What If Story?

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God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> AdventureWhat if story, not propositions, is the cause of our actions? What if story, not propositions, gives us our worldview? What if story, not propositions, is at the root of the way we function as human beings? What if we changed our story from one of cultural consumerism, as an example, to God’s EPIC Adventure, which provides another view of the world? Wouldn’t it follow that we would change how we would relate to the world around us? What if story is the medium through which we develop our hopes and dreams, our joy and anger, our self-expression and fears?

Stories cause us to have emotions (joy, peace, love, fear, etc.). Stories bring ideas to us. We see ourselves in the characters presented in stories. Stories explode our curiosity. Stories are about sending and receiving. Stories include a conversation that goes both ways by providing interaction. It appears that we could all benefit from the effect of story.

As long as story captures our interest we have an almost infinite capacity to hear and repeat it. In today’s economy, those who market and advertise know the power of story. It seems that story is one of the most powerful and effective tools that we have at our disposal to convey information with which we may engage people. An audience may be immersed in the story that provides them with the information that they need to take an action.

Once while teaching an Old Testament Survey class at the church level, I told the story of Genesis 1.1-2.4a. I provided the background for the writing and then placed the story of Genesis 1 into that background. The background of the story is in the life of Israel, living at the foot of Sinai, being prepared to go to the land promised to their forefathers. They had made a covenant with God in which the first stipulation was that Yahweh was the only God they could worship. The story of Genesis 1 is about God as creator set against all the other formidable gods of the ancient world. In each successive period of creation, two gods were dethroned and Yahweh replaced them. This would have been clear to the Hebrews who were hearing the story. God was serious about being their only God. I ended with a question: “How many gods do we worship today?”

The next time I gathered with those people, one lady brought me a paper that she had handwritten, answering the question. To her surprise, there were other gods being worshiped in her life with which she had to deal. God’s story and the interaction with the Spirit brought a new freedom to this person’s life. She had improvised within the framework of the story and gained new light on the gods that were controlling her life.

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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.)