Is it in our DNA?
That’s what deluxe story editor Shawn Coyne says, who we all need to pay more attention to…
I believe that we all intuitively understand Story Structure. It’s in our DNA.The Internal Genre of The Tipping Point, by Shawn Coyne
So, this idea of story being written into our human code somehow, is our next discovery.
And while you may feel familiar with everything I’ve thrown at you so far about your God being the Great Storyteller, it’s possible this idea will be news to you…possibly something you haven’t thought of before…
There is a shared sense among human beings that we see our lives as a story.
Does this ring true?
It should for you Christians, because check out this disturbing observation from Chesterton (disturbing to us anyway)…
I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller.G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Lest you think Chesterton is alone in this, look at this…
If drama could unveil the deeper dimensions of the truth of things, might there be a dramatic structure to every human life? To the whole of reality?George Weigel, Witness to Hope
Paula is the one who found these two quotes, and it made us realize it was a path we needed to pursue, if Christianity is the story we are in. Check out these other observations and insights she found about human beings seeing their life as a story.
First, look at a transcript of what Robert McKee said in a video:
Story mirrors life. Story, in fact, mirrors the mind. There’s been a great enterprise, certainly by science of all kinds.Social sciences, but also neurology and others, trying to understand how the human mind works.
And the one grand idea that they’ve, understanding that they have achieved in the last decades, is that first and foremost, the mind organizes life as a story. This is how we put things together and understand things. When we think back, when we remember our life and try to make sense out of our life, how do we remember it, as a series of facts, as a deductive, inductive argument? Of course not. We take it and we create a little story for ourselves, a little inciting incident, in which things went out of balance for ourselves, the struggle we went through to restore the balance, how and why eventually the balance was restored or not. But we put the past together into a little story in order to understand ourselves and our own existence.
Story is a model of expectation, of anticipation, of planning for the future.When you think toward the future toward what you hope will happen or you dread might happen, how do you try and prepare yourself for life? You imagined a little story for yourself, a coherent story with a beginning, a middle, and end. A hypothetical story that somehow then prepares you for life.
That is just what we do each and every day in order to organize our own lives.Legendary Writing Teacher Robert McKee at Thinking Digital
“each and every day”
We can’t ignore that. And your Charles Taylor guy doesn’t…
So my plea here is to see the telling of stories in fact and fiction as a creative or constitutive feature of language. But you can only see this if you go beyond the single sentence and look at texts, complex, drawn-out accounts. This constitutive power is of the greatest importance, because it is through story that we make sense of our lives.Charles Taylor, The Language Animal
And the question of meaning is always on our minds. So, look at something else McKee said…
Humans always struggle to make meaning out of their little piece of reality, and the way they shape that meaning or try to live that meaning is story.THE RUMPUS INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT MCKEE, BY SHEILA HETI, The Rumpus, November 17th, 2009
For, if our lives have any hope of having meaning in this meaningless world, it looks like story is the way to go, to find our own super-power, to make our courage matter, to find that place in the world where believing that each of us is unique and exceptional…
“Tuning in to the truth of our own story can be daunting for any of us. Our first impulse is to deflect our stories, by saying they’re all too common, that no one would be interested. Why should anyone care? But, in fact, tuning in to your own story is your power. We are all unique. We have all faced difficult circumstances, experienced triumphs, setbacks, and disappointments. But it is how we have made our choices in the face of adversity—how we harnessed courage at our own thresholds—that makes each of us unique and exceptional. This is the story others want to hear. This is why you need to tell your story. And tell it well.”Bobette Buster, Voices on Faith & Film: Exploring A Reel Spirituality, Fuller Studio
Story is us.
And look at this, from a writer in your own Christian family…
Life, you’ll notice, is a story.
Life doesn’t come to us like a math problem. It comes to us the way that a story does, scene by scene. You wake up. What will happen next? You don’t get to know – you have to enter in, take the journey as it comes. The sun might be shining. There might be a tornado outside. Your friends might call and invite you to go sailing. You might lose your job.
Life unfolds like a drama. Doesn’t it? Each day has a beginning and an end. There are all sorts of characters, all sorts of settings. A year goes by like a chapter from a novel. Sometimes it seems like a tragedy. Sometimes like a comedy. Most of it feels like a soap opera. Whatever happens, it’s a story through and through.John Eldredge, Epic
In this paper I am going to argue not only that we need stories in our lives, but also that our wishful instincts do not mislead us. A life is a story. That is the proper way to look at it. The best way to interpret and explain a life is in a narrative way. No other way will do.
Why Secular Psychology Is Not Enough, By William Kirk Kilpatrick, Imprimis, April 1986
And there’s more which Paula showed us. Turns out story is important for reading your gospels, or so says Pennington and Bauckham…
We are story people. In the very fabric of our being we are spring-loaded for story. Story is how we make sense of our world and of our lives. Story powerfully creates life and hope, the lack of which is depression. …. Abstract reflection and doctrine are necessary and good, but they do not have the same effect and transformative power that a story does.Reading the Gospels Wisely, by Jonathan T. Pennington and Richard Bauckham
If it’s transformative power you want, story’s your vehicle.
And here’s something, from one of our famous secular story allies…
“A man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his life as if he were telling a story.”Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Here’s a different way of seeing the world, and this from one of your own…
I’ve come to see my life, in its tiny way, as part of the whole drama of creation, enacted by creatures made in the image of God, living in time, capable of conceiving perfection but by their nature imperfect.Malcolm Muggeridge, Christ and the Media
You shouldn’t dismiss this easily. It’s a path to finding a point to our lives, a purpose, a plot. And this guy says it’s very Christian…
The fact is we do look upon our lives as stories. However difficult to elucidate, we feel there is something like a point or purpose or plot to life. We are even audacious enough to want the story to have a nice sensible plot, preferably like a 19th-century novel. We decidedly do not want to think of our life as “a tale told by an idiot…signifying nothing”—although that seems to be the interpretation favored by the social sciences. This concept of life as story helps to explain why we like to tell stories, listen to stories, and read stories. As G.K. Chesterton put it, all life is an allegory and we can understand it only in parable.
I, for one, take that very seriously. I believe that if you are not looking at life poetically and dramatically then you are not looking at it properly. And this, it seems to me, is also the way Christianity instructs us to look at life. After all, Christianity has come to us as a story, not as a theory or a philosophy or a science. Or perhaps we might say that it is many stories that are part of one vast tale. There is the story of Creation, the story of Abraham, the story of Joseph and his brothers, the story of King David, the story of the Good Samaritan, the Christmas story, the Gospel stories. Moreover, we speak of God as the author of Creation and the author of our Salvation, and sometimes we refer to the drama of Salvation and the part we are meant to play in it.Why Secular Psychology Is Not Enough, By William Kirk Kilpatrick, Imprimis, April 1986
But, it’s not just for you Christians to embrace. Our sympathetic late friend, David Foster Wallace, puts it in terms even I can understand…
And it’s so true it’s trite that human beings are narrative animals: every culture countenances itself as culture via a story, whether mythopoeic or politico-economic; every whole person understands his lifetime as an organized, recountable series of events and changes with at least a beginning and middle. We need narratives like we need space-time; it’s a built-in thing.David Foster Wallace, Both Flesh and Not
And here’s your brilliant philosopher, Peter Kreeft, weighing in again…
Life is a quest. This is the basic image and basic plot of all stories;it is what makes even fairy tales “true to life.”Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
And don’t skip over this…
The power of stories to transfer information and define our own existence has been shown time and again. We are fundamentally driven to find and tell stories, likened to Pan Narrans or Homo Narrativus. Stories are encoded in art, language, and even in the mathematics of physics: We use equations to represent both simple and complicated functions that describe our observations of the real world. In science, we formalize the ideas that best fit our experience with principles such as Occam’s Razor: The simplest story is the one we should trust.The emotional arcs of stories are dominated by six basic shapes, by Andrew J. Reagan, Lewis Mitchell, Dilan Kiley, Christopher M. Danforth, and Peter Sheridan Dodds, July 8, 2016
Stories matter, says your Pixar/Disney Christian hero, Pete Doctor. It’s our universal human language, if you care to connect, that is…
Why do stories matter to human beings?Pete Docter, Voices on Faith & Film: Exploring A Reel Spirituality, Fuller Studio
I think people are captivated by story because that’s the way we speak to one another. How many times have you sat bored in class or a church while the speaker shares factual information but as soon as they start saying, “You know, my sister-in-law got in an accident at the grocery store . . .” we immediately sit forward and feel connected. With stories, we become in tune with the experience they’re relating, and that is just hardwired into our brains.
And your brilliant James Sire makes it very personal…
Christianity, with its pattern of creation, fall, redemption and glorification, is a master narrative. I see my life and the lives of others as tiny chapters in that master story.James Sire, Naming the Elephant
And here is your Chesterton guy again. If there was ever a man before his time…
People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are. Life may sometimes legitimately appear as a book of science. Life may sometimes appear, and with a much greater legitimacy, as a book of metaphysics. But life is always a novel. Our existence may cease to be a song; it may cease even to be a beautiful lament. Our existence may not be an intelligible justice, or even a recognizable wrong. But our existence is still a story. In the fiery alphabet of every sunset is written, “to be continued in our next.”G.K. Chesterton, Heretics
So, it sure looks like, if Christianity is the story we are in, then your God, the Great Storyteller, has designed story to be powerful with human beings.
That is not something we would have ever thought of before. Have you?
I know from my own experience, that it is hard to expand your way of seeing. This whole assignment upended my life. I’ve had to think in ways and explore trails which have led me to very unsettling places.
And one of the biggest eye openers in seeing my own life as a story was on the question of desire.
We’ll begin again with the expert, McKee. He helped us to see so much more about human beings in this grand story we call life.
This comes from Stage One of the Eight Stages of Story, which McKee laid out in his book, Storynomics. We’ll visit the stages more in depth later as it relates to your Christian story found in the Bible, but we need to introduce this here to further explore how we see our lives as a story.
And this should be important to explore for you Christians especially…if you want to connect with your fellow human beings, that is.
Here is how McKee describes this first stage…
Robert McKee: Stage one of the creation of a story is deciding on the target audience, that target audience’s need, even if they don’t know what they need. You know what they need and once they have what they need they’re be happy to have it.Why Is Robert McKee’s Marketing Strategy The Only One That Works?, By Bruce Weinstein, Forbes, March 20, 2018
PRIME PRINCIPLE: MEANINGFUL EMOTIONAL EFFECT
Before an author composes his story, he needs a clear vision of his audience and the final effect his work will have on both their thoughts and feelings.Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace
And that fits with what Shawn Coyne calls the Internal and External Content genres…
1. EXTERNAL CONTENT GENRES define your protagonist(s) external objects of desire.Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid
What they want.
2. INTERNAL CONTENT GENRES define your protagonist(s) internal objects of desire.
What they need.
So, if we’re talking about life as a story, who is the target audience? Everyone. And we all have needs and wants…
We are driven through life by our needs and wants. So must the characters we create be motivated by what they want. The driving force of characters is their desire.Sol Stein, Stein On Writing
We all share the same crucial human experiences. Each of us is suffering and enjoying, dreaming and hoping of getting through our days with something of value.Robert McKee, Story
There is so much material we could place here, because the needs and wants of human beings are so deep and wide. It’s a universal connecting point, no matter which story you believe we’re in. In fact, a person who honestly doesn’t want anything is the person on the bridge ready to jump and end it all. Our needs and wants get us out of bed every morning.
If you’re human, your needs and wants are a combination of the desire for the good things – love, happiness, meaning, relationship, order, etc., etc. – and escape from the bad – suffering, evil, chaos etc., etc.
This is quite a list, I know. It’s not simple being human. Maybe this is one of those things that should really ring your bell about being made in the very image and likeness of your God, if it’s the Christian story we are in.
But, you can relate, right? I really connect with this Ganssle guy, do you?
My core identity involves my deepest desires about who I am and who I long to be. When I give it careful thought, I realize that my deeper longings are not simply vacation longings. I want something more. I want to be a certain kind of person. I want a life that is centered on what is real, what is beautiful, and what is good. I want a life filled with relationships with other people that are characterized by trust, love, security, and fun. My deeper longings are for something much more than comfort and pleasure.Gregory E. Ganssle, Our Deepest Desires
That hardly sounds like animals vying for the top of the food chain.
But this brings us to the core of seeing our lives as a story. We simply cannot ignore this question of desire. Well, in my confused denial, I thought maybe I could, until Paula confronted me with this from McKee…
More often than not, confusion in story is due to a confusion of desire. It’s when you do not understand what your character wants, that the story goes left and right, up and down, forward and backward and confuses you, because you cannot find that spin of action. You cannot find what it is the character wants, and therefore is constantly struggling to achieve it. And so it becomes confusing.
The same thing would be true of life. When you’re stifled in life, and feel stuck and you don’t feel like you’re living your life fully, the best answer I know, the best way I know to get back on track is to ask yourself the same question: What do I want? What do I really, really want? In the midnight of my soul, ask yourself that question and come up with the honest answer. And then have the courage to pursue that desire. And life becomes a lot more livable.
Doesn’t necessarily mean that your story’s going to have a happy ending. You may or may not get what you want out of life. But at least when you’re pursuing a desire that in your heart you really want, and not what other people want, not what you think you should want and all that. But when you’re pursuing a desire that you really, really want, then as I said, life becomes livable. And your life story comes to life.Robert McKee, Q&A: How Do We Live a Better Story?
See that? Your story comes to life. McKee is brilliant. But, you don’t have to be a brilliant writer or story expert to make life more livable, no matter what story we are in. You just must identify what your desires are.
And consider this, from one of your famous pastors…
Life is war. And the main battles are fought at the level of desires, not deeds.Do You Read the Bible Like a Nonbeliever?, By John Piper, Desiring God, AUGUST 22, 2017
And these “main battles” also seem to point to something we all experience…
The creative force that rouses powerful storytelling is, as Jean-Paul Sartre taught, scarcity. There simply isn’t enough of anything in this world to go around: not enough food; nor enough love, and never enough time. To satisfy human needs from their most basic to their most dream-filled, we must battle paucities that deny our yearnings. In short, the essence of reality is humanity’s ongoing strivings against negation.Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace
McKee’s language there is startling to us. You’ll have to do your own study to understand fully the power behind his use of the word ‘negation’ here. But, even so, doesn’t this story approach bring “the curse in the garden” alive for you Christians? Paula suggested to me privately that scarcity began in your Christian story right there at the beginning, at your inciting incident (more on this later)…in the garden.
Are your juices flowing yet? Let’s ratchet it up more. Notice how all this connects with these insights…
All stories are a form of communication that expresses the dramatic code.John Truby, The Anatomy of Story
The dramatic code, embedded deep in the human psyche, is an artistic description of how a person can grow or evolve. This code is also a process going on underneath every story. The storyteller hides this process beneath particular characters and actions. But the code of growth is what the audience ultimately takes from a good story.
Let’s look at the dramatic code in its simplest form.
In the dramatic code, change is fueled by desire. The “story world” doesn’t boil down to “I think, therefore I am” but rather “I want, therefore I am.” Desire in all of its facets is what makes the world go around. It is what propels all conscious, living things and gives them direction. A story tracks what a person wants, what he’ll do to get it, and what costs he’ll have to pay along the way.
That’s powerful stuff. There is so much fruit for you Christians in this, if you’d devote yourselves to the study of story.
And now can you see why we are frequently asking of you, “What is it you want here in the story?” Truby says desire is what makes the world go around.
And here, one of our favorites, Sol Stein tells where skilled writers focus– universal wants…
It is easier for the reader to identify with a want that is close to universal and not too specialized. The wants that interest a majority of readers include gaining or losing a love, achieving a lifetime ambition, seeing that justice is done, saving a life, seeking revenge, and accomplishing a task that at first seemed impossible.Sol Stein, Stein On Writing
It’s all about connecting with your audience. Or in this case, since we’re exploring seeing life as a story, it’s all about connecting with your fellow human beings.
This is something worth giving thought to. Paula showed us this from your hero Ravi…
The first question is of life’s purpose and meaning: What does life and living really mean? Then there comes the question of pleasure and enjoyment: How do I fulfill my desires? The pursuit of pleasure is at the core of our existence. We work, we earn a living, we return to our homes, but then we make decisions for our enjoyment: Are there any boundaries for pleasure? Then there is the third question: What does one make of all the suffering and pain we see in this world?Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods
There you have it. Meaning, pleasure, pain. And all of these hang on the hinge of the fourth major question, a very defining one: How and why am I here in the first place?
There we go again, asking that haunting question again… How and why am I here in the first place?
This confounded assignment keeps pushing my nose back to this stinky question. And if it’s the Christians story we are in, you want me asking these questions, right?
The Christian Story is like many other great stories in that it deals with the great issues all people struggle with and the great questions everyone asks. It’s a story about peace shattered by rebellion, about love and betrayal, about self-sacrifice, and about redemption. All of our deepest aspirations, all of our longings, all of our hopes and even our struggles – all of the conflicts in all of history are all tied to this story.Greg Koukl, The Story of Reality
Wow. I need to take a break from dealing with these “great issues all people are struggling with and great questions everyone asks” stuff. A secularist like me can only take so much.
But Paula is encouraging me to carry on with one more question for you. As I said before, we’ll visit in depth the Christian story, as found in your Bible, in more depth through Robert McKee’s eight stages of story on this web site.
When you study story more, you’ll read how important first lines are in novels, and we all can quote many of the brilliant ones. So, Paula thinks we would do well to finish out this section and whet your appetite for future blessings in your reading by asking this question–
Can you see how the story in the Bible begins, the very first words, by starring your God as the Active Protagonist?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1
Brilliant. Just brilliant.
And it means the story of every person flows from your God. If it’s the Christian story we’re in, He made us, every one of us.
And every person sees their life as a story, and everyone of those ‘people stories’ flows from your God.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, then the human connection to him is very foundational.
Wouldn’t it also follow that story is the key to our connection with each other?
So, are you able to accept now that we all see our lives as a story?
Well, let’s move on anyway… and show you more of
what story is good for. Maybe this next
section will be a little less intense for us, and I think you’ll find it
Story and Memory
Alright. So, let’s agree your God has designed story to be powerful with human beings. Well, Paula thought of something else that fits. Our next area to explore is the question of Story and Memory.
Remembering is very important to your God, or so we gathered when we looked into your holy scriptures, since the Bible is full of admonitions to “remember”. Lots of them.
And it appears that part of the reason memory matters to your God is because the story isn’t over. He wants people to see and remember the whole story. Here’s McKee again, just to keep you connecting the expert with your Bible…
A story’s spine of action traces the protagonist’s constant quest for his object of desire. His persistent pursuit, driven by his super-intention, struggling against the story’s forces of antagonism, propels the entire telling from the inciting incident through the story‘s progressions to the protagonist’s eventual crisis decision and climactic action, ending in a moment of resolution.Robert McKee, Dialogue
We’ll deal in depth in other places on this web site with the idea that the whole Bible is one story and not a collection of disconnected stories.
But our question here is this: What if your God has chosen to communicate to human beings through story, which he has designed to enhance their ability to remember?
This humorous anecdote by Robert Barron will likely remind you of situations you’ve experienced yourselves, and he makes a very good point, if you want to evangelize the nones…
A few years ago, the daughter of one of my Word on Fire colleagues came to our office. Her mother said, “Tell Fr. Barron how much you know about Star Wars.” With that, an eight-year-old girl launched into a detailed account of the Star Wars narrative, involving subplots, extremely minor characters, thematic trajectories, and so on. As she was unfolding her tale, I thought of the many educators whom I have heard over the years assuring me that young people cannot possibly take in the complexities, convoluted plot twists, and strange names found in the Scriptures. I don’t know, but I don’t think Methuselah and Habakkuk are really any more puzzling than Obi-Wan Kenobi and Lando Calrissian.EVANGELIZING THE NONES: THE 2017 ERASMUS LECTURE, by Robert Barron, First Things, January 2018
And remember how McKee talked about how story brings learning without effort? It turns out even your Andy Stanley guy agrees with him…
I’m always amazed at how easy it is to retell the entire plot of a movie after having seen it once. And while I’m watching the movie I’m making no effort at all to remember anything. Stories are easy to remember and repeat.Andy Stanley, Communicating For A Change
Let’s get back to McKee again. And might I add a heads-up for pastors that use bullet points and lists (even those clever alliterated lists)…
Stories have been implanted in you thousands of times since your mother took you on her knee. You’ve read good books, seen movies, attended plays. What’s more, human beings naturally want to work through stories. Cognitive psychologists describe how the human mind, in its attempt to understand and remember, assembles the bits and pieces of experience into a story, beginning with a personal desire, a life objective, and then portraying the struggle against the forces that block that desire. Stories are how we remember; we tend to forget lists and bullet points.Storytelling That Moves People: A Conversation with Screenwriting Coach Robert McKee by Bronwyn Fryer, Harvard Business Review, June 2003
And here is more from McKee on story being the way we are wired to remember…
Classical design is a model of memory and anticipation. When we think back to the past, do we piece events together antistructured?Robert McKee, Story
Minimalistically? No. We collect and shape memories around an Archplot to bring the past back vividly. When we daydream about the future, what we dread or pray will happen, is our vision minimalistic?
Antistructured? No, we mold our fantasies and hopes into an Archplot. Classical design displays the temporal, spatial, and causal patterns of human perception, outside which the mind rebels.
Mind if we take a little bunny trail here? There is the question of national memory, and it appears this issue of story and memory is very relevant to your unfolding drama in America…
Lincoln had discovered for us the truest touchstone of republican patriotism: the unifying power of our common national memory. Memory is both conceptual and visceral. It lets us take pride in our ideals and our experience — our origins and our progress — and the fact that both are ours. It can serve as a fountain of affection because it is shared with our fellow citizens, not simply as a set of principles but as a life lived together.
A patriotism of common national memory could be the answer to the riddle of a politics divided over how to be unified. It is not a way to make our differences go away, but rather to allow us better to live with them and so with each other. It could help counteract our tendency to think of our political opponents as speaking from outside the American tradition, and so as threats to be warded off rather than fellow citizens to be engaged. Our tradition is more capacious than we tend to imagine and gives us more room for genuine politics than we too often assume.‘Patriotism’ Has Always Divided Us. National Memory Can Unite Us. By Yuval Levin, Washington Post, June 30, 2017
Your famous Abraham Lincoln was a story guy…
Lincoln chose humor over vitriol and understanding over judgment. He liked telling stories more than delivering lectures and making suggestions more than issuing orders. A strong, confident man, but one who also experienced dark depression, Lincoln was mild-mannered. His capacity for empathy was striking to those around him.
Lincoln had important flaws, but was providentially suited to his times. In a time of disunity, he tried to remind Americans what united them. Amid conflict, he sought conciliation. Amid anger, he advocated “charity for all.” Amid despair, he summoned “the better angels of our nature.”Today’s leaders should ask themselves: What would Lincoln do?, By David Blankenhorn, Better Angels, February 12, 2019
America’s story is a glorious adventure — not a grim catalogue of irredeemable sins. The sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-progressive-god sermonizing that comes at us in endless, stultifying repetition from the press, Hollywood, and academia — today’s hysterical, bug-eyed, Puritan witch-burners — is the acid-bath dissolving our culture and our nation.
If America is to come together again, it will do so only through the restoration of what Lincoln called our mystic chords of memory, a common culture that emerges from a shared and sympathetic understanding of our past — the sort of shared understanding that can bring a Union and a Confederate officer to a wedding, and former Union General George Armstrong Custer, alias Marshal Armstrong, to the rescue.America’s Next Civil War Will Be Worse Than Our Last, H. W. CROCKER III, The American Spectator, July 26, 2018
Rod Dreher thinks this memory thing is pretty important to both your faith and your country…
Conditions are about to get much worse for us. We must reflect soberly on this fact, and act wisely, but decisively. Just over a decade ago, Robert Louis Wilken, writing in First Things, said that the greatest danger facing the Church is forgetfulness. That is, in our post-Christian culture, we are rapidly losing memory of what it means to be a faithful Christian. “Nothing is more needful today than the survival of Christian culture, because in recent generations this culture has become dangerously thin,” he wrote. “At this moment in the Church’s history in this country (and in the West more generally) it is less urgent to convince the alternative culture in which we live of the truth of Christ than it is for the Church to tell itself its own story and to nurture its own life.”Rod Dreher, AFTER OBERGEFELL: A FIRST THINGS SYMPOSIUM, by Various, First Things, June 27, 2015
Wow. I’d learn story, if I were you. It will help you to reach out to your fellow human beings across the great divide and help you within your Church too.
But, the power of story is more than just about memory. Let’s get down to one of the specific parts of story called plot, and see how that relates.