On Sunday, my church talked about how we are storied beings. We don’t live our lives in bullet points or fact sheets, but in stories. The philosopher and theologian, Alasdair MacIntyre, writes: “Man in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, is essentially a story-telling animal . . . But the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what stories do I find myself a part?'”
One of the primary ways that we find meaning in our lives is to locate our story within a larger story. This larger story gives our lives context and direction. In fact, these stories are informative in determining our ethics and govern our decision-making. For the Christian, this guiding narrative is the ongoing story of God’s work in the world – the radical, redemptive, grace-filled story of Jesus.
While this may be true, it is also the case that we are living in a world of increasing biblical illiteracy. What is this story that God has been telling from the beginning of time? What is the overall plot? Who are the characters? What is the tension, rising action, climax, and resolution? Who is it calling us to be and what is it calling us to do? When I taught at a Christian secondary school, I would often assign my students the task of summarizing the story of the Bible in one page. Other times, I would ask them to do the same thing orally in 2 minutes or less. Though it sounds simple, it’s actually much more difficult than you think. For some of us, though, we might not even know where to begin.
Recently, a friend recommended that I check out a little crowdsourced project called The Bible Project. The Bible Project started as the brain child of two friends and roommates in 2014, while attending Bible college. They wanted to use the medium of animated video to help people enter into the story of the Bible and understand it on its own terms. They also wanted to use this accessible style to dig into deeper theological and literary themes found in scripture. According to their website, “The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. We create videos, podcasts, and study guides that explore the Bible’s unified story.”
My hope is that as we engage with our own stories and learn the stories of one another, we will also immerse ourselves in the magnificent story of scripture. I point you to this project as an interesting and non-threatening place to start. I personally recommend the set “How to Read the Bible” as a good place to start. It is really great and accessible for almost all ages. Take some time to watch them and discuss them as a family (maybe one a day for a couple of weeks). I truly believe that, in learning more and more of God’s story, we will fall more in love with who God is and learn more and more about our true identity as well.