Make the narrative strange

I’m tired of reading Christian books. While growing up, I had constant access to Christian literature through my church library. I read it all: from Bible picture books to devotionals to “inspirational” fiction for girls. Since then, I’ve been at a Christian university, which has meant wading through endless theological textbooks.

All this is to say that, when editor Aiden Enns suggested I read an interview with theologian Walter Brueggemann, my first reaction was not one of excitement. However, as I went through this piece by “Pastor Dan” Schultz, I was engaged almost in spite of myself. Brueggemann is very concerned with the idea of narrative, and how our lives are defined by the sort of narrative that we adhere to.

“I think that narratives construct the world for us and dictate policy and practice, and I think that our society is trying to live by a false narrative; the narrative of the national security state. So it seems to me the challenge for the church is to see whether we can show we have a better narrative, a more accurate narrative, out of which to generate policy and practice,” he says.

In the interview, Brueggemann shows how our narrative choices affect everything: patriotism, consumerism, military power, gender relations, and church relations. Although I entered this interview disinterested, I left thinking about my own narrative choices. Check it out for yourself.

Rachel Barber is an editorial intern at Geez magazine

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