Once and Still

Back in March of 2015, God shook our world a bit with an unexpected closed door. Then He tugged at our elbows with a small, persistent whisper to do something that scares (and excites) us both.

Several months of discussion and research and classes and learning and praying and journaling and lists and lots and lots and lots of coffee and late, late nights, and now. . .

Welcome to Once and Still!  This blog is home to future posts, photographs, and artwork exploring many different stories--from literature, movies, history, mythology, and much more--and what they say about who God is and what it means to be a human being. Once and Still is all about viewing the world--and our stories-- through the lens of the Greater Story God is telling. We also intend to be a sort of community, where anyone can come and discuss and share and question as we all do in trying to figure out our own stories. 

This new journey we are embarking on was born out of many years of talking and thinking about stories, about God, and about things we've seen, heard, and felt that have left deep marks on us without being easily understood.  We've discovered some things through that process:

     1.  We are fascinated by stories.

     2.  We are fascinated by God, His creative power, and His creation.

     3.  Very few people spend time thinking or talking about these things.

Because of the first two--our fascination with stories and with God's creativity--we want to spend as much time as possible talking about stories and God.  Because of the third thing--few people focus on this--we've realized that we need to come up with a new term to define this thing we want to talk about.  Otherwise, we'll just keep yelling, "There IT is!  Isn't IT amazing?!" like we've been doing for years, and no one else will know what we are talking about.

So we're calling this focus the" theology of stories."  To explain what we mean, allow us to sound like a dictionary for a moment:

     The word theology simply means the study of God.  By stories we mean the stories God has told us in the Bible, and also the stories we tell each other, whether they be in literature, poetry, film, history, or art.  By the theology of stories we mean learning about who God is and who we are through the study of stories.

     The concept is pretty simple at its core.  Any time anyone creates anything, they leave their marks on that thing.  A painter leaves brushstrokes.  A carpenter leaves the marks of his tools.  A potter leaves his fingerprints on the clay.  Those marks and fingerprints tell you something about who made the thing, and what they are like. 

The same is true of God, the original Creator of everything--His fingerprints are all over everything He made, and we, His creations, cannot help but reflect Him in some way when we create: the beauty of our art reflects the beauty of His creation, and the stories we tell reflect the stories He has told us and, especially, the Great Story He has been telling since the beginning and is still telling today.

So, just as you learn about a painter by studying his paintings, we can learn about God by studying stories.  That is what we want to do, and that is what the "theology of stories" means to us.

What we're not here to do:

     We are not here to talk about the following:

          Doctrinal disagreements

          Denominational disagreements


     While all of those things are important and worth talking about, this isn't the place, and we do not feel especially called to address those issues unless they are connected to the theology of stories in some small way.  We're not here for arguments. We're here for conversations about God, creation, and stories. If that's what you're looking for, then this is the place for you, and we're so glad you're here.


A bit about who we are:

We are Gracie and Ethan Klumpp.  We've been best friends since the age of nine, and have a shared passion for adventure and stories.  We love talking about the books we've read and the movies we've watched.  We love exploring the great outdoors.  We enjoy rainstorms, coffee, road trips, reading, writing, drawing, and eating huge amounts of ice cream.  We have no children of our own, as yet, but we often find that kids make more sense to us than adults--probably because they also spend all their time thinking in stories.

Gracie is a freelance artist and illustrator with a background in animation.  Her favorite stories right now include Perelandra by C. S. Lewis and Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, but she loves so many that having to choose any as her absolute favorite right now was exhausting.

Ethan is a third grade teacher during the day.  He studied history and education in college and is learning to be a photographer.  His favorite stories at the moment include The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien (no, not The Lord of the Rings), Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl, and many stories from Norse mythology--which he has the great pleasure of teaching to his students.

Now you know who we are and what we care about. If any of this resonates with you, or you're just curious, or even if you think we're crazy, we'd love to have you join us on this adventure. Here are some ways you can become a part of Once and Still:

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