I won’t go into tons of detail on Kevin Vanhoozer’s talk this afternoon on the Drama of the Christ, but I will give you a brief synopsis and a couple interesting thoughts that grabbed me.
He talked about the power of story-telling as a way of making sense of life and forming cultures and communities, giving entertaining examples from advertising and the cult of Star Trek. Then he went on to calling evangelicals to see the over-arching drama of the Bible as the controlling factor in our theology (and preaching and teaching etc etc). It was very much like some of what I’ve read from Tom Wright, who says that a sense of mission flows from an understanding of where we’re at in the story – and realizing that we are part of God’s story (not that God became part of my story)… this takes us beyond moralistic platitudes and into the realm where we must think and imagine and exercise wisdom and be formed as God’s people. Good stuff.
One interesting point for me: he argued that "drama" was the best term for talking about the narrative of Scripture, because "story" is simply the substance of a person’s life or a sequence of events, "narrative" is a certain way of telling that story, but "drama" is the story indwelt and embodied, acted-out with others. Dramas show not just tell, and this gets across the need for our involvement. This is not God’s story that we simply sit around and enjoy, it is God’s story that we embody, that we act out on the stage of the world, in our liturgy and in our lives.
His conclusion was that our call was to hold forth the drama of the Christ as the true story of the world, as opposed to the competing stories (which are how we modern people do idolatry). His specific statement was that we ought to "kill the American dream and live the drama of Christ." The American dream is 2.2 kids, an SUV, comfortable life and income, eating out once a month, etc… and God has his place as the provider of these blessings… instead we are called to live out the Jesus drama.
Church then becomes revolutionary theater, reconciliatory drama, in which we are all participants.
REALIZING THAT WE ARE PART OF GOD’S STORY…
…I’ve come to understand and embrace this worldview…
(NOT THAT GOD IS PART OF MY STORY)…
…but I think that I was still having the perspective of everything revolving around me. I need to CONSCIOUSLY see with both perspectives in order to bring truth into proper focus.
It is so much a part of my subconcious to think of everything as if I am the hub of the wheel of my life, when in reality, I am only a spoke in a much bigger wheel. I need to be connected to a community where we constantly remind one another of how the kingdom truly functions so the choices I make will be congruent, and the kingdom can continue to advance unimpeded.
Benjamin Sternke says
Exactly, Carol. That’s been a big part of this weekend’s discussion as well: the vital role of the local church community in bringing these realities about – spiritual formation in Christlikeness is NOT an individualistic effort (although there are things we do as individuals, it’s always in the context of community; i.e. praying the daily office by myself, perhaps, but also knowing that 10 others are doing likewise – then we meet up later to continue talking about it and praying for one another).