Story is everything. It captures. It captivates. Throughout history, story carries knowledge and teaching above any other medium. Story and narrative carries what a bullet point, an outline or a technical guide cannot.
In a view documentaries about Pixar one key point stands out: Story is everything. Pixar’s successes clearly shows this.
For Christians we struggle with the concept of story. This is interesting since the primary genre in the Bible is narrative. Even the New Testament letters are a pieces of a greater story. I think the issue is being overtly Christian.
There seems to be an unwritten law that to be a Christian story-teller one needs to have a conversion or a distinct struggle and return to God. This comes from two things: 1) We have a distinct message we must carry out. 2) We are very passionate about that message from our own encounter with it.
Mission, or the carrying of our most important message, has both an overt and a covert aspect. Overtly it is the clear presentation and proclamation of what we believe. Covertly it is being in the world and not of it. We fear that being “covert” violates proclaiming our most essential message or being off mission. It is not. The idea seems more spy like- its most frequent usage- instead of the other aspect of covert- not openly displaying something.
We need more covert stories. Story for story’s sake, or art for the sake of art. Here is the concept of being in the world but not of it:
The best person to reach teenagers is a teenager.
The best person to reach a musician is a musician.
The best person to reach lawyers is a lawyer.
The best person to reach a writer?
Being covert- doing life with people- allows builds credibility to share what is most important. It’s allowing people to see our story, our faults and successes, and in God’s timing the core of our story.
The best part of story is if forces us to look at, examine and engage life. More than the highs and lows of life, story deals with dreams, the little things and all that makes life a gift from God. For inspiration for story beyond overt struggle with or conversion to God one only needs to look at Proverbs. Proverbs deals with the “other” issues of life.
There is a place for overt communication of the Gospel. Even with that urgency there is a place to write about the other aspects of this gift of life God gave us.
What’s your story? We need more story tellers.
(especially on Monday)