I just watched “Stranger Than Fiction” again starring Will Ferrell. I thought the movie and story was alright – nothing too special. But I absolutely LOVE the idea that drives this movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, here is the summary from the back of the case:
Will Ferrell stars as Harold Crick, a lonely IRS agent whose mundane existence is transformed when he hears a mysterious voice narrating his life. With the help of Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), Harold discovers he’s the main character in a novel-in-progress and that the voice belongs to Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), an eccentric author famous for killing her main characters in creative ways. Harold must quickly track down Eiffel and stop her before she conjures up a way to finish him off.
The parallels and contrasts between this silly story and the True Story of God and humanity as revealed in Scripture are quite profound. Let me just share a few observations.
1. The author of Harold’s story is evil and seeks to find a creative ways to kill her characters. In God’s Story the characters tend to find creative ways of bringing about their own destruction, but God in His infinite love and mercy finds a way to rescue them from death!
2. While Harold must hurriedly track down the Author before time runs out, in God’s Story it is the Author who relentlessly pursues His prodigal characters before it is too late.
1. We are indeed living in a story driven by a particular plot, with God as the primary author and ourselves as one character among many others. Waking up to this reality is one of the most significant moments of one’s life. The sooner we find our place in this larger story, the more meaningful our lives will be.
2. Far too many people today find their lives as lonely and mundane as Harold Crick, the IRS agent. Many of us, like Harold, will only find real meaning, significance and purpose when we begin to hear the still, small voice of the narrator trying to get our attention amidst all the noise of our daily shuffle.
3. Harold’s future hangs in the balance and is dependent upon whether or not he can find the author of his story and make peace with her. Our future hope also hangs in the balance and depends on whether or not we can make peace with our Author.
4. While it is a bit of a stretch, Professor Hilbert plays the role of the mediator who helps the confused, scared Harold make sense of the plot he’s in and connect him with the author of his story. God’s Story is full of prophets, pastors, teachers and ultimately Jesus himself who function as mediators between lost souls and the Author, unfolding the plot and bringing us back into relationship with God.
If you want to pursue this concept of “Narrative Theology” further I would recommend the small book and DVD called Epic: Discover the Story God is Telling by John Eldredge. One of his opening lines is that “life often feels like a movie you’ve shown up for 40 minutes late; something important seems to be going on but you’re not quite sure what.”