Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to Storytelling and the Dark Ages

     "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and come to know, that you are the Holy One of God," John 6:68-69.

      Everyone likes a good story.  That is why the entertainment industry racks up the billions they do.  As Christians, we have a great story and that is the Gospel.  The Gospel starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation and is the most amazing thing we can share with anyone.  Yet storytelling is not the entirety or even predominantly how we should share the Gospel.  For the Gospel is our power and our power is the word of God working with the Holy Spirit to convict and regenerate those who are lost.
     Peter understood well the power of the word of God as illustrated by the verses quoted at the top of this post.  He must have been incredibly confused and lonely at this moment in time because Jesus had just scattered a monstrous crowd by telling His story.  Not long before, the crowd, and probably Peter and the disciples, had desired to make Jesus an earthly King and carry Him off.  When everyone scattered, because of Jesus' hard teachings and difficult story, Jesus looked at Peter and said, paraphrasing, "ET Tu Brute".  "Do you want to go away as well."  Peter's answer, though born of desperation and confusion, was his greatest pre-Spirit filled moment.  The word of God and Jesus had drawn him in and their was no turning back.  We need to have this same hunger for the word of God that Peter had and the Psalmist and all of the great heroes of the Bible.  Are you washed in the word?  Do you let the word search your heart, dividing between soul and spirit, down to the marrow?  Does the word convict you and bring you to tears and repentance and exhort you to ideas and actions that amaze you when you look back?  These are just some of the things that the word of God will do when empowered with the Holy Spirit.  The word of God brought humanity out of Papal tyranny and brought enlightenment to Europe.  The word of God was the foundation of the greatest educational/literacy revolution in world history as God accomplished this amazing feat through Martin Luther, John Calvin and other reformers.  Wherever the Bible is held high, civilization prospers and progresses.
     Now for something completely different.  A well known(in Lincoln, NE) liberal pastor was preaching the other day and he had a different slant.  Now, I do not have his words directly in front of me but I can paraphrase and capture the tenor of his sermon.  He was bemoaning the advent of the printing press!  This is no joke.  This man, who I've heard previously state that he reads for a couple hours every day, was upset at the printing press.  He was concerned that the printing press lead to the idolatry of the written word, which we could readily infer was the Bible.  He waxed on about how the great tradition of storytelling had been lost and that previously people learned their Bible through the telling and retelling of stories.  Oh, how we lost so much richness in our lives, he complained, because of the advent of movable type!  Well, there is a good reason for why people told stories back then: they were illiterate!  He wants us, this pastor of a mainline protestant church, to go back to a pre-Reformation understanding of faith!  How sad, hypocritical and preposterous.  This doctor of theology wants to close books to the great unwashed. There was a name for those pre-protestant days in Europe: the Dark Ages.  Me, I'll try and think like Peter and hunger and thirst for Jesus and His word so that His light shines in the darkness.

     God Bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel.


  1. He wants the people to be illiterate so he can tell them whatever he wants and they'll believe whatever he wants..... sad day

  2. That is not exactly what he said, but is the inescapable conclusion of his words.