Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Stories, not arguments, shape imaginations and imaginations shape feelings and feelings shape the way we hear the arguments. If stories convince us that certain positions are absurd or foolish, reason, logic, and data will look foolish, mean-spirited, and absurd.The empirical evidence around me suggests this is so, and yet I wonder if the best response is to capitalize on this observation or to attempt to change it. Regardless of government, changing culture is a democratic process - you have to convince enough people that something is so for it to be so culturally.
Which means that the battle today is not for better arguments (important as they are), but for better stories.
Let me quickly add that I do not mean better stories alone as though narrative preaching or the next Narnia movie or some combination of images will turn the culture on their own. They won’t. Jesus is the divine Logos, not the divine narrative. We are still obligated to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1Peter 3:15). Narrative will never supplant apologetics.
Nonetheless having said that, as C. S. Lewis knew, as G. K. Chesterton knew, as Alan Jacobs knows, and as every good preacher knows, good stories capture imaginations so that the reasons for our hope, our faith, and our way of life can be heard, heeded, and received.
A good story can change people’s hearts so let’s get writing.
Tonkowich argues, though Jacobs using Chesterton and Lewis that it is story that lead to the fall. Fair enough, but I wonder if story can lead is to redemption? As powerful as the narrative of Christ is I have seen too many people pervert it into something it is not. Unless we apply reason our feeling will always tell us that our sin is something other than sin and without sin,t he narrative will be transmogrified into something it is not.
It seems to me that the road to reality is a road in which our reason controls our feelings. Therefore is an appeal to feeling the right way to go?
Another way to look at this is does story shape culture or does it reflect it? I lean towards the latter.
culture reason story