Stories are Powerful

➡ Average Reading Time: 3 minutes

God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> Adventure
SStories have been around for as long as storytellers have had the ability to engage an audience to get lost in the tale they are spinning. Our imagination plays a great part in the process of listening to a story. When I was a kid, before TV, I listened every Saturday evening to several radio dramas like The Shadow. You could hear the voices, the footsteps, the music, but you had to imagine what the people looked like and what the set looked like as they were playing out this drama. It made for a lively Saturday evening. It seems to me that TV simply spoiled the opportunity to imagine. Watching TV causes us to visually see what someone else imagined and then we take their imagination as reality for the drama being presented. Some believe that storytelling might be the most fundamental way that humans communicate. It just may well be that storytelling is the oldest human communication.

Stories are powerful. Alister McGrath tells a story in his book Christian Spirituality:

Stories are about finding one’s identity, and learning the story of one’s own people. This point was brought home to me particularly clearly back in 1990, when I heard an American professor of literature describe how he discovered the importance of learning one’s story. This professor, who taught at a leading university in Southern California, was a Kiowa (KAI a wa) Indian, a Native American from the Oklahoma region. He told how he learned the story of his people when he was still a young boy. One day, just after dawn, his father woke him, and took him to the home of an elderly squaw. He left him there, promising to return to collect him that afternoon.

All that day, the squaw told this young boy the story of the Kiowa people. She told him of their origins by the Yellowstone River, and how they then migrated southward. She told him of the many hardships they faced—the wars with other Indian nations and the great blizzards of the winter plains. She told him of the glories of the life of the Kiowa nation—of the great buffalo hunts, the taming of wild horses, and the great skill of the braves as riders. Finally, she told him of the coming of the white man. She told him about the humiliation of their once-proud nation at the hands of the white soldiers, who forced them to move south to Kansas, where they faced starvation and poverty. Her story ended as she told him of their final humiliating confinement within a reservation in Oklahoma.

Shortly before dark his father returned to collect him. His words on leaving the home of the squaw remains firmly planted in my mind. “When I left that house, I was Kiowa.” He had learned the story of his people, to which he was heir. He knew what his people had been through. Before he had learned that story, he had been a Kiowa in name only: now he was a Kiowa in reality.[ref]Alister McGrath. Christian Spirituality: An Introduction, 119-120.)[/ref]

Could it be that when a follower of Jesus hears and understands HIStory, he or she will no longer be a Christian in name only, but will be a Christian in reality, one who lives his or her life in community for the sake of the world? HIStory is a captivating Story, one that is bigger than our small “soap operas” that we so often live in day-to-day. The classic definition of a story: a narrative with a beginning, middle, and an ending that follows the main character through his or her struggle(s) to achieve a certain goal.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)