Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stories Told

In the ancient days of civilization, before there were scrolls, books, television, newspaper, and the internet, people told stories. Story telling was the way people passed what they knew and experienced to one another. The word spread and everyone who heard the story (as long as it has not changed during retelling) partook in that same knowledge and experience. The greatest and most influencial story teller lived about two millenia ago. Jesus Christ, God in the form of a man, came and changed this world, equipped with little more his stories. Taking elements from life around him, he wove them into tales that detailed another world, but yet rang true to his hearers. From the start of his ministry until his death, he told stories.

A Good Story Jesus told stories to all sorts of people: rulers and criminals; rich and poor; old and young; tax collectors and teachers and; friends and enemies. He did not choose his audience but his stories always created inner conflict that led to a choice. Stay or move; repent or rebel; follow through or fall away. The woman at the well listened as Jesus told a story of living water. Would she resist or repent? The religious leaders heard about a merchant robbed on the treacherous road to Jericho. Would they choose convenience or compassion? A good story always improves. A good story always provokes an action by forcing us to choose what is right from wrong.

A Good Story Teller A good story teller is focused on the listeners. I tell my children that they don't need to laugh at their own funny stories, but instead strive to tell the story as clearly as possible so that the hearers can respond appropriately. If they come away saying "Wow! She can tell a story!" or "She is so funny!" instead of "She has a point" then we aren't doing our job as a story teller. In John 6, Jesus told a story which thinned out his crowd. The disciples grumbled about it and "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (John 6:66) Jesus told stories for the edification of others and not his own. Sometimes we try and glorify ourselves in our stories, but Jesus' stories guided the hearers to the path of righteousness. Sometimes we spend so much time with making ourselves look good that we miss the point.

Stories Told In Our Days Nowadays, story telling is magnified by modern technology. Our stories now have a wider audience. The barriers are gone and a good story can become an instant world-wide phenomenon. Even a bad story can find wide distribution, which presents a new challenge - the judicious sorting of information. One needs wisdom to identify truth from lies. God knows which stories we listened to; which ones we acted on. He will judge us based on what decisions and actions we made on what we heard . This blog is intended to record stories from thoughts and experiences of real people who follow the original teachings of the greatest story teller who ever walked the earth.

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