Why Do We Love Stories? – An Update – Project Odessa Life

On Stories

What is it about a good story we find so compelling? Why do we enjoy listening to make believe stories, stories that are true, or just any kind of story? There is something in the wiring of a human which loves stories, all kinds of stories.

They say when witnessing in India it is much more effective evangelistically to use stories for your messages as they are predominantly an oral culture. When reading the book Redemption by Mike Wilkerson we are reminded of how when telling our own life stories we tend to interpret ourselves and our past experiences through me-centered lens. In other words we interpret our lives the way we understand the events in them, as being our story, rather than interpreting them as God sees them, part of His story. Only God’s interpretation is perfectly and truly objective. The aim is to learn to see our stories more how God sees them then how we have habitually seen them, or tried to decipher them.  N.D. Wilson in his book and bookumentary Notes from the Til-A-Whirl explains that at every moment God is speaking creating His story all around us. Creation is art! It is ongoing art taking form every moment. We, as beings made in the image of God mimic this trait when we create, imagine, pretend, invent, whether it be stories or all kinds of art. Theologians and pastors preparing Sunday morning sermons study the differences between biblical theology, which studies themes in the Bible and how people’s understanding of them was progressive throughout history and how God revealed these things over time, and systematic theology, which explores topics and doctrines in the Bible topically. The postmodernist philosophers and theologians discuss truth and how it is known and how all the small stories of the Bible are linked to one grand, ultimate, overarching, metanarrative which ties them all together and explains these smaller stories in their individual historical contexts. To swiftly get to the point, Jesus is the metanarrative, and you and I are small parts of His story being continually created at this very moment. Should He cease to speak, we should cease to be.

I like movies. I once toyed with the idea of being a playwright someday. As a young child in school I won writing contests at times and I have always enjoyed writing. I have always enjoyed good plots and clever dialogue. For the past 5-6 years I have been slowly working on the pieces of a trilogy novel, not that it will take off someday.  This remains to be seen, and I digress. On my shelf at home are about 20 books on writing books. One basic thing almost any book on writing a story will tell you is to introduce your main character and an antagonist, or opposition to a goal. Then build up to the climax through individual scenes pushing your main character forward towards something or away from something, pointing forward, as you use foreshadowing (and perhaps symbolism) toward the climax where the hero of the story seems to be defeated by his foe but ultimately comes through victorious. Then smooth it out with a resolution and wrap up any loose ends. This is a very basic outline for story writing. Does this sound familiar? Jesus was seemingly defeated by the cross after all of the Old Testament had built up towards the climax of His resurrection and ascension. We are living out the resolution, or one might say, another story within the story, and Christ is the grand metanarrative. He is that story which explains reality truly.

One of the reasons I am so personally convinced that Christianity, Jesus, and God’s Word are true is because they best explain the world we live in. They best explain reality as it is and they explain it best because they explain it rightly. In Ecclesiastes we read that God has “put eternity in their hearts”, the hearts of men, and in Romans we read that “though they [all men] knew God, they did not honor Him as God” although his greatness is evident in creation.

Why do we love stories so? What is the root cause of such an interest so universal in the make up of people? A theory of my own is developing and when I reach Heaven’s golden shores I shall test it’s validity. People love to create art and stories because we are fashioned in the image of God. Christ is the ultimate purpose of all creation and the cross is the center of history explaining all reality as it is. Men and women have the truth of reality in their hearts and whether the source is suppressed or not we all love stories because we are all inside of God’s story, and each of us are playing a small part in the many smaller stories making up the tapestry of the greatest story ever told. It is His story, not ours. All our artistic endeavors and story telling are but tiny shadows of His brilliant and bright masterpiece stretching from the beginning of time to the edges of the universe.  The cross is the climax and centerpiece of all creation’s history.

Why do you think we enjoy stories so much? Is there any validity to my theory in your opinion. Write back and tell me what you think.

(*A day after writing this, I stumbled across this: Life in God’s Cosmic Theater: An Interview with Kevin Vanhoozer)

 

Valeriia’s Reflections on Summer English Camp

It was a great and full of surprises month I had. Some of you know that I went to a new English Camp. The camp was more than I expected it to be. First of all I made many good friends and second and the most important I saw how God worked through His children. The best thing I liked about this camp is that you could feel yourself like being in a family. People, which have a warm relationship with each other.

It is like a separate world in Odessa region. Guys that came to camp for the first and for second times were sharing that they like the atmosphere there. There was a lot for them to think about and they didn’t feel like someone is pushing on them.

So far I think English summer camp is the best way to build relationships with people and to share the Gospel with them. This is the time in this balloon when they see a different world and start thinking that something is maybe missing in their lives. Of course some people make decisions and some people don’t, but all of them have something to think about.

I would ask some people what do they think about the things they hear about (which is the Gospel) and every person I asked would say: “There is a lot for me to think about now”. Usually in the end of the camps that I visited people are called to the other room for a talk where they would say if they desire to make a decision to follow Christ. This camp didn’t have it. People heard what they needed to hear and then they would have just personal talk with someone else while sitting at the table during lunchtime or while just resting on the bench.

After camp I can see one girl which is coming every Sunday, reading the Bible and other Christian book, even staying for theology classes That is so awesome to see her so much interested in God. Please pray for her and the other guys as we are still going to continue building relationships with them.

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!

 

 

 

More pics from camp can be seen HERE.

 

Books I’ve Enjoyed the Last Few Months

 

Saving Eutychus by Gary Miller and Phil Campbell
Biblical Preaching by Haddon W. Robinson
What Do You Think of Me, Why Do I Care by Ed Welch
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
Center Church by Tim Keller
Spiritual Warfare and Missions by Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker
Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
Why We’re Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

 

 

Things We Need

  1. Prayer
  2. Prayer for Lera’s Visa to the States (next year)
  3. Prayer for my Visa to Ukraine (for the next year)
  4. Prayer for the start of our new non-profit – just beginning
  5. Prayer for ministry and outreach in October.
  6. Prayer for wisdom, provision, guidance, love, abundance, blessing, boldness, courage, perseverance, trust, strength, grace, and much fruit to the glory of God!
  7. Prayer for Odessa and Ukraine!

Thank you so much lovely people! Be on the look out for some exciting new things on the horizon.