All tagged Narrative

In Medias Res

We are characters in a story, we are not the author. We are placed in the plot and given roles. We enter stage right or stage left and are called upon to recite our lines and act.

C.S. Lewis on "Unrealistic" Stories

We value “realistic” stories over “fairy-tales.” The problem is that these realistic stories are all too often void of true beauty and imagination yet blatantly promote some “social or ethical or religious or anti-religious ‘comment on life.’” This is one of the main avenues that we have been deceived as a culture. We have sought to avoid deception through the very means that deception is most likely to come: “realistic” literature.

Whose Story is It?

Christians and Jews of the first-century did not view their religion as a formless set of beliefs. Rather, to believe in the God of Abraham meant to place oneself at a certain point in God's story.

Fourfold Worldview

The worldview that a culture holds is one that is expressed through narrative and/or story. These stories, in one way or another, are answering the theology questions about “who are we, where are we, what is wrong, and what is the solution?”. The way grid through which these stories are expressed is through certain symbols (a flag, an institution, a holiday, a rite of passage). Finally, all of these things imply (and are formed by) a certain way of living in the world, a praxis.

Listening to Other Stories

The world is no longer majestic and mysterious. Rather, everything can be known scientifically. All things can be boiled down to left or right. Perhaps what we really need is a return to story; a return to Narnia/Middle Earth/Hogwarts. We need to have our stories subverted by the Gospel so that we can see that their is more to God's world than what we see through the microscope of our man-made philosophies.

Stories: An Invitation to a New World

We inescapably tell stories because we are fitting events into a particular view of the world (worldview). When a certain event takes place which would break down a particular view of the world stories are told about that event in order to invite its hearers in to this new understanding of the world.

Subversive Stories

Rather than coming straight on in an open attack of the religious authorities, Jesus "hides the wisdom of the serpent behind the innocence of the dove" in his parables. Christians should look to do likewise. Yet doing likewise would require a level of understanding and imagination that many Christians have no ability to employ. Thus, we are often left with either sterile or frilly methods of discourse with our opposites. The sterile method of discourse are unaffective and the frilly ones (if not laughable) often affect a kind of powder puff convert.

Stories: How We Perceive the World

When we learn to read the Bible as God’s story of redemption then we can actually begin to see plot lines extending beyond the pages of scripture and into the very worlds we inhabit. In doing so we allow the rich and beautiful complexity of the Bible pervade our lives rather than forcing the sterility of our modern minds onto the Bible.

The Bloody Marriage of Military & Sport

Sports, the movies, the mall, the news cycle, etc. all serve in a liturgical manner; they all shape us and form us in certain ways simply by our exposure to them. When Smith speaks of “liturgies” he’s talking about cultural rituals that tend to shape us in ways that we aren’t necessarily aware of. In other words, liturgies don’t ask for permission to shape the way we think and feel about certain things, they just do it.

N.T. Wright & the Centrality of "Story"

Wisdom incarnate (Jesus), spoke in parables and hid the things of the kingdom of God from the wise and revealed them to innocent babes (Luke 10). Again, as the apostles went out into the kingdom of Rome armed with the story of the Gospel their ultimate aim was a subversive one. Everywhere they went they started a riot because of the story they were telling: "Jesus is Lord, not Ceasar." & "You are now citizens of Heaven, not Rome." To us these often serve as empty words on the pages of an ancient text. In the first century these words were telling the story of a conflicting narrative to the story so many inhabited. Moreover, these words were telling the story of the emergence of a new world (the world of the New Adam) and the decaying of an old one (the world of the Old Adam).

When you think about the fact that bats are blind and use sonar to navigate the night skies looking for bugs; or the fact that caterpillars hang from tomato plants in your back yard for a few weeks in order to turn in to butterflies; or the fact that the ring I gave my wife when I asked her to marry me was at one point a lump of black coal; these all seem like stories you could tell a kid before they go to sleep at night. Wilson gets at the fact that they are all stories; God's stories for us.

While truth in the form of theology & philosophy is very helpful it is stories that ultimately grab us! In fact it is stories that grab us first as children before we even have the capacity to understand theological treatises. Christians should not shy away from stories but instead embrace them and learn to tell them better!