The headline of this post is true for all of us, actually, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Someone wants to hear your story.
But the point of this post is a bit more specific with regard to the someone and the you here.
The someone in this case is Margot Starbuck, who’s an insightful writer (author of, among other things: Unsqueezed and The Girl in the Orange Dress).
And the you may or may not be you, in particular.
Bruce Reyes-Chow points us to Starbuck’s “Special Sinners Project,” in which she wants to hear the stories of people who’ve been judged, condemned, rejected, hurt or otherwise mistreated by Christians. Yes, she’s working on a book. Starbuck thinks that Christians need to hear these stories, to come to terms with them, and to …
Actually, it’s probably better if I let her explain it:
If the church has ever judged you to be a special sort of “sinner,” I want to hear from you.
The church really needs to hear your story and there’s no way we can know this stuff without hearing your voice. (And I do understand that sharing yourself with an anonymous stranger who wants to listen probably either strikes you as horribly wrong or potentially lifegiving.) If this weird thing has got your name on it, please email your three quickie answers to the questions, below, to: SinnersSpeak (at) gmail.com
1. Because of a behavior others decided was “sinful,” were you treated poorly by Christians? How?
2. Who loved you well? How?
3.Was there an unexpected someone who loved you well? How?
Though I’m clearly looking for ideas to build up the church, our correspondence is entirely confidential. So your bright idea might one day find voice in my writing, but never your identity. Fair?
This is a delicate, tricky thing. There’s no getting around the awkward, unpleasant presumptuousness of asking people who have been hurt by Christians to share their stories in order to help Christians — even when the point is to teach Christians to stop hurting people the way they hurt you.
It’s a bit like encountering someone hurtful from your past and finding out that they’ve arrived at the Ninth Step. Their deep need to make amends may be suddenly in conflict with your deep need to never, ever, ever see them again. If that’s how Starbuck’s search for stories sounds to you, then please ignore it.
But if “this weird thing has got your name on it,” then someone wants to hear your story.