Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Choose Your Own Adventure

May 4th, 2017 · No Comments · Faith and the City

In the late ’70s, my mother gave me a book entitled The Cave of Time. Turning to the first page, I found something unique and thrilling. The book placed readers at the center of the story. YOU, it explained, are exploring Snake Canyon. YOU discover the mysterious, dimly lit Cave of Time.

Gradually you can make out two passageways. One curves downward to the right; the other leads upward to the left. It occurs to you that the one leading down may go into the past and the one leading up may go to the future. Which way will you choose?

If you take the left branch, turn to page 20. If you take the right branch, turn to page 61. If you walk back outside the cave, turn to page 21.

Take the right hand fork and you could end up sitting on a train talking with Abraham Lincoln. Take the left hand fork and you might find yourself captive on an alien spaceship.

The Cave of Time was the first in the very popular series of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Their attraction was clear: In these books, readers got to make decisions that affected the story. Your choices took you to far off lands, and led to encounters with fascinating people and creatures.

Eventually, after turning pages back and forth, your adventure concluded with the ominous words,The End. Many (OK, most) of the book’s conclusions were grim. I was variously disintegrated by a ray gun, bitten by a poisonous viper, and eaten by monkeys.The End.

Of course, it wasn’t really over. I would go back, make different decisions, turn to different pages, find more adventure and keep seeking the best possible outcome before coming to The End.

The books were exciting. They also taught me something about the consequences of my choices.

Choices matter. Although, honestly, sometimes I felt like I had made a good choice and still ended up getting eaten by monkeys. This, too, was an important life lesson.

Yet, in one critical way (and I’m not talking about ray guns), these books did not mirror life. In life, when we finally do get to The End, we don’t have the option of turning back the pages and re-making our choices.

Our story is our story. Still, there’s more to be said.

As people of faith we confess that our story (our choices, our adventure) is wrapped up in God’s story. This week we are going to explore what this means. On Sunday you will be asked to consider: What sort of story are you in? What role are you playing in this story? And who is best situated to tell your story?

I hope to see YOU there!

–SBJ

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