About Brent R. Baker
“Jesus told stories. Because they work.”
Those words resonate deeply with me. Because even in real life, I make stories out of even the most trivial events. Ask anyone who hangs out with me, and they can tell you that I can’t help it. No matter where I am, life is a collection of stories strung together into a narrative that we often can’t see until it’s well in the rear view mirror.
I spent 20 years in journalism, much of it as a sports reporter. Games (or matches or meets) made up seasons; seasons formed careers. No event stood alone and when I could I provided that context. A shot that won a basketball game might also have won a district championship; it might also have provided redemption for a kid who’d had a tough year, or a measure of solace for a team who’d lost a teammate to tragedy.
Non-sports stories also demanded that context. The most rewarding of those were the interviews I did with military veterans. Each story unique to its time, its own context and the person telling it. Lives redirected and reshaped in ways that the storyteller never anticipated and continued to live with.
The overarching theme from all of that escaped me until recently: most of us don’t see very far beyond our own story. We can if we choose to engage another’s story, but generally as humans we don’t do that unless it resonates with us. If the person is the same race, political persuasion, social status, religious denomination, we listen. If not, we argue – if not in fact, then internally.
Jesus was brilliant in his use of story. He disarmed the powerful, frustrated the intellectuals, and yet their earthiness resonated with the wounded, desperate and self-destructive. Most of these stories were parables. Short vignettes of events that may or may not have happened in fact, but that revealed deeper truth. If, of course, one was inclined to look for it.
If humans were created in the image of God, then one thing we were created to be is … creators! If God created the universe with words, then our words carry the power of creation as well.
That random thought you had about your spouse’s weight? Spoken aloud it created a new reality in your relationship. It might have been a small act of “creation” (and quite possibly your last one). We all have the power of creation. How we use it, that’s the trick.
Story is an act of creation that is deeper than what we usually think of as “creative.” Even fictional tales involve the creation of their own unique universes that exist only in the mind of their creator until they shared. In science fiction parlance, “alternate universes” with differences both subtle and profound await their stories being told. It’s a wondrous truth that emanates from the core of who we are as flesh-and-blood creatures that house these souls that are at the same time fragile and indestructible.
Story is exploration in worlds we can’t get to on our own.
Story seeks truth that sometimes we can’t see from inside our own lives.
Story encourages us to ask What If.
It’s a journey of the mind and heart that can help us understand the journey that is life.
It’s an act of creation that I’ve been called in to. Come along for the ride!
Grew up in: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Washington (state)
Education: Seattle Pacific University, B.A. in English
Work History: Journalism and Photography. Also along the way … Church administrator, optical technician; auto parts quality control; dishwasher; sandwich and doughnut-maker; and two ill-fated days as a vacuum cleaner salesman.
Awards: About 40 Michigan Press Association and Washington Press Association awards for writing, photography, layout, publication quality. The best ones were the team awards for top sports sections and newspapers.
Books – Fiction
Books – Nonfiction
Musicians / Bands
Hobbies / Pastimes