Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I went home this weekend and heard my old pastor speak. He talked how our culture is shifting from rigorous and linear Greek-style thinking to a more relational and mosaic postmodern thinking. This new culture is one that appreciates stories much more than we used to.

http://www.ranchocommunity.org/downloads/ His sermon for 11/10 should be posted soon.

I think I agree. I've been corresponding with a Buddhist and this perspective has greatly helped. In general, people no longer want a rational argument so much as a good story. They don't want to think, they want to feel. They don't want doctrines, they want relationships.

Obviously we cannot compromise the integrity of the Gospel, but the things people want now and aren't getting, are the things Jesus focused on. For a long time, perhaps subliminally, I placed an overly high value on rational apologetics. In evangelism, I forgot how Jesus related most of the time with most people.

Jesus has a very different style. He tells ten parables for every straightforward thing He says. The Bible itself has only a tiny little linear section at the end written by one Greek-ey Jew named Paul. The vast majority of the rest is narrative.

Telling stories is a lot easier than making an argument. In retrospect, it seems nonchristians are a lot more willing to hear a story than they are to bear through an argument (there are clearly exceptions, though).

Stories are built into our DNA. We all know a good story and love to hear them. We spend billions of dollars on movies, novels and performing arts. From the Homer to Shakespeare, storytellers have always had a special place in our hearts.

My friend, a screenplay writer, informed me that all movies have the same structure. Aristotle defined the structure a long time ago, and it's just the way stories are told.

I wrote to my friend earlier today about the beautiful sacrifice Abraham (would have) made of his son and I described how great a story it is. I finally realized it: God loves a great story. We are made in His image, and so we love great stories, too. Our love of narrative is in our nature.

So God has written the greatest 5-act play of all.

  • Exposition - Creation and the Fall (Genesis) - God creates Man perfect, but he falls into sin.
  • Rising action - Israel (Old Testament) - God chooses a people to be His, but they fail to live up to His standards again and again
  • Climax - Christ (Gospels) - The Messiah comes, lives, dies and resurrects, defeating death and sin.
  • Falling action - Church Age (Acts and the Epistles) - Those who trust in Jesus live victoriously in life and hope.
  • Dénouement - Armageddon and Eternity (Revelation) - Christ returns to claim His people and judge the sinners.
Here we see another hint of God embedded into our natures. We can know who God is by this cultural universal, this part of ourselves that crosses across all culture. We know God loves good stories.

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