Posts Tagged our role
Narrative theology is a relatively new undertaking and is one good example of a positive development in theological studies, due, in part, to the influence of postmodernity. I would suggest that the contributions of this movement will surprise many with numerous insights into how we might better approach the theological task, read the Bible, and live as faithful disciples in an ever-changing postmodern world.
Among the many emphases of story theology is the underlying claim that story plays a central role in how human beings make sense of the world and how they process and organize their experiences. N. T. Wright expounds on this fundamental role of story:
When we examine how stories work in relation to other stories, we find that human beings tell stories because this is how we perceive, and indeed relate to, the world. What we see close up, in a multitude of little incidents whether isolated or (more likely) interrelated, we make sense of by drawing on story forms already more or less known to us and placing the information within them. A story, with its pattern of problem and conflict, of aborted attempts at resolution, and final result, whether sad or glad, is, if we may infer from the common practice of the world, universally perceived as the best way of talking about the way the world actually is.
While raw information can stimulate and exercise our brain muscles, it is usually a good story that moves us to tears. And it is when we are moved holistically—both mentally and emotionally—that we are most likely to be changed or transformed. As Wright puts it, “Tell someone to do something, and you change their life—for a day; tell someone a story and you change their life.” As Clark Pinnock describes it, Read the rest of this entry »
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
…Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:3-8, 13-20)
Anyone like myself, whose great privilege and responsibility it is to be the farmer/sower in this parable and share the Word of God with people weekly, may find rest and refuge in this parable of Jesus. I know I always need reminding of where my role ends and the Holy Spirit takes over.
Good news: This beloved parable reminds preachers and teachers, and all who desire to be faithful messengers of God’s saving gospel, that the determining factor in seeing God’s Word go forth and have its transforming effect is NOT primarily the sower. Of the these three — the sower, seed and soil — the sower is least consequential it would seem from this parable; though the sower is still necessary to enable the other two to play their role.
What does this parable say to those regularly involved in the scattering of God’s Word? What particular reminders does this parable offer the pastor in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday? And the youth pastor Wednesday after Wednesday? Today we’ll look at the sower. In the next two posts we’ll look at the seed and the soils. Read the rest of this entry »