For Eugene Peterson, story is the heart of language. He suggests that we need to present the story with some definition added and let the Holy Spirit help the hearer figure the story out without becoming impatient. By “some definition: I understood Peterson to mean “historical setting.” Peterson senses that the biggest fault of those who teach is that they don’t trust their students to really have the capacity to learn. He believes that one needs to understand the context from which the story is being taught and that the reader of the story needs to be aware of the “big picture” of the Story.[ref]Eugene Peterson, “Two Days with Eugene Peterson: A Conversation about Story and Other Topics,” (October 20-22, 2003). This was a personal conversation with Eugene Peterson at his home in Montana.[/ref]
For Peterson, “story is an act of verbal hospitality.” He insists, “We live in a world improvised of story.” Words provide a form of currency used to provide information. To be schooled is primarily to accumulate information.[ref]Eugene H. Peterson, Stories of Jesus. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1999), 7-8[/ref]
Motivational speech runs a close second to the accumulation of information. While both are important, they are impersonal. In them there is no discovery, no relationship, and no personal attentiveness. For it to be personal we need story and storytellers.