I’m over at Gospel-Centered Discipleship today. This article is my first step in developing some of the ideas for the next book I’m working on.
“We are narrative creatures, and we need narrative nourishment—narrative catechisms”
—N. D. Wilson
Many of my earliest childhood memories revolve around stories. My parents read to me a good bit. Many of these books were passed down to me and I now read them to my children. Although I didn’t know it then, I was being discipled through those stories. They were providing “narrative nourishment” as N. D. Wilson calls it. Just as we use catechism to sear truths deep into our bones, we must use stories to sear truths into our hearts. Stories mature us by lay holding of our affections. We love the truths of stories and so we learn to love the God of truth. In Desiring the Kingdom, James K. A. Smith describes this:
Our ultimate love is oriented by and to a picture of what we think it looks like for us to live well, and that picture then governs, shapes, and motivates our decisions and actions . . . . A vision of the good life captures our hearts and imaginations not by providing a set of rules or ideas, but by painting a picture of what it looks like for us to flourish and live well. This is why such pictures are communicated powerfully in stories, legends, myths, plays, novels, and films rather than dissertations, messages, and monographs” (53).
Famed biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins acknowledges the power of story when he recently said, “I think it's rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism – we get enough of that anyway . . . ” and “Even fairy tales, the ones we all love, with wizards or princesses turning into frogs or whatever it was. There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable” (The Telegraph, “Reading fairy stories to children is harmful, says Richard Dawkins”).
Read the entire article here.
Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and writes for CBMW Manual, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Borrowed Light, and other publications. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and offers freelance editing and book formatting services. He blogs at Grace for Sinners and Marginalia: On the Margins of the Writing Life. His family is covenanted at Downtown Presbyterian Church.