What movies and stories have to teach us about the Gospel

A couple of nights ago, a friend and I went to the movies. After the movie, my friend asked if he thought it was weird if one essentially feels involved in the movie, like, we were apart of the story. I told him, as a movie connoisseur, that this was not weird at all. In fact, a good movie ought to do this. What a good movie does, is it forces you to leave your position and to take on the experiences of the characters. So you learn to feel what the other character feels, you learn to think what the other character thinks, you essentially become one. This is why a good movie should bring us to great laughter, great sorrow and also knowing someone else in a deeper way.

If we understand the Gospel as the reconciliation of all things (Relationships between human and themselves, humans and other humans, and humans with God), then story is absolutely foundational. Very few things bring greater reconciliation then stories.

When someone goes to a counselor, what do they ask you to do? They ask you to tell your story. They ask you to talk about the events of your life, how they have and are shaping you. Within this construct, over time, by telling your story over and over again, the counselor and the patient can narrow down the events of the patients story to reconcile the individuals events of their lives. The patient is able to live within the story by feeling the weight of that specific event, but, they’re also able to see it through the eyes of another. This is one of the ways story can reconcile the relationship with self.

When damage has been done to a relationship, we tell our stories to each other if we are trying to reconcile the relationship. We tell them how the events of the relationship effected us. When we tell our stories, we are forced to leave our position and live within the story of the other person. We are called to experience their position, their thoughts and their feelings. Just, as they’re called to do, when we’re telling our story. This is why reconciliation is not always possible, some people are unwilling to leave their narrative and consider another persons feelings and thoughts. Their way is the only way, and, the best way. This is one of the ways story can reconcile the relationship with others.

When we pray, we are living within a narrative. We either tell God the events of our lives, and, how is this is stirring up certain desires, thoughts and feelings. Or, we live presently within prayer, without words, seeking God to transform our past and current narrative, and, for God to intervene in our story to create a better future. When we pray, we are praying for God to reshape our story, or, the story around us. By being open with God about who we are, where we have been, what we have done, that we allow him to speak into us, by pouring his grace and forgiveness upon us. This is one of the ways story can reconcile our relationship with God.

Reconciliation is at the heart of the mission for God. That we can create peace within each of these relationships, so we can live in the original order in which God created human beings. Story is absolutely essential to who we are, and, who we are with each other. So live within another story. Live within your story. Go see a movie. Listen to your friends. Listen to yourself. Talk to God. Listen to God. This is all part of a new creation.

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2 thoughts on “What movies and stories have to teach us about the Gospel

  1. I have to say narrative theology or whatever you’d like to call it has really struck a chord with me. It’s when everything seemed to click together. Great post.

    • mfries05 says:

      Charlie,
      that big boobed sex toy comment made me laugh. And, I am in full agreement, narrative theology has changed the way I experience God and how I interpret the Bible. Doubt is inevitably human, and, can even be incorporated into a theology of the cross (Moltmann).

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