Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Story is a Sense Making Device (Faith)

I was indulging in a few minutes of google reader browsing earlier today and came across Eva's post about an Anne Lamott book and then Raych's comment about how Donald Miller is storebought bread to Anne Lamott's homemade or something.

I've only read Blue Like Jazz though I do own a few other books written by Donald Miller. But he did write my favorite blog post of the year and I do want to read his newest book at some point.

This post he wrote, How the Stories You Believe are Screwing with Your Mind...I loved because I agree so much. I loved it because it's been years since I've heard someone articulate so clearly what I believe. And sometimes when you believe something, something that rests purely on faith it's nice to hear someone else voice it as well. It helps you feel less crazy, it reminds you that this life journey is shared. Sometimes Christians can be so eager to tell you how you're getting it wrong--that's not unique to Christianity, of course, that's just human. And there are so many voices with strong opinions and experiences. We hear these different things and while I hope you know that I am open to learning and change, I also like to find those rare common souls who see a tiny patch of this life the same way I do.

My favorite part is when he says we were created to enjoy the company of God because that is a perfectly loving thing to do. I so completely agree with this....I've never bought into the idea that we were created to keep God company or even to only bring Him glory, but rather that out of pure love God created us so that we could know Him. I really do think He's that awesome. I don't think He's codependent and needing us. I think He's perfect, pure love.

But I also love these bits:

The best definition for story I’ve ever heard is that it is a sense-making device, that is, it explains what the motivations and reasons for all human elements actually are. If the stories we tell and believe are not true, then, it is as though we are navigating a landscape with a map in which things are falsely labeled. We are looking for a lake where there is no lake, and a road where there is no road.

It’s a crime that Christian Theology is now understood as a list of principles rather than the elements of a story. After all, in Scripture, the theology is presented in an epic narrative. A story is essentially this: A Character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

Amen!!!! Anyway, it's been a long time since I've posted anything like this, and I actually starred this post to share in a link round-up but haven't had time. When I came across Eva's post it reminded me that I wanted to share this...also Eva's newfound interest in Christianity inspires me a little. I gave her some author recommendations of my own but I think they are quite a bit different from Anne Lamott and Donald Miller.



Dan said...

Interesting thoughts. Thanks so much for posting them. I'm very much in agreement with you. I have a few fuzzy thoughts floating around my head.

Theology is very important, and I think you and Donald Miller agree. But our Theology should proceed from the story-Genesis through Revelation. Theology is important because it helps us extrapolate from the story and bring the truth of the story into our lives. Nevertheless, its the story that is transformative.

Sometimes I think that the relationship between God, Adam and Eve, before the disobedient acts, gives us a better understanding of what our ideal relationship with God should be like. It appears that they occasionally just hung out together.

Just the same, I don't think that we can or should try to put many boundaries on what God's purposes for redemption are, beyond Love. And then we probably need to leave "Love" pretty much wide open to whatever it entails.

I think it was in Martin Buber's book "I and Thou" that he talks about how putting measures and definitions on our relationships can be crippling to them. (It's been more than 30 years since I read it, so there's a great likelihood I'm wrong.) Anyway, so sure Worship, sure hanging out together, sure a lot of things, but a lot more, too, for sure.

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