Your story is too small
Stories are powerful things, and I’m blessed to be able to make a living from bringing stories to life on stage. Stories help us empathise and see life from another’s perspective. Stories can be ways of helping people, and societies find or establish their identities. One of the helpful aspects of the recent rise of post-modern Christianity (sometimes called post-evangelicalism) is the valuing of stories. But where I see this movement heading in the wrong direction is an over-reliance on stories as an epistemological lens. While there is certainly merit in pointing out that we need more than systematic theology and abstract doctrine, we ought to be careful that we don’t put the cart before the proverbial horse; our theology must rightly impact and drive our lives, and should certainly not be disconnected from our ‘story’, but to my mind, many have used their stories (and those of their friends) to filter their theology. What this does is, in effect, make our own experience (usually heavily influenced by societal values) a higher authority than scripture. What we need, in fact, is to recognise how our own stories fit into THE story, the great narrative of God’s redemption. It’s not that stories are wrong, on the contrary, it’s just that our stories are too small! We need to keep telling our stories, but we need to tell them in ways that point to the bigger, greater story of God.
What is God’s story? Well… Matt Papa does a wonderful job of telling it here:
Via Grace for Sinners