Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Baptist Bard

Perhaps you've heard the word "bard" before. The idea of the bard is that of someone who trades in stories and tales. Somebody who is, in their very essence, a professional (and professing) storyteller. We use stories to share history and the past with others. We use stories to grant context to the present. We use stories to educate others on meaning and intention. And we use stories to place value on things and ideas. Our stories remember our past and form our present within the context of that which we value.

Every story is, ultimately and essentially, a statement of priority and value.

The bard, then, is a merchant and purveyor of values and commitments. A professional storyteller and story-rememberer. The bard, then, becomes a collector and caretaker of the holy relics that are our stories. The bard pulls out his/her own stories, mixes and trades them with the gifts others have given him/her and shares them with others who need a story. We all need to be remembered--we all need to have our stories shared--we all need to continue to hear the stories that have formed and are forming us.

You probably "know" what a Baptist is--good or bad. Ultimately--like any label--"Baptist" or "baptist" doesn't necessarily mean what we think it means or what it might once have meant. I'll wait to differentiate between "Baptist" and "baptist" but for now I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that a Baptist might be defined as "a follower of Jesus Christ--a crucified and resurrected king--who fights tendencies within the Church toward 'ritual empty of story' and 'worship without rememberance.'"

When "Baptist" and "bard" meet we hopefully arrive at a person who knows and appreciates the power of stories, collects them, cherishes them, is formed by them, and offers them freely for any and all.

Hopefully, this place will be a chance for me--a caretaker of stories--to tell stories that matter. After all, it is in our stories that we find the path to discipleship and formation.

1 comment:

eclecticchristian said...

Hi Josh,

Thanks for linking to Eclectic Christian Congratulations on your new position at First Baptist.
I have enjoyed reading your first few stories, and look forward to reading more. Church history is very dear to my heart and you seem to tell the story very well.

Two questions for you:

1. I am fairly new to blogging, so I am interested in what made you decide to link to my blog.

2. How come Danville has so many Baptist churches? I live in a town of 25,000. We have one Baptist church.

I have created a link to you from my blog, and look forward to seeing what you have to write in future.

Mike Bell