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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Narrative.



Beth Moore said something wonderful in the Esther study last week.  In the midst of an in-depth read of Esther, she points out,
"The remainder of our lesson underscores a fact about biblical narrative.  God often makes the story line flow uninterrupted- even by interjections of moral judgements.  Please read that statement again until you really hear it.  God doesn't interrupt, for example, through much of the patriarchal narratives in Genesis.  I sometimes want God to push hold on a story line and boldly state His opinion concerning what just happened.
 I want God to stop and have an in-print fit about Jacob not only having two wives but also sleeping with their maidservants.  I knew God didn't sanction the action but still graced the servants' sons with His loving-kindness by accepting them as legitimate heirs.  Still, I wanted to stomp my feet until I got a divine statement- if not for me, for those who were new to Bible study...
...All scripture is God-breathed, but different parts- such as the Law, the Prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles- have different primary purposes.  Only together are they complete."
I think about this all the time.  God gave a large portion of the Word to narrative.  To story.  Jesus commonly taught in parables.  Not bullet points.

There must be something to this.

Our story matters.  And living the story, and the journey of discernment through it, is essential. 

We were not created to be spoon-fed information.  The complexity of our minds, this earth, human life is too beautiful and great for that.

There is truth and there is fiction.  In the safe, complete strength of ultimate truth, we have freedom to live, to fail, to think, to discover, to see the story from all it's facets- rather than judging quickly.

There is narrative everywhere.  It's in art, music, science, nature, literature, people.

I know sometimes we want to stop the story and snap a judgement at the first glance.  To slam the book shut, to shut the person out, to leave the art without fully discovering it's complexity, if we at first feel some aversion to it.

But there might be something important that we're missing, and we shouldn't be afraid to live a lifestyle of discernment, rather than one ruled by black and white lists someone once told us we should follow.  Living that way feels safer.  It's an illusion.

I think more often than we take advantage of, God wants us to hear it out, wrestle with it, and see it in light of the whole.

2 comments:

Sarah in the Middle said...

Thanks Megan - very good to hear.
This last 3-4 years for me has been a journey from "black and white lists" (the way a big part of me would rather live!!), into the scary world of discernment and discipleship.
It's frustrating to me how often God (when you're in a framework of truth, as you said), seems to sit back and let us struggle it out. To explore and make mistakes and take a wrong turn.
Bullet points would be so much "safer". And yet it's true that "human life is too beautiful and great for that."
Thanks for putting it so well!

Megan O. said...

You write so well. I'm sure I'll be thinking over this for awhile....