Lent 2013, Entry 15
My church family hired a new Communications Pastor and in the short time I’ve known him, I’ve found him to be insightful and intelligent…which I’ve seen primarily in his understated, keen & dry sense-of-humor. The understood reality is that he’s going to be very good in his new role at Irving Bible Church so the other adjectives I used are really like gravy. Or maybe bacon.
Nonetheless, I’m excited for him because today his book Tell Me A Story: Finding God (and Ourselves) Through Narrative hits shelves/stores today. I think I’m excited for him because he’s experiencing all the cool things I’d like to experience someday…
…like how cool it’d be to go through the gamut of emotions you’d experience in writing a book and all that I know he fought through and then re-wrote and edited and went through a long process and then saw the manuscript and the first look at the cover or photo for the back cover and all the other elements that are a part of the deal and then…
…send it out into the world. Which I guess has a new set of emotions and experiences going forward. But today must be a really fun day for Scott and those who love him: The book “drops.” It’s kind of a fun day for me and I’ve only known him about a month.
Anyway, he was interviewed by Jonathan Merritt on ReligionNews.Com and I thought I’d throw a Mind Vitamin at you from that interview:
JM: We live in a Post-Enlightenment age in which people no longer deploy the techniques of rational thought, according to Neal Gabler in the New York Times. In what ways is this beneficial to story and narrative? Is story the next generation’s best chance of impacting lives?
SM: I hesitate to invoke the example of the Civil Rights movement and the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but I’m going to do it anyway. Here goes: racial inequality in 20th-century America was many things, but pertinent to this question is the fact that racial inequality was irrational. It was irrational then, but it’s especially irrational now as we look back upon the 1950s and 1960s with the gift of hindsight. But here’s the thing: rational thought was never going to suddenly win the day and persuade irrational thought to leave town. What we needed was a movement.
I dare say rational thought rarely sparks a movement. Rather, I think it’s one of story’s particular gifts that sparks movements: imagination. In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek makes the case that Dr. King was not a tactician. Dr. King didn’t have a plan or a logical argument, he had a dream. See, rational thought can analyze and extrapolate, but it can’t imagine a bright future and compel us toward it. That’s what story does. That’s what storytellers do. To the extent that we can imagine and tell a story of hope and new life in Christ to our peers, we can impact lives.
This is one drum I’ve been beating for a while and it’s nice to find kindred spirits and voices saying similar things: That presuppositional apologetics (you know, like the Four Spiritual Laws and courses designed to “defend the faith” with A,B,C,D Therefore E” arguments are not nearly as helpful now as they were decades ago and that the most effective defense of the faith is an abundant, authentic, transformed life lived in the context of a relationship with that person and telling them your “story” of transformation. Feel free to agree or disagree, patrons, and tell me why you do either.
So, thanks, Scott, for all your time & effort to put it on paper and I’m looking forward to buying my copy and all that jazz…
…and here’s my shameless plug to ask all of you to buy your own copy and dive in. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.