Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Same Story, New Package

There isn't anything new under the sun, is there?

I mean, there's a reason people say that...because it's true.

Think about all the compelling stories you've ever read, or been told. Or think about all the inspirational movies you've seen, what's the common thread? Well, the answer is (for many), that a common story is being told. That is to say...we've heard the story before.

For example, a story about a guy and a girl who are deliriously happy together, then (whether by poor fortune, or a misdeed) torn apart, the rest of the narrative explores the protagonist's struggle to fight and win the other back.

Sound familiar?

What about a story about someone coming from nothing, having everything in the world against him (or her), and at the end of the story they've climbed the mountain, or bested all the obstacles placed in their path. They've overcome, and their victory is so sweet.

What about the story of a nation that is facing a threat to it's very freedom, or even existence. The nation rallies, and fights back coming together and driving out the alien (whether human or extra terrestrial) forces. There's great celebration in the land afterward.

How many times have we heard these, and a great many more, stories?

I would venture to guess that, there isn't a script in Hollywood today that has a completely new script. Something never before seen, or experienced by humankind. I would also wager that a fair bulk (somewhere near 100%) of scripts play on a theme that's likely been done time, and time again.

Are humans not smart enough to think of something new? Have we really cashed all our chips when it comes to stories? Or is there something inherently powerful in the stories we choose to tell time, and time again?

This is why, despite the efforts of many in human history, the Bible is an absolutely brilliant, and completely relevant book now, even after centuries upon centuries of persecution, book-burning and outright dismissal by some.

The Bible tells the stories we all tell in our own lives.
Maybe that's what brings a sacredness to the text, in the eyes of its readers. It really has a transcending power to it. It doesn't appeal to just one ethnic, or social group. It's read worldwide.
Different cultures.
Different beliefs.
Different social classes.
Maybe this is what brings the power of healing to people who needed to heal.
The strength to forgive to those who had been hard of heart.

It's a realization that we aren't alone in this. That the stories we carry, and the stories we've told, have already been told before us.

The Bible is just paper and ink. It's a book like any other. Yet it, to this day, is the #1 bestseller in human history. Why is that?

Because it tells the stories that matter, and we're compelled to respond.

I would go so far to say that, if we choose to, we can examine these common threads in the story lines of the past and our lives in the present, and we can actually stumble into the right, best and truest way to live.

Maybe that's why the stories that get told over, and over and over again matter so much to us.

Yeah, we can dress them up in different packaging, change the boy hero to a girl hero, have her meet some talking animals along the way, change the kind cook to a kind librarian, but who are we kidding?

We're telling the story of a brave child, who is given opportunities to go beyond what others think possible. A child who has the opportunity to save the world from it's imminent destruction. A child who, given countless opportunities, refuses to turn back.

There's a common story line that runs in all of us. I think God put it there. We know when we're in the dark places. We know when we have an opportunity to run or stand. We are living the stories we love, and we don't even know it half the time! Yet, when I read something like the Bible, it isn't unlike looking into a mirror. The question is, how will I respond to it? How will you respond?

Will we let the stories of others shape and guide our story today? Or will we continue to blaze a trail blindly, thinking no one has traveled the path we walk before?

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