The Powerful Weakness of Stories

Stories are powerful.

storiesUnfortunately, that is not a logical conclusion. That’s just how stories are. Like music, we don’t have to understand the physiology of stories on our brains to declare their power. Stories don’t try to convince you, argue with you, reason with you. Good stories don’t tell you, they simply show you. They invade your reservations, assault your convictions and barge into your conscience like a bandit. Stories are just that, powerful.

The most compelling way to teach something is to tell a story about it. Want to teach about patience? Just tell a story about a patient person. Want to explain love? Illustrate it in story. That’s why the fables we heard as children still linger in our memories.

Bedtime stories were not just entertainment, they were life-lessons.

Yet, this overwhelming power is also what makes stories so dangerous. A false story is powerfully destructive. Stories of proud men winning, and selfish women ruling are powerful tools. You see, since the power of stories is irrational, you cannot argue against a story.

You may present a thousand arguments against miracles, but one story about one miracle topples them all.

Stories are sacred.

The Bible is a story, a book of stories, but it is more than a story. Within the story are timeless teachings and commands and aims and purposes. But the reality of those commands is not found in the stories of the Bible. Abraham is not a consistent picture of faith. David is not a consistent illustration of a man after God’s heart. Neither is Peter an inspiring illustration of what it means to be a true disciple. Continue reading The Powerful Weakness of Stories

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The Truth About The Truth

I’ve been thinking about stories, and why they are such effective, timeless modes of communication. Children learn best through stories. So do adults. The best writers are storytellers. Stories just have a way of gripping our attention because they invade our imagination. Stories enter the minds of their hearers unannounced and take a seat on their soul, uninvited. They take us on adventurous journeys without our permission. It’s why we love movies. And stories never get old. It doesn’t matter what age we are living in, from the age of oral tradition to the blogging generation, stories continue to win the hearts of men. It doesn’t matter whether one is shipping a lie or mailing the truth, stories continue to be the best courier services.

It is therefore no coincidence that the Bible is a story. Of course, there are proverbs, laws, psalms and abstract apostolic teachings in the Bible, but all of these find their validity in the greater context of the biblical narrative. To isolate any law, or proverb from the story is to destroy that law or proverb. No wonder expository preaching is considered better and more faithful to the scripture compared to topical preaching. No wonder great Bible commentators and expositors emphasize context. The story matters. The overall account counts. Continue reading The Truth About The Truth