a mobius-like meditation on stories and life

Life is a story. Right?

2013-02-28-Heroesjourney

Perhaps, but a story is not life.

We love personal testimonies. We love when someone tells us the story of their life, all the twists and turns, ups and downs, and final “success” or happy ending. We love the “my life was terrible and then I found God and now I’m happy” stories.

Of course we know those stories are, at least in part, spurious. Never completely trust the autobiographer — even if the ending is not so happy. Not merely because life isn’t so neat, and not only because such stories often arise more from some need to believe in a kind of personal mythology, but also because every story is a reduction of reality to a few key, salient, narrative points. Even if true, those points create a false understanding by themselves.

Life is like a story, and stories can tell us a great deal about life, but life is also an infinitude — mysterious, connected to God, an extension of being itself.

All that I wrote above makes a lot of sense to me, but I have issues with it as well.

We rely on the personal testimonies of eye witnesses for much the the knowledge we get about the world — current and historical. Even our entire system of law requires it.

We trust in the Gospel stories of Christ because of eyewitnesses. They told stories and those stories have to be sufficiently accurate and reliable for us to believe with integrity.

But, then God is an infinitude, mysterious, and the source of being itself. Therefore, stories mediate the impossible to us so that we can believe. Stories, by their nature, hide us in the cleft of the rock as God passes by.

The Gospel is a story, but it is also a person: it is the information about Christ and it is Christ in us. Thus the gospel is simultaneously safe and unsafe.

Thus a story can be life itself.

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Filed under Christian Life, Gospel

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