Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
The Power of Story
December 20, 2006Posted by on
Schools are letting out all over for Christmas break (am I allowed to say “Christmas” break?). There were two more days of school left after I had given my last exam. I, like other teachers, was faced with the challenge of controlling a classroom of students for a significant amount of time. Instinctively, the teachers I work with decided to show movies for the last 5 hours of school. As I sat in the back of the dark room, movie rolling, students quiet and enchanted, I asked myself, “What is so attention grabbing about a story that it would be an obvious choice used by all teachers?”
Staying with that question, let me present another quick story (ha). I attend a Bible church, mainly expository teaching. However, last Sunday was not much Bible teaching, but rather story-telling. A pastor, having just returned from a trip to Sudan, shared about four people: a witch doctor, a moped-riding evangelist, and two teenage boys who jump up and down over receiving a Bible as a gift, not a PS3 or Xbox360. I don’t expect that summary to make an impact on you, but the actual accounts made me tearful. I was recounting the service with my sister, asking her what she thought and she replied something like this, “Oh my gosh I loved it. It was the power of story. Regular teaching is great on most days, but there is just something about the power of story.”
I think she is on to something. Often you will hear a movie described as powerful. It’s other people’s stories that bring tears to our eyes and help us get to know them better. I attended a movie last night. In the midst of the story that it invited me into, I forgot about much of reality outside the theater. There was transcendence to the experience that spoke to me, whispering that there was more meaning to life than I often see.
What do you think? Is there such thing as “the power of story?” Maybe this is why Jesus used parables so much of the time. How does your heart respond to stories? How does story interact with you throughout your day?