Narrative and Purpose

Yeah, so none of the goals I have set from myself have come to fruition on this blog. But I will keep trying. Things will definitely get a little squirrely in the next coming month for a couple of reasons. The first is the obvious one: school. As a senior I have this HUGE thesis I have to do and so part one is due at the end of this term so I will be banging that out next month. BUT! I also will be attempting NaNoWriMo next month so I will be writing none stop for that too… Maybe I will start posting pieces of that to the blog :/ I don’t know. But to top that all off I also am contemplating attempting to start a different blog up that is dealing with different issues, not sure what I will call it yet but I want to try and digest some of the complex issues that we young ’uns have to deal with in this day and age and talk about them in a simpler or clearer from. It would deal with politics, economics and religion to name a few of the terrifying labyrinths I am contemplating venturing into. But who knows if I will actually get that off the ground…

> And now onto today’s post!

I feel like I have already talked about this issue twice so I may be beating a very dead horse, however I feel like I need to clarify this issue and crystallize it as best I can for myself before I can go on and explore the vast landscape which is the world of narrative.

Why do I care so much about narrative?

Well to be honest the answer to that at first lies back in the recesses of my past. I have been enthralled to narrative since I first picked up a book. The worlds of Lewis, Tolkien, Jacques, and Brooks to name a few enchanted me because of their story. After I first read The Hobbit or turned the last page of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe I knew I wanted that for myself. I wanted to write. But how? Was the question that always came to my mind. How can I make worlds like theirs? Well twenty-two years later my answer is: I have no #$)(*&$)(&%! clue but I will keep trying.

I say that on the one hand to bring some humor to the discussion but on the other I say it with all honesty. It always amazes me what the writers whom I adore have been able to craft with these simple yet frustrating little machinations called letters and words. Entire worlds have sprung from ink on a page! How can I match that brilliant light before which I seem so incompetent! And so I blunder on and keep trying hoping that at some point I can look back and see that my footsteps have not just been a mindless wandering but instead have been a path leading me towards a goal. Where that goal will take me I do not know. What I do know is that I want to go there.

The next part of the answer lies in a different sphere. My childhood fixation with masters of the craft may have set my feet to moving but it my dealings with the Bible and Christianity which has fixed understanding narrative as one of my life goals. Why? Because the Bible is a giant narrative which teaches us about God, his purposes and the reality we inhabit. I believe that the Bible shows us that we are in a narrative being told by God. Hence the better we understand what a narrative is the better we can sift through this beautiful story being constructed around us. It will help us answer some of the great philosophical and moral quandaries of the age and it will clarify how we should think about history and the path our world seems set upon. I believe that it will also help us better understand and interpret the Bible.

I hope that was clear and concise.

Questions or comments are very much appreciated.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey!

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How Does Narrative Apply to Everyday Life?

“Narrative isn’t just about learning why a book is good. It is about learning about life and reality as well.”

The concept of narrative is not just about reading a really good book or watching a masterful film. Understanding narrative is essential to understanding humanity and our place and role as individuals. People often ask the question: what is my purpose? If my assertion that we are within a grand tale is correct than the answer to that question must be answered with a view to narrative. When viewed as a story we understand that we a characters in a drama. Not cogs in a machine. Our purpose is tied up in what role we play in the narrative. Our stories define our purpose. When human purpose is understood in this way we understand that an individual’s purpose is two fold. First man must come to terms with his life as he lives it. Secondly he must come to terms with the author who is writing his life. So man’s purpose is to seek to understand his own story and to more importantly come to terms with his Creator. These two tasks are more than enough challenge to fill any lifetime. To do business with God is no easy matter and to understand what God is up to in his story is difficult to see.

These tasks are not impossible either. We must keep in mind that God’s demands on us as human beings is not to arrive at all of the answers but to simply try to seek. We must knock at the door. Opening it is God’s job. As Kierkegaard points out we are subjective because we are beings. Our entire lives are spent coming into being. Only God has fully arrived at being. He is. We are becoming. God wants us to focus on the journey. Our task is to enjoy the view, to study the map and to ask ourselves the question: Are we willing to trust God as our guide or will we decide to go our own way. If we trust him we are promised a good destination. If we do not trust him we are told we will go astray. God has not promised the road is easy. In fact He tends to throw in a bog or a steep climb in more often than we would like to force us to answer the question of trust.

Understanding narrative helps us put ourselves and our experiences into perspective. We understand how small our part is in the grand scale yet we also begin to see how necessary each part is to making the whole a great tale. Viewing our lives and reality as narrative does have many implications to our worldview and philosophy. It will inform our view of our own worth, of God, of history, and of the future. But those are discussions for future posts. :p

For now enjoy life and may you seek and find.

Happy Tales!

~SJW

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An Update and an Apology

Wow.

Soooo it has been awhile since I did anything on here and to be honest the fault is fully my own. I should have been putting more time into work this past term and I just have not been doing it. So for that I apologize. I hope that things will begin to pick up in the next week and then in the following months and hopefully I will fulfill my desire to be posting something at least once a week, although I might just start with something twice a month.

Wish me luck!

~S.J.W.

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The Trinity Issue

So thought I would throw up a quick post since I have failed to accomplish my once a week posting up to this point. School is moving faster than I can cope with most of the time, so finding or remembering to take time to write here has been difficult, but as with every New Year, time to start again with hopes of success.

So one of the tutors at Gutenberg has been raising an issue that has been of great interest to me for quite a while: The Trinity. The general question which he is looking at is: Is there a difference between what a Bible believer and a Christian would believe?

His answer is yes. One of the first places he went was to the issue of the Trinity. This seems appropriate enough in my eyes. It seems to be claimed by anyone and everyone. Yet I have always had niggling doubts in my mind because it simply does not make alot of sense. I don’t really want to lay out a major argument of my thoughts at this time so I will simple leave a question which I hope will stir thought and debate (which might lead me to post more of my thoughts).  Is the doctrine of the Trinity necessary for one to have true Biblical faith?

You can find the talks here. If you are interested there is also a pdf that goes with the first talk in the series. The talks of particular interest arePreliminary ConsiderationsDoctrine of the TrinityThe Deity of JesusIncarnation and the Doctrine of KenosisHow is Jesus God?

As always God bless and have a great New Year!

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Dream

I once had a dream. I dreamt of waking in a room which was foreign yet familiar. I had never been in that room before, but it truly felt like home. I rose from the bed to find myself clothed in the garments of sleep. While all around me was strange, my first inclination was towards exploration. Spurred by an overwhelming childish curiosity I wandered around the room, discovering the basics of a well furnished bedroom. The only object missing was a closet or dresser.

Eventually I was compelled to explore further. I went to the large arched entrance from my room and saw a long high arched hallway leading off in both directions farther than I could comprehend. My feet carried me off in one of the directions, seeming to know by themselves in which direction to go.

On both sides, I was surrounded by the high arched entrances to countless rooms filled with the beds of other sleepers. As I went by some names caught my eye. Some where more known to me than others. Far more names than my poor memory could count or remember passed before my eyes. I came to a new archway which lay not to my left or right but directly in front.

I instinctively crept to the side of the archway and peered around into the room. It shown dim but clear, from an unknown and unearthly source, as a man leaned over a loom which he worked quickly and skillfully. The sound of the clicking loom filled the space as I peered into the room. I noticed some type of tapestry hanging on the far side of the room. The man and his loom sat directly between the tapestry and myself. I could make only certain details out from the place where I spied. I saw a tree and a fiery sword clearly on the left side of the tapestry nearest where I thought it began. As my eyes traveled closer to the middle of the wall on which the cloth was hung. I saw an image I knew well. In clear visage hung a cross, a man, and an open empty tomb. It was about this time that I realized the KLICK-KLACKING of the loom had ceased and I heard a large cheery voice boom out and exclaim:

“AH! You are awake early child!”

I froze and fixed my eyes back upon the man in the middle of the room and finally replied   “Yes sir, forgive me.”

He smiled “Nothing to forgive boy! What do you make of it so far?” he asked.

“Sir?” I said.

“The tapestry, the tapestry!” He exclaimed enthusiastically.

“Oh. It is quite beautiful” I answered “the colors are perfect and the clarity is amazing. But I do not know if I understand it.”

“Hmpf!” He exclaimed rising from his loom and leading me to the tapestry. “What is confusing to you then?”

We spent the next eternity talking about every aspect of the masterpiece that confounded me. We came to the end and I queried.

“What are you working on now sir?”

“Well my boy” he answered “I am working on the next piece.”

“Really! What comes next” I asked with enthusiasm.

“Ah!” he exclaimed again “I am afraid Mankind will find out soon enough. It is not your place to know what has been withheld from all other men. I am afraid that things must get to look much, much worse before they can finally get better. Now I will show you one more thing before I send you back to your bed.” He said in the tone of a kind but stern father.

He then picked up a thread.

“This is your thread” he said “See how I have worked it here and here into the piece thus far?”

“Yes I see, but has it not been broken here and here and also here?” I asked while I pointed to the points on the string.

“Yes. I am afraid it was necessary to achieve both what was best for the tapestry and the string.” he said with a slightly pained look on his face.

“But those brakes hurt!” I protested.

“Yes, they did” he said matter of factly “but they were necessary. I am afraid that your thread must break many more times before it ends.”

“But I do not like that sir! It does not feel good. Is there no better way?” I said, now pleading.

The man almost laughed, then brought me to the tapestried wall. He pointed out a particular part on the wall I had expressed much interest in earlier. As he talked to me about it I declared that I thought it one of the most beautiful parts of the piece.

“Really?” queried my host.

“Yes” I replied with great passion.

He lifted the tapestry and showed me the thirteen main threads which ran in the back of the tapestry. They were frayed, broken and ugly on the back side, but they had created the most beautiful piece on the front. The man then showed me the anchor thread, the first thread, which had been constantly broken to form a star, stable, cross, and an empty tomb and from which all the other threads had to come.

The beauty produced by that one thread was overwhelming. He then showed me how the other thirteen threads earlier worked together to continue the beauty. He showed me how many times he had to break them in order to create such beauty. Finally I exclaimed

“Can you use me like that?”

“But it will hurt.” He replied.

“I don’t care about some pain if by my thread I can help provide such beauty as these other threads have.” I enthused.

“Well you may not be used as they were, but you will be beautiful when I am finished. But there must still be pain.”

I nodded now in understanding.

“Now” he said “You must return to your room. For it is not yet time for you to wake. But fear not. When the time comes I will wake you with all the other children who slumber.”

I nodded sadly. Reluctantly but obediently I began to walk back toward the hall of rooms. As I neared the entrance I looked back, not wanting to leave this beautiful room.

The man smiled. “You will return.”

“But please sir” I began “what shall I do until then?”

“You shall dream of this place and seek to understand the meaning behind the masterpiece I am creating. Remember I have provided you with some description of what I am doing already and yo children do not always represent it badly in your childish drawings and scribblings. You must use those tools to dream of the tapestry until I complete it and awake you all from slumber forever.”

I nodded and then headed back to my bed. I climbed in and fell asleep again…..

I have been dreaming of that tapestry ever since. I wish with all I have to finally awake in that place again and see its brilliance again instead of catching brief glimpses as through a fog or from a darkened looking glass.

Above all else I wish to go home.

Posted in The Corner Bookshelf | 2 Comments

About Comfy Chair Reviews

I plan to begin writing reviews, commentary and critiques on different narratives I am going through. This section will be where I talk about games, movies, books, TV shows, and any others narratives I find, that have interested me and have either provided good examples of what to do or what not to do.

Again as always, I welcome all comments. I want this to be a place where people share their ideas. I enjoy having my ideas shaped by discussion with others, so come let us enjoy the wild and broad land of narrative.

Happy reading!

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About the Corner Bookself

This is the category I will be using to post all of my own personal stories, poems and other various writings. I hope to slowly build a small library of my own poor scribblings and scratchings.

I hope you enjoy what comes out of my head and falls onto the paper. I welcome questions, comments and criticisms. These will by no means be set in stone, I will edit and update them from time to time.
Enjoy!

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