15 April 2020
“Everybody has a story – so let’s tell it!”
In March 2020 Laidlaw College hosted Rev Dr Paul Beasley-Murray, well-known British Baptist minister with an international reputation as a preacher, author, and blogger. While at Laidlaw to teach a post-graduate course on vocational leadership within the church, he also gave a public lecture, “Everybody has a story – so let’s tell it!”.
Regretting that he knew so little of his own grandfathers’ lives, Paul determined to tell his story for his grandchildren. His autobiography, This is My Story: A Story of Life, Faith and Ministry (Wipf & Stock, 2018) developed in the telling and became not just a story of life, but also of faith, of leadership development and of ministry in God’s church.
Paul argued that writing an autobiography is not a form of narcissism, but rather a sign of our humanity – quoting scholars who suggest that humans are first and foremost a story-telling species (homo narrans) rather than a reasoning species (home sapiens).
He began his lecture by outlining the layers to his story and then moved to giving some excerpts from his life journey. He concluded by encouraging his audience to tell their own story and, in particular, to write ‘a spiritual obituary’, telling of the difference God has made to their lives - whether that turns into a book or is written down on a few pieces of paper. He noted the exhortation of the Psalmist in Psalm 78:4-6 to tell the story of God’s faithfulness to the next generation.
Paul spoke with enthusiasm and conviction that everybody has a story – so please tell it!