The Story And The Story About The Story

There is the story, and there is the story about the story.

Yesterday somebody shot at Republican lawmakers near our nation’s capital. That’s a story–a harrowing, upsetting story. Yet you knew it would only take a couple of hours for competing stories to emerge, each one about the story of the shooting yet grounded in its own narrative world of villains and heroes.

The story and the story about the story.

This happens in the Bible too.

Yesterday I spoke with a colleague about a story he’s preaching soon, the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis, in which Hagar, who has born a child for Abram and Sarai, is sent away by Abram at the request of his wife. That’s the story. But there’s another story there that my preacher friend wants to tell, about the stories that have been told about that story over the centuries, even about the story the characters in the story are telling themselves about their story as it’s happening, even–stay with me here–the story about the storyteller.

The story and the story about the story.

It’s good to know which story we’re in.

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