Friday, November 27, 2009

The grand story

So, if we live amongst a story people, communities that are both familiar with and interested in narrative, then how do we best communicate our faith? Which story method is most useful? Can we actually reduce it down to method anymore?

The last question might well be the easiest to answer. In these days of multiple platform digital media, people engage with narrative through video games, TV and film, reality TV, makeover and cooking shows, through the theatre, art and music. And the list goes on. There is probably a genre of entertainment or information that appeals to everyone but not a single genre that appeals to everyone at the same time in the same way. So it's not possible to define a method for sharing the grand story we have to tell in a single model, a one size fits all narrative.

The challenge then is to take the grand story of the God who comes looking for relationship with humanity, the God who loves unconditionally, pursues relentlessly and redeems graciously, and allow it to live within the many genres of narrative that make up our daily lives. In other words our task is not to reduce the gospel down to its propositional elements but to allow it to flourish in its all-of-life pervading glory. We need, to quote Rick Richardson, to be telling stories of transformation more often that we tell stories of conversion.

Telling such stories does not exclude the challenge to change, to repent and believe, but it does put them into a context with which our hearers are likely to be more familiar. Instead of trying to convince them of the veracity of the gospel we expose them to its transforming power.

Is that incarnational, even missional?

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