“It was a story, and stories got to him. A story was the reason he had become a priest, and a story was why he’d not yet walked off the job.”
— from LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
I am enthralled by stories. I like to know the stories of what brought people to their current place and circumstances in life. I’m interested in the stories of what things mean to people, and why. I appreciate stories that teach me things, or help me see things from a new perspective. I welcome stories that give me a window into someone else’s experience of the world. I enjoy listening to stories. I am glad to read absorbing and well-crafted stories.
The story of Jesus is the foundational story for those of us who are his followers. Louise Erdrich is right: once the Jesus story takes up residence in us, it becomes the compelling principle and the guiding force of our lives. She is also right that other stories can also touch our lives and make us wiser, more compassionate people. Erdrich’s book LaRose, which is the story of several individuals who bore that name over the course of generations, and most especially the story of a young boy whose family life is shaped by an abrupt and shocking tragedy, invites readers into new angles of engagement with the Christian story. That’s one among many good reasons to read the book and join in a discussion with friends at Rolling Hills UMC.
Erdrich has been publishing novels, poetry, short stories, and children’s books since 1984. Her work focuses on the interface between indigenous tribes and more recent immigrants living in communities of the plains and prairies of North America. Spiritual themes are integral to her writing. Her books have won prizes and, in at least one case, influenced public policy. She is committed to honoring the stories of her people, as well as to making sure everyone has access to a diversity of stories. She is not only a writer, but also the owner of an independent bookstore in Minneapolis. For more than 30 years I have eagerly awaited and read each of her novels; I look forward to talking this one over with other readers!
All readers are welcome to our book discussion, which will take place on Wednesday, November 16th, at
7:00 p.m. in the choir room.
May this season of thanksgiving bring new depth and fullness to all of our stories,