The gospel is a story, and we don’t really understand it without some awareness of the conventions of narrative and storytelling. Telling the stories of Jesus feeding the five thousand, his arrest and his resurrection, with intention and care as storytellers is ministry, is evangelism. It’s my favorite.
And yet I’m becoming aware of story’s limitations, too, the primary one being that we can hide behind the classification of “story” to stop short of asserting what the gospel asserts. I’ve recently begun to sense a serious gap, for example, between the claims “The gospel is that God raised Jesus from the dead” and “The gospel is the story of God raising Jesus from the dead.” The first asserts that a thing is actually true and must be reckoned with, while the second qualifies the assertion as a narrative, which is true in the way that stories are true and must be reckoned with as one reckons with a story, namely on a literary rather than a personal level.
What I’m after is a personal grasp of the gospel as true and critical for my life, for our life, that is powered by an appropriation of its drama, conflict, and . . . surprise ending–more narrative than propositional, more personal than empirical.
One thought on “Story”
I’ll be contemplating this, Rocky. My first thought is that “the story of how God did it” (whatever the topic) might be a help. Using “how” is a type of story, but it already accepts you know “whodunnit” (from the mis-named genre of books called mysteries). In the news, watch after something happens, and the next story is “How did this happen?”