Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Bible and the Story

"Ray Lewis has a story to tell, of persecution and redemption, of fathers and sons, of pain caused and pain endured. The trials he's suffered -- and Lord knows there have been many -- are all part of a master plan..."

So goes the opening paragraph of an in-depth story in Sports Illustrated on Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis in a November issue.

I was reading this article yesterday in the waiting room of my chiropractic's office.

The opening words and the picture (shown) made me think that Lewis had converted to Christianity. While I'm not sure if Jesus is his Savior (I was reading the article quickly and might have missed it), it is clear that Lewis has changed his ways since he was acquitted of serious charges in 2000.

One line in the story surprised me. It wasn't directly about Lewis, but was used to illustrate the drama of Lewis' story. It said:

"Christianity explains itself with stories."

I don't know if I've ever read such a statement in a secular work. The insight surprised me.

The SI writer is right on--that is very much the approach of Christianity (and Judiasm). If weren't for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (the story), we would never have Paul's discourse in Romans (the logic).

In our western culture, we typically defend positions with arguments and logic--much like the Greek philosophers of old. But in eastern culture--the world of the Bible--people make their case with a story. Theologicans identify this as "narrative theology." Out of the story, comes the lesson.

So next time you read a story and wonder what it means, or assume it's not saying anything, remember:

The story is the argument.

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