The Story of Us All

telling a storyWe all have our own story.  It’s told through our life’s events and our own perception of those events.  For some of us life has seemed more like a tragedy, while others would say their life has been comedy.  How does God fit into your story?  Does God fit into your story?  What is your narrative?

SMP 102 – The Master Narrative

This was the topic of our second class, The Master Narrative.  We looked our lives and Christianity as a narrative.  This framed the Christian faith in a different way than perhaps we’ve viewed it from Bible studies and confirmation class.  Instead of theology being a list of facts and Bible verses, it was God’s story of His creation and the redemption of that creation.

The Biblical Master Narrative:

The Bible has two primary stories.  The first is the story of Creation.  God created the world and man-kind.  All of creation was then corrupted as sin entered the world through man, but God is now bringing about the restoration of His creation through the work of His Son on the cross and His return.  When Christ returns the old will pass away and there will be a new heaven and new earth.  We will have glorious bodies and with no sickness and death and lion will lay down with the lamb.

The Redemption of Man-kind:
The second story is the story of man’s redemption.  We were created good, without sin, and in a perfect relationship with God.  But then sin entered the world through the fall and man-kind was corrupted and separated from God.  God, however, works through history, first with his chosen people of Israel, through whom Jesus came and offered His life as a sacrifice to redeem man-kind.  Now, He continues to work through the Church to call people to Himself until the day Jesus returns.

The Narratives of the World:
The world also has its master narratives.  This is not just other religious beliefs, but all the various belief systems by which people live (life is about happiness, life is about gaining stuff, life is about…)  We are all faced with these narratives everyday.  Through ads, TV programs, discussions with friends, and many other ways we come in contact with these narratives and are faced with a decision of what to believe.

“My” Narrative
In recent history, however, due in part by the proliferation of information from radio, TV, and the Internet, we have moved into a new way of viewing our master narrative, what is sometimes referred to as post-modernism.   Previously, most people took on one particular master narrative by which they viewed their life.  Today, it’s common for people to have several master narratives all at the same time.  People often pick and choose which elements of various master narratives they want to accept and sometimes even having conflicting narrative ideas that they apply to different situations.  And so we have the question I started with, “How does God fit into your story?”

Not How God Fits Into Our Narrative…How We Fit Into His Narrative:How God fits into your story or narrative isn’t how the Bible describes our relationship with God, though.  Rather, what we see in the Scriptures is how we fit into God’s narrative of redemption and restoration.  It is God who started the story and God who will finish it.  It is God’s gracious work on the cross that brings us into that story.

The Church and the Master Narrative:The above was the basic premise of the class.  Around this premise we discussed how cultural narratives have influenced the church in various ways over the centuries.  We also talked about how these narratives and the post-modern relativism effects how pastors minister to people.  One of the points that impacted me the most was how often times how someone reacts to a message has nothing to do with the message itself, but rather whether they are being asked to break with their deeply held master narrative.  It can be very hard for us to change our worldview and that is often what the Bible forces us to do.

Image by John K.

Share Your Thoughts:

  • What are some of the narratives you encounter in your life?
  • How do you see yourself in God’s narrative?
  • Have you ever thought about the Bible as a narrative?

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