Peace, travel, listening, and “good story”

a story-worthy picture in Venice

“This same Good Story that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.”Colossians 1:6

The Good Word!

Well, that was fun!

Friday evening, Rebekah and I presented a “travelogue” for one of the fellowship groups at WFPC; it was a great reminder of how diverse, how gregarious, and how busy this congregation is.

Overall, we’re a young demographic. However, because we’re a large church (for Presbyterians), we have enough “mature” members to generate a fun and regular get-together. They call themselves the J-O-Y Group: Just-Older-Youth.

We were invited to show slides and talk about our recent visit to Italy.

IMG_8351JUST SAY NO to BORING! Rebekah and I have shared enough PowerPoint presentations, and given enough talks between us, that we have learned how to show vacation slides without succumbing to either the 5-deadly-t’s or the 3-fatal m’s:

  • tedious, tiresome, trite, tame, and tangential;
  • meandering, monotonous, and mundane.

We both had a microphone, we each had an outline featuring key interesting facts, and we passed the ball back and forth with just enough light repartee to keep ourselves on our toes.

Sometimes two sentences would cover a 15-second burst of 8-10 slides, then one photograph might stay up for as long as eight-ten seconds, featuring a longer explanation.

We showed 450 slides in around 40 minutes, then had ten minutes of “Q&A” at the end.

On the AdriaticSTORY: Some photographs, such as the vistas from the fortress at San Marino (below), were overwhelmingly beautiful. Others, featuring such moments as the family at the Adriatic Sea (right); Rebekah sipping a cappuccino at the Central Train Station in Naples; both of us sipping cappuccino in Venice; Rebekah deep in conversation with an Italian on the street in Ravenna… were “story-shots,” presenting a wide open door for more narrative.

And story – as most of us know well – is the best vehicle available when it comes to engaging theological reflection right in the middle of wherever we happen to be.

LISTENING: After the presentation, in conversation with Carson Brisson (a Bible professor at Union Presbyterian Seminary), we found ourselves talking about the “listening” component to travel. Listening is what puts us in the place where we can receive God’s good word.

In “Rebekah-Derek-Theology“, the term is “Staying Awake.”

It’s difficult to offer any kind of a story that means much unless you first listen. Then a story isn’t really a story until it is told – and it’s not properly told until it has been heard, and in some way received. Essentially, this means that listening has to exist – wakeful listening – at both ends of the equation.

Like I often say, I can’t stand in front of people and share without learning so much more myself.

Peace, and “Good Story…” – DEREK

San Marino


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