it's when we are in those currents we need somebody to come along, pull us out, and guide us in a safer direction. (page 18)
I think that's why so many couples fight, because they want their partners to validate them and affirm them, and if they don't get that, they feel as though they're going to die. And so they lash out. But it's a terrible thing to wake up and realize the person you just finished crucifying wasn't Jesus.
I don't know why it is, exactly, but the people with the healthiest self-esteem, are also the greatest at intimacy. I'm not talking about arrogant people. I'm talking about people who know they are both good and bad yet believe at the deepest level they are really good for people.
When you fly across the country in an airplane the country seems vast; but it isn't vast. It's all connected by roads one can ride a bike down. If you watch the news and there's a tragedy at a house in Kansas, that guy's driveway connects with yours, and you'd be surprised by how few roads it takes to get there.
And through a dark night of the soul, I came to realize that salvation happens through a mysterious, indefinable, relational interaction with Jesus in which we become one with Him. I realized Christian conversion worked more like falling in love than understanding a series of concepts of ideas. This is not to say there are no true ideas, it is only to say there is something else, something beyond.
I am early in my story, but I believe I will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road, walking toward me. Years ago He was a swinging speck in the distance; now He is close enough I can hear His singing. Soon I will see the lines on His face.
I can't do it. It would be like, say, trying to fall in love with somebody, or trying to convince yourself that your favorite food is pancakes. You don't decide those things, they just happen to you. If God is real, He needs to happen to me.
And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.
Before I studied story, I was trying to write a novel, and it was terrible. It wasn't going anywhere, and I couldn't figure out what I was trying to do. It was really hard; much harder than I thought it was going to be. Now that I've studied story, I think I'd have a different approach and maybe I could actually get it done.
I am human because God made me. I experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow Satan. God is reaching out to me to rescue me. I am learning to trust Him, learning to live by His precepts that I might be preserved.
...to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people...That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.
I think we can provide better stories through providing mentors, and certainly part of my story is providing mentors to kids growing up without dads. I think positive male role models go a long way in terms of rescuing kids from a life of trouble.I think positive male role models go a long way in terms of rescuing kids from a life of trouble.
At the time, I didn't know what forgiveness meant. I wouldn't really know what forgiveness meant for another year, until my pastor, Rick McKinley, happened to spell it out in a sermon. He said that when you forgive, you bear the burden somebody has given you without holding them accountable.
I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
...the words alone, lonely, and loneliness are three of the most powerful words in the English language...those words say that we are human; they are like the words hunger and thirst. But they are not words about the body, they are words about the soul.
I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.
All this gave way to my first encounter with guilt, which is still something entirely inscrutable to me, as if aliens were sending transmissions from another planet, telling me there is a right and a wrong in the universe.
And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth's shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man's weak praise should be given God's attention.
I didnt like being reminded about how self-absorbed i was. I wanted to be over this, done with this. I didnt want to live in a broken world or a broken me. I wasnt trying to weasel out of anything. I just wasnt in the mood of being on the earth that night. I get like that sometimes when it rains, or when i see certain sad movies.
I think the best thing a person can do is to read through the Gospels in the Bible and really look at Jesus, because if a person does this, they will realize that the Jesus they learned about in Sunday school or the Jesus they hear jokes about or the skinny, Gandhi Jesus that exists in their imaginations isn't anything like the real Jesus at all.
We believe we will be made whole by our accomplishments, our possessions, or our social status. It's written in the fabric of our DNA that life used to be beautiful and now it isn't, and if only this and only that, it would be beautiful again.
My Sunday school teachers had turned Bible narrative into children's fables. They talked about Noah and the ark because the story had animals in it. They failed to mention that this was when God massacred all of humanity.