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Stories come true

Stories come true

Let me muse on this odd phenomenon.

We are in the neighborhood of Waco, TX, called The Silos.  Say that to any given man and he’d probably shrug.  But many women would immediately understand its connection to the popular home repair show, Fixer Upper, and its brand, Magnolia, created by Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Fans of the show make a pilgrimage here.  And before you label me a sexist for assuming this is predominantly a woman thing, look around here today. Males are the accessories.

I’m doing my own sitting sessions.  (Next to two guys who have been waiting longer than me!) This down time is perfect for considering why people come here -- and why we need to connect to narratives.

First, some are drawn here by Joanna’s sense of design.  Even for a guy whose decorating scheme might be described as Distracted Indifference, there is an appealing calmness to her simplicity of shapes and colors.  But one can get that from her show and books.  There’s no need to trek across the hot plains of Texas to see it.

The deeper need is to touch a story.  We know a television design show is “real.”  These are actual people who inhabit our physical world.  But on a deep level, it still exists on a non-corroborated plane, like a friend who swears his tale is true.

Standing here, seeing the physical reality of The Silos, we prove to ourselves that this particular story is true.  And we make a deeper connection to the main characters.

The New Testament writers were persistent in being a touchstone to the story of Jesus.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.   1 John 1:1

For those who couldn’t stand in the presence of an earthly Christ, the apostles could convincingly say, “But I did!”  And with that authoritative connection to the narrative, they could invite listeners to “taste and see” Jesus for themselves.

There is a church at The Silos.  The Gaines renovated it on one of their episodes and moved it, piece by piece, to this location.  I enter it and sit down, enjoying the cool quiet of the sanctuary.  I notice, however, that there is no focal point to the altar area.  Nothing to direct one to Jesus.

This reminds me that we all have a desire to touch the story of our Creator, to prove to ourselves that he is real.  But too often, that story we aim to verify is of our own imagining.  It’s a narrative in which a loving God simply overlooks our “mistakes.”

The cross is the anchor of the gospel in the reality of a sinful humanity.  If we want the “story” of God to be true, we must see what our sin means to him.  He doesn’t just excuse it.  He paid a high price to forgive it.

And it is only through the cross that we experience his peace – a sense of wholeness, of beauty, of design.  Where the reality of God intersects our needy souls.

Lord, we come too often seeking confirmation of our own stories.  Reveal yourself in all your fullness to us, that we can truly be a part of your narrative.

Reader: When or where have you tried to connect to a story?  Tell me about it.

And happy 8/18, everyone!

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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