Thursday, February 3, 2011

Narratives and stories

So I'm working right now on writing some narratives for a sort of journey through the book of John about people's encounters with Jesus.  The narratives are going to be written from the people's point of view about how their encounters with Jesus challenged and changed them.

We're going to be doing a storying group through these narratives for the next five or so weeks.  I'm really excited to see what will come of it.  How will these people and their stories challenge the way I see Jesus?  How will they teach me to view life with the Eternal One?  How will they invite the community to view Jesus?  How will they challenge us to action?  I don't know.

I'll be posting the narratives and study questions as we go, and I expect that I'll revise them and then put them all together at the end.  My dream is to continue to create resources that can be used by others. 

So today's story was the woman at the well.  The most interesting thing to me I think was Jesus's description of "eternal life" or life with the Eternal One.  He compared it to a life-giving stream of water that bubbles up and overflows.

Nourishing.  Joyful.  Peaceful.  Active.  Unpredictable.

Interesting ways to view this life.  I'm not sure that's what the church has communicated or regularly communicates about what it means to walk with God.  But that picture intrigues and interests me.  It makes me want to dig deeper.

That's the beauty of story, isn't it?  As I've been working through these John narratives, I'm often amazed at just how unclear Jesus's stories were to the listeners.  The commentaries make a big deal about how literally everyone always took what he said, or about how dumb they were that they didn't get the deeper meaning he gave.  But I gotta tell you - it's not all that clear.  There are so many different places you could take the word pictures Jesus gives.  And as I've looked at the commentaries (from like the 20's, and the 40's, and the 60's), people definitely took these stories to different places.  Anyway, it'll be interesting to discuss how those same stories are resonating with people today.  I'm excited to see it and hear it and experience it.  Stay tuned!

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