Monday, March 8, 2010

my stream of consciousness this week regarding stories

They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight...

I've been reading a little more, probably due to my extra snow days. Last month I finished a work of fiction that was compelling enough to stay in my thoughts for days after I finished the book. The book was allegorical, almost to Bunyan-like proportions, yet the plot line still had me on the edge of my seat.

I realized a few days later that in my mind I was starting to presuppose the author's beliefs. In other words, Author X believes things I don't; yet after this masterful allegory I was subconsciously beginning to assume her ideas were truth.

And then I thought to myself, how wise was Jesus to use stories to teach truth.

But then I thought, how unoriginal of me to have that thought, since every trendy pastor and philosopher wanna-be has been saying the same thing for a while now.

But it is true! Not in the sense of let's throw out propositional truth for 'localized narratives' (my 'I've-heard-one-sermon-about-philosophy-and-I'm-gonna-refer-to-it' sentence) but in the sense of 'let's communicate truth with stories.'

I think there was a difference in my ten-year old mind when faced with a moral dilemma and I could remember the fictional 'Johnny' returning extra change to the store clerk. Remembering a 'thou-shalt-not' was helpful; but remembering 'Johnny's' mental anguish while making his decision, and comparing it to my own, was even more helpful.

It's surprising the children's stories that come back to me. And speaking of children's stories, I have for the past year, been heralding (in my mind) folk tales as the champion which will restore appreciation for beauty to a overstimulated culture. I had a very 'old' first grade last year that was bored of my first grade games and songs. They were riveted by simple folk tales, though. I started telling Brer Rabbit stories because beauty and simplicity and attention span are more important than covering my curriculum. That is a different topic though, and hopefully I will uncover some evidence for this last thought soon.

For me this week, Chesterton's Father Brown, to relax when I'm done work. Hoping it won't turn me into a priest, though, or conversely, a criminal mastermind.

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