Will You Hear My Story?

Campfire Stories. Will you hear my story?

The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8, New International Version) It seemed to make a difference that Paul and his associates swapped stories and built relationships with the people in Thessalonica. I can imagine the question “Will you hear my story?” being asked and answered many times. For example, I can imagine Paul telling the story of his narrow escape from Damascus by being lowered in a basket through an opening in the wall.

Will you hear my story?

I recall Christian musician Don Francisco singing a song with this lyric in the late 1970’s:

I don’t care if your pastor’s super-powered
And your program’s always new
What you need is love and truth
And men are going to come to you

Quite a few spiritual movements have come and gone in my lifetime. Those that have gone either didn’t have enough love and/or didn’t have enough truth, in my opinion.

Stephen Borgman recently sent me an email with the subject line “25 little-known things about me.” His candor inspired me to reciprocate to him, something I have never done until now. I don’t feel a need to inflict 25 facts upon you, but perhaps one or two from each decade of life might not be so bad.

1. My adoptive father, Frank M. Bass, Jr., (1926-2006) was an academic superstar. The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) named the Frank M. Bass Dissertation Award in his honor, as he chaired the dissertations of 58 Ph.D students in the course of his career.

2. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Capps, has a hallowed place in my memory, for creating a box of projects for me to undertake. One of them was filling in the names of the states from memory on a blank map of the United States. Another one was to keep a log of my telephone conversations.

3. I traveled more as a child than most people. I spent a year in England in 1965-66, and we traveled through Europe, Israel and Turkey in that year. My father told me I sat next to Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon at the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico in 1968. I spent a summer in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 1970, traveling around the world and visiting about 15 different countries during that trip.

4. While I was not on the AV Club and the Glee Club, I was on the Chess team in high school, inspired by the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky world championship match.

5. I spent part of the summer of 1979 in Algeria, as part of a service team with the North Africa Mission, visiting Algiers, Cherchell and Oran.

6. I studied A Course in Miracles from beginning to end in 1986-7

7. I was one the first students of Steps to Knowledge, receiving a hand-bound copy with the steps in Zapf Chancery font, shortly after it was received in the summer of 1989. I had no grasp of the historic nature of this book at the time.

8. I am the only person I know to have gotten married on the stage of the Texas Amphitheatre, in Glen Rose, Texas, after participating in a performance of The Promise.

9. I am one of the thousands of people with an Erdos number of 4, having published a scientific paper with I. Hal Sudborough, who published a paper with Zevi Miller, who published a paper with Frank Harary, who published a paper with Paul Erdos, the Man who Loved Only Numbers.

10. I have blogged in one form or another from 2003 to the present. Some of those blogs have been preserved at the Internet Archive, like Belief Seeking Understanding and Crossword Bebop. Some have not. That might not be a bad thing.

This feels like a good place to stop. On my weaker days, I’m like the character in the U2 song “All I Want Is You.” Bono sings “You say, you want, your story to remain untold.” On my stronger days, I realize there’s no getting around the words of the American poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014) “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you.” Will you hear my story?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

How Long Do I Have To Rehearse?

Nativity Scene, The Promise, Glen Rose, Texas, USA  How long do I have to rehearse?In the 1980’s, I participated in over a dozen different dramatic productions with three different theatre companies, including almost 100 performances of the passion play “The Promise” in Glen Rose, Texas, pictured above. During that time, something in my experience shifted regarding auditions. Before the shift, I believed that the audition was where the casting director decided whether or not I would be in the show. After the shift, I believed that the audition was where I decided whether or not I would be in the show, and having a lot of fun at the audition was my way of deciding that I would be in the show. I realize this sounds a little pompous, but I’m not claiming I didn’t have to do the work of preparation. I’m just saying that this attitude allowed me to approach an audition from a position of greater strength on the inside.

How long do I have to rehearse?

I’m telling you this to tell you that Steps to Knowledge has a certain cleverness which allows it to speak to the conditions of many different people. The cleverness is in using multiple words with similar meanings to describe a particular idea. For example, a seed was sown in Step 33 “I have a mission in my life to fulfill.” It was watered a little later in Step 65, “I have come to work in the world.” It is now being watered again in Step 92, “There is a role for me to play in the world.”

I confess to you that when I studied Step 33, my reaction to the word “mission” contained a certain ambivalence. People whose lives are organized around their mission are sometimes called fanatics or obsessives or just plain nuts. As someone who has successfully sabotaged multiple jobs, I approached the word “work” in Step 65 with a soggy, dampened enthusiasm. But a role for me to play in the world? I screamed “Makeup! Gimme the script–please sing that chorus once more!” on the inside. Maybe on the outside, too.

I believe I am playing my role in the world, while in rehearsal for greater participation. There is a role for me to play in the world. How long do I have to rehearse? A gentle whisper says “Not very long.”

 

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.