This is the final instalment of a theme called #changethestory, a series of spoken word pieces from members of Cypher Church. This piece was written by me, one of the pastors of Cypher Church. The purpose of this series was to spark something intentional in the activity of our church, something beyond statements of disbelief around growing evil and racism in our world. We want to compel activity, we want actions, we want our church shaping our city to better....

I want to tell you a story
One you probably already know.
Bits and pieces about the here and now.

This story is one you can see, touch, hear and feel–
or at least you should.
I’ll tell you how I feel and what I see….

Firstly,

I am infuriated.

For a story that has a Charlottesville,
of white supremacy finding new boldness,
and racist evil generating renewed hate.

I am in disbelief.

That we have stories of Blacklivesmatter and Idlenomore,
vs.
“those very fine people”.
of take-a-knee cries that make others see,
systems, powers, and principalities stealing lives
and now stories too.
“You can’t take a knee! That’s not what patriots do.”

I see stories with new power
using the voice of a weak leader.
I feel the beating evil.

I am afraid.

About stories of terrorism from the world beyond
to right here: Edmonton strikes too close to home.
Afraid of the way we deal with the pain,
“Ship those people out!”
You know the ones, the outsiders, the refugees,
those dark-toned brown, Somalis.

When will it stop?

Stories of expulsion of one shade of brown,
then all the way down,
till nearly on cue, they reach for me too.

But most of all I’m heartbroken.

About the pain in the neighbourhood, city, country, and beyond.
Broken by the loss of life,
50 and 500 in the Las Vegas lights.

I’m mad.

Because we’re too callous to see straight,
it’s the next largest mass shooting we await
Mad we we don’t do more.
Shouldn’t we do more?
Something?
Anything?!

Wouldn’t you agree?

Even if that meant it all starts with me?

I believe we have a role in this play,
It’s our time now to,
#CHANGETHESTORY
Change the story.
Stories start with me,

Change the story around my own insecurities,
when I choose the people I’m around who
look like me, think like me, act like me.

Change the story of my own disbelief,
that my dreams and ideas can’t bring change
in my neighbourhood or nation.

Change the story around the guise of comfort and security.
I need a new story
one that’s not just me,
rather a new calling from “me” to “we”.

Change the story for unity found in diversity.

I think about the “we”.
What can the church do beyond mere Sunday morning statements?
How can “we” change the story and walk at the forefront
as we confront what tears us apart–evil.

The evil in our cities, our neighbourhoods, our Facebook streams,
the evil I cling to that beats inside me.

What if you stretch for a different story with your crew?
Accept one another, just as I accept you?

What if our story was God’s story?
Accept one another, just as I accept you?
God’s story, with Jesus in the middle.
A story so real it’s both here today,
and dream for tomorrow.

A story that calls you, calls “we”, to

Change the story for hope. Discovery your purpose and calling, and grant the outsider invitation to belong.

Change the story for beauty. Repair and beautify the brokenness in the city; seek out the brokenhearted and restore.

Change the story for justice. Right the wrongs in your midst, join, fight, call out oppression and replace with goodness.

Most of all, change the story about love. Pursue a love that knows no bounds, that chases all the way to the end–where no one else will go–and takes one step more.

This is God’s story–God’s love for you.
It’s time to change the story.