No one ever accused me of being a writer. But I have told a story or two in my day.
Today I ran across an article on the web about a speech actor Kevin Spacey recently gave at a media conference in Edinburgh. The subject was the emergence of a new paradigm in movie and television programming.
Exciting stuff, I know. But in the video excerpt from his speech, something Kevin said ignited a spark inside of me. He was discussing his Netflix show “House of Cards” and how it was pitched to all the usual networks, but were only interested if Spacey and the other creators of the show produced a pilot (basically a glorified demo episode).
“It wasn’t out of arrogance that David Fincher and Beau Willimon and I were not interested in having to audition the idea, it was that we wanted to start to tell a story that would take a long time to tell. We were creating a sophisticated, multi-layered story with complex characters who would reveal themselves over time, and relationships that would need space to play out.”
Enter Netflix, who gave them the green light to go straight to series, no pilot episode required. Not only that, they released all 13 episodes at once. The show has been a huge success, and Kevin gives the reason for it. This is what got me excited.
“It’s just story. And the audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for them. They’re rooting for us to give the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs, and god knows what else about it. Engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. And all we have to do is give it to them.”
Story. There’s that word again.
I couldn’t help but think of The Story, and my place in it. Not all of us are writers, or even story tellers. But we all have a story. I know I have one, but it likely needs a parental warning label.
I have been told on more than one occasion that I have ‘the spirit of David.’ While intended as a compliment, I’m afraid I have more in common with Dave than our love of a good blues tune.
For every story of heroism, there is a tale of a fall. There’s greatness to be found in the shepherd who would be king, but look what else you find:
Arrogance. Lust. Adultery. Murder. Betrayal. Vengeance. And that’s all before Act Two…
His is a story of prophesy of kingship, of the defeat of giants, and the writing of songs that are still sung to this day. And it’s a tale of woe, of choices made and dire consequences stretched over generations. Messy doesn’t even begin to describe it!
But it’s a great story! And it’s been told over and over and over. It lasts like all the great stories do because of the inherent truth contained within. It’s complex and multilayered and sophisticated, and has an arc that eventually reveals Christ.
So what about my story?
If you knew it in full, I’m convinced there are those of you who would be shocked. Some of you might even be offended. You see, I’ve made choices with consequences that have an arc of decades. And all this occurred after I came to Christ (heresy, I’m sure)! Even now there are times in my life where it feels like I’m balancing on razor’s edge. God has been faithful time and again…but this story is still being written. It’s way complex with more layers than an onion, and the outcome is sometimes less than certain.
My need for extreme grace is no less now than ever before.
But isn’t that the very essence of the good news? That our lives have been messy, and continue to be even after receiving the free gift of Grace?
Yet there are some who would ask us to produce a pilot. Rewrite the story so we can get it past the censors. This will be running in prime time, so let’s not get too dark…
Are we so far removed from our lostness that we can’t remember the taste of despair? The stink of hopeless desperation? The entire reason we came to the realization of our need for redemption? Are we ready and willing to tell our stories, as messy and redemptive as they may be?
Mine is a story of being lost and found and falling and failing and trusting and following. It’s messy and dark and full of passion, with the intimacy of a Grace both unexpected and undeserved.
But the gift was given. And while the story is still complex, and I’m not sure how the arc plays out, I do know how it ends.
And it’s high time this story was told…