It was a great honor to be invited to give the Dillard series of lectures at Trinity United Methodist Church this year. Wow, what a turn-out! and what wonderfully warm, hospitable, and thoughtful folks I met there, people deeply invested in the pursuit of understanding, committed as much to the humbling business of query and investigation as to a rich faith.
My part was a small one — to deliver four lectures on the general topic “The Power of Story and the Greatest Ever Told.” By way of beginning and end, I offered this wee meditation:
“Once upon a time before time, in a land before place, One became lonely. Bored and lonely. Out of the messy ether of that not-place everywhere the One began to make things up. Lo and behold! those things were indeed made. From what the One said came water and earth and every living being that swarms and swims and giggles and howls. And off the creatures went, being and doing in their ways, just as the One had said they would. And that was a kind of happiness. It was good. Still, the One felt something was missing, some creative and ordering other, some one else to care for this green and dark-light, romping, writhing, riotous world. The One grew self-reflective. The One contemplated a not-navel. Finally, “I Am,” the One said, “a story-maker.” And from that “I Am” human beings of all kinds came to be. And so it was that the stories of God became the stories of people who became their stories. So it was. In the beginning. So it has been, and so it is now. So may it be forever and ever. Amen.”