In the winter of 2000 my entire life was turned around, flipped upside down and spun inside out. I was a confused, well-intentioned, yet directionless 20 year-old sophomore at Bethel College decided to open up the Book of Acts in hopes of some general inspiration.
Something remarkably simple yet profoundly powerful took place that evening as I began reading the story of the early church in Acts. I was swept up into the action as I read of their struggle to follow the Spirit’s leading as they brought the message of Jesus and the resurrection across the pagan Roman Empire. At that moment, some powerful exchange took place deep within the contours of my mind and my understanding of God, Scripture, history, and the meaning of my existence was forever transformed.
Years later during my seminary studies in San Diego I would begin to understand the powerful dynamic that was at work in me that winter night years prior that triggered such a radical and sudden transformation. That night I had discovered the power of narrative. That night I had experienced what George Stroupe calls “a collision of narratives.”
The particular controlling narrative I had gradually formed over the past 20 years in order to make sense of the world and my place in it had suddenly collided with a larger, older, radically different controlling narrative revealed in the historical account of God and his people described in Acts. I was confronted with another controlling story – one that claimed to be the one true meta-narrative of history, and I was forced to decide if I wanted to continue authoring my own personal story or whether I would submit my life to God’s purposes, and seek to find my special place within his unfolding plan.
Looking back now, I believe that was my moment of decision. That was the night I stopped being merely a church-going Christian who believed all the right beliefs. That night, I am now convinced, I became a disciple of Jesus, a follower of the Way, and a born again child of God. All of this to introduce the following series of posts reflecting on God, Authority and Scripture from a narrative perspective.
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