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Narrativity: Thomas McKenzie On Why Stories Work Inside Us (With Hard Hats On)

My Rabbit Room buddy Thomas McKenzie shares a thoughtful blog post about the importance of narrative to connect us deeply to the truth. This is something important to remember during this season (and always). I am all for propositions; we need them. But they matter because of a Story.

He begins by explaining what happens on an especially great episode (one of my favorites) of Star Trek:The Next Generation called “Darmok.” Captain Picard meets up with an alien who is only able to communicate through stories and the allusions to those stories. When Captain Picard figures out the stories (for the aliens it’s “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra”), he can finally communicate. Thomas goes on to say…

“I recognize how increasingly like these aliens I am.  I was sitting in a meeting a few weeks ago.  The person leading the meeting was talking about “spiritual formation.”  That’s kind of a buzz word in the church world right now.  He had lots to say about this topic, and what he had to say was very well thought out.  I, however, had a hard time understanding what he was saying.  Why?  Because he didn’t use any stories.  There were not examples, no parables, no narrative.  Because there was no narrative, no “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra,” no “Juliet on her Balcony,” I couldn’t grasp the material.  I understood every word he was saying, but the words were like vapor in a disembodied haze.”

Read the entire post here.

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