Today I had a conversation with our October 30th guest preacher and speaker, Mark Yaconelli. Full disclosure, Mark wrote an endorsement for my book. We share the same publisher, which is how I found out about him and his recently published Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us. Anne Lamott describes it as “an owner’s manual for the soul,” and I whole heartedly agree.
I’m someone who does lots of underlining, circling, highlighting and star-drawing when I read. My copy of Mark’s book is littered with all of these, along with many annotations written in the margins. An example of a few lines with such mark-ups:
What motivates a person to share their story? Why not stay quiet? There are many reasons. To speak the unspoken truth. To feel the grace of one’s own life. To extract sorrow. To hear laughter. To no longer feel alone in the knotted mystery of life.
Mark is not only a master storyteller. He is a self-proclaimed “storycatcher.” He helps listen people’s lives into meaning. He’s so good at it that he created an entire nonprofit, The Hearth, around it. When Mark organizes a storytelling event, 400 people in his small Oregon town show up. Volunteers set up tables and chairs, bring baked goods, and work the front door and concessions. A local winery donates wine, musicians play for free, and all money collected goes to a designated nonprofit and beneficiary of the evening.
Mark has something pretty spectacular in store for us on Sunday, October 30 — not only his sermon but also the workshop he’ll lead after church. While we might not have 400 people (although feel free to invite friends!), I’m sure we’ll be just as grateful and moved as if we were at The Hearth. The art and craft of storytelling is like blowing on the embers of a fire — even more so in church community. So please join us! You will feel warmed, renewed, and home.