Friday, June 25, 2010

Living Into God's Story - Part 3

image courtesy of

Knowledge is a funny thing.

For example, when we head out to the local ballpark and grab a hotdog and a coke, we don't really want to know how that hotdog was made. We know that some people who do know have chosen never to eat these things again. But as long as we don't "know" we can go about our life, enjoying our hotdogs, and try not to think about it too much.

Of course, sometimes, knowledge increases our awareness of our surroundings. After I learned to knit, I found that when I look at a sweater I can tell if it was knit or woven, and if it has stockinette or seed or garter stitching. Not that this is going to bring about world peace or anything. It's just a new thing I'm cognizant of.

Same with public swimming pools. My first job out of college was with the Dept. of Health and Environmental Control as an Environmental Engineer. Our section regulated water treatment plants and public swimming pools. (Please do not ask me why those two went together.) Because of what I know about the regulations, I notice if the depth markers are non-slip, and how many drains are in the bottom of the pool. Again, it's just random knowledge, but it adds to the way I experience the world. (It's also why I prefer that my children not play in kiddie pools and why I'm not a huge fan of hot tubs, but I digress).

In our interactions with others, knowledge can add dimension and layers to a relationship. When you find out about someone's past, it gives you insights into their present. When you learn what their love language is, it helps you understand why they do or say or react in certain ways.

As I mentioned in my last post, learning about writing has had an impact on how I view books. It hasn't lessened my love for them. If anything, I look at them with a whole new sense of wonder.

And, it has given me a whole new appreciation for the concept of storytelling.

I'm not sure when I heard it first, and I'm not sure if it would have impacted me so strongly if I wasn't in the middle of my own self-discovery as a storyteller, but it seems like everywhere I turn, someone is talking about God as a Storyteller. This in no way implies that His Word is not true. Far from it.

It simply acknowledges that God, as our Creator, knew that the best way to tell us about Himself was to tell us a story.

Pause right there.

Think about that.

Go ahead and get chills (if you're a writer, this should make you giddy).

Because God is the ultimate storyteller.

(OK - this should come as no surprise since God is the Ultimate Everything, but I'd never thought of Him - God - as one who tells stories, or as a writer. Which seems silly given that there about 30 Bibles in my house. Another "duh" moment for Lynn.)

I recently completed Beth Moore's study on Esther (which I highly recommend). And one thing she mentioned over and over was how God laid out the story. She talked about chiastic structure and plotlines. Even about how God told us what we need to know and left out the parts that, while they might have been interesting to us (what did happen to Vashti?), weren't necessary for the story.

While I was studying Esther, our pastors were doing a Sunday morning series entitled "Living Into God's Story". We covered the last several chapters of Genesis - Joseph's story. Talk about a story! You've got prophetic dreams, family dysfunction, murder plots, slavery, rags to riches to rags to riches, deceitful women, prison, more dreams, forgetful butlers, doomed cooks, more family dysfunction, forgiveness and hope and grace. This story has everything!

But God didn't tell us this particular story for our amusement.

He told us this story so we could know more about Him.

Just as my knowledge of being a parent has increased my understanding of how God relates to His children, my knowledge of storytelling has given me a whole new appreciation for God's story. And for my part in it.

More about what Living Into God's Story looks like for me, next time on Out of the Boat!

(This line reads better if you use your best TV soap opera voice - you know, "Next time, on Why Would Anyone Watch This, will what's her name survive the electric chair? Will the handsome star find his way off Mt. Everest? Will the cute teenage boy get rid of his acne before the prom?")