Monday, February 28, 2005

inside a story

My early experiences of Christianity were in what I now call a “point” faith. Testimonies were framed around the conversion moment and the emphasis was on a decision to follow Jesus.

My recent reading of Scriptures has moved to a greater desire to indwell the story. Rather than preach for the “point,” rather than worry about who is in and who is out, I want to tell the story of the amazing grace of God and the radical ethical implications of this grace for our lifestyles.

This seems to me to open everyone to the challenge of the gospel. All of us need to hear and re-hear grace and ethics. It allows people to explore their actions from within, rather than be told what to do. It honours the fact that most of us live our lives by the story/ies we tell.

I was talking with a person on last week. A year ago, they were nowhere near church. In the process of a pastoral conversation we talked about the implications of Genesis 1 and 2, and God as Trinity for a specific area of their life. Rather than give advice, a list of “how tos”, we explored the story and made application. As they talked I suddenly realized they were inside the story. At some time in their year, at a point probably invisible to them, they had moved inside a story by which now guided their life and actions. I was seeing new life, without ever witnessing the moment of conception.

Posted by steve at 10:12 AM


  1. This makes me think about how the Old Testament is. Israel waxes and wanes and then a king who loves(/respects/fears) God comes in who engages in activities to demonstrate repentance (you would know this much better than me, of course) but none of the collection of activities is the same.

    They all respond to God with fervour but all uniquely – and their responses have become part of the overall story

    Comment by Randall — February 28, 2005 @ 1:14 pm

  2. Very good points mate – reinforces for me my expression “living into and out of the Jesus-story” and its importance…particularly for me.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — February 28, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

  3. This something I’m trying to be more aware of when sharing the Gospel on Sunday’s Cafe’. Allowing the Gospel to reveal who Jesus is, while at the same time trying to weave us into the story, allowing the story to give us a revelation of how short we fall in living life, and what is possible when we enter into the life of Jesus, and allow Jesus to enter and live in our lives. And in this mysterious communion lives change, communities change…and if dream enough the world changes. There is a sharing of food, of wealth, of stories, of culture…there is a shared experience of life.

    Comment by ron — February 28, 2005 @ 8:56 pm

  4. I love that description ‘inside the story’! No more ‘us and thems’.

    Comment by Bronwen — March 1, 2005 @ 4:30 am

  5. Great stuff Steve – thanks for these thoughts. I’ve been on a very similar journey (as you know!) and have been struck afresh by how simple, on the one hand, Jesus made it for people to be identified as his ‘followers’ or ‘disciples’. When Matthew left his money table at Jesus’ invitation he was instantly known as a disciple or follower of Jesus, even though he had little idea of who he was following or where it would lead. He certainly had no concept of ‘atonement’, as the cross was a future event!! I say ‘on the one hand’ because on the other it wasn’t simple – it cost a lot, a change of perspective and lifestyle. But the emphasis in what made a disciple seemed to be far more on what you do than on what you believe – ie praxis rather than doctrine. If anyone wants to join the journey then they are as much a ‘follower’ as you or me!

    Comment by Malcolm — March 1, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

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