Author Bret Lott brings light to Arts Week Chapel
We all have a longing in our hearts to know who we are, to know where we fit and to know that we matter. This is the message bestselling author, Bret Lott, brought to Charleston Southern’s first Arts Week Chapel to a packed house.
We learn why story matters from John 8:12, Lott says, where Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
To illustrate, Lott quoted C.L. Lewis in Out of the Silent Planet: “We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by it, so that for us light is on the edge – the last thing we know before things become too swift for us.”
“I believe this edge of light … which allows us to know, which allows us to see, is the essential essence of story,” said Lott. “It is only through the reflected light of story we are able to see our existence.”
Through genre, the form our story takes, Lott said we find what we are looking for. “People return to a genre because they hope to find what they have glimpsed before, compelled by that glimpse of light to glimpse it again,” he said.
Lott said as believers we know that glimpse of light is Christ. “Christ is that light by which we can see our lives fully and in truth,” he said. “The story of Christ allows us to know our own story, to put ourselves into God’s proper context. And so allows us to see ourselves as created beings of the Creator God Himself. We understand finally who we are.”
Although he said he was embarrassed to share a secret, to emphasize his point Lott shared that he and his son’s wife regularly watch “Finding Bigfoot” on the Animal Planet.
Why? Because as humans we want to believe in myth, in story, said Lott.
Quoting C.S. Lewis, Lewis said the story of Christ is simply a true myth. “The only true myth down through the ages is Jesus Christ,” said Lott.
Lott said, “I ask you, not, what is your story, but who is your story? Is it you, the mythic genre of self … or is it Christ, the true myth of light who lights the world and can illuminate you and make you a beacon on a hill pointing toward that far off country giving direction to people who live in darkness and want to know which way to turn?”
Because he said Chapel always has to have a point – Lott brought the session to a close by getting personal with the question: who is your story?
Susan Olansky, writing for World magazine, calls Lott “one of the few evangelical Christians in recent decades… who have had success as serious writers.” Lott is a professor at the College of Charleston and a New York Times bestselling author whose book, Jewel, was an Oprah Book Club pick. The author of 13 books, Lott’s most recent book is Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, on Being a Christian.