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Posts tagged "Narrative"

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are not all they’re cracked up to be. However much we want to believe we live a coherent narrative, where the endless succession of events of life have clear meaning, the stories we tell are invariably based upon the (mistaken) premise that we have a grasp, or understanding, of how it is the world works and what the best outcome should be for the narrative of our lives. Yet there is an almost indescribable gap between the logic that shapes our choices and their ultimate outcomes, one that…

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Apparently I Am Not James Bond

Apparently I Am Not James Bond

When I was young I loved action movies. Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond was a focal point of my pre-adolescent years. I owned action movies on VHS, played their corresponding video games, and collected any paraphernalia that I could get my hands on.

On leaving the theater, after seeing the newest action thriller, the world seemed different. Everything seemed charged with energy as I snuck down the movie theater hall and peered around the corner into the lobby, mindful that the assassins or rogue state military personnel could be attacked at any moment. I remember riding in the middle seat of my…

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Telling Stories to the Devil: From Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story

Telling Stories to the Devil: From Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story

This is an incredible excerpt, albeit completely unorthodox. It comes from a short section entitled, “Saying Goodbye to Satan,” in Lewis Mehl-Madrona’s book, Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry.

As you read, note the utter left-handedness in Mehl-Madrona’s approach: he allows the patient to tell her story and enters that story with her, totally devoid of judgment or correction. This example of narrative psychiatry in real-life shows, first of all, that the stories we tell ourselves can be damning; second, that denying those stories won’t restore us to sanity. Instead, acceptance (and more importantly:…

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Identity Narratives from the Bathroom Floor

Identity Narratives from the Bathroom Floor

If you’ve never seen The Bachelor (though chances are you probably have), then you’ve missed some of reality TV’s best attempts to turn real people into caricatures. Whether it’s the intention of the contestant, the careful edits of the producers, or a combination of both, every person who steps out of the limo has a cohesive and clear-cut identity. Usually this is executed in the narrative portion of the show when we “meet” the contestant and get a nice video montage of her life, but it can also be done through behind-the-scenes commentary (“My friends all consider me the party girl…

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A Thousand Paper Cranes for the Vampire Queen: A Story About "The Meaning of Madness"

A Thousand Paper Cranes for the Vampire Queen: A Story About “The Meaning of Madness”

Since the Christian message is given through a narrative–a chronological, historical story–we have spent a lot of time on this site wrestling with the importance of the concept of ‘narrative’–both the pros and cons of it–and how it plays out in our lives. (Not to mention the fact that it’s become a buzzword.) It seems clear that, though we gravitate naturally towards narratives and often define ourselves by them, these narratives can be limiting at best, and delusional at worst. Detachment from these narratives–what’s often called ‘mindfulness’–can be helpful in receiving a fuller picture of God’s love which breaks down our personal constructs. That said,…

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Deconstructing the Story of Your Life

Deconstructing the Story of Your Life

A very interesting article on Aeon this week about “The Dangerous Idea that Your Life Is a Story.” Written by Galen Strawson, the article questions the assumption that humans do (or even should) frame their lives in the trajectory of a plot line. Strawson surveys the very popular history of this idea in psychology, called Narrativism, and then lines up an Anti-Narrative argument against it. For Strawson, the allure of assigning a story arc to our lives simply does not jive with the reality of our lives, and encouraging people to do so is drastically more harmful than helpful.

I had always thought that the…

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