I love stories. I love the hero's journey, the quests, the adventure. I simply like the art of storytelling -- and as such, I like to apply storytelling to theology. Here it is, Brown's guide to evaluating theology from a story point of view.
Consider your theology. Who is the hero? If the hero isn't Christ, your theology is off. Consider your approach to spirituality, your "faith walk", whatever you've been calling it. Who is the hero? If the hero isn't Christ, then you've been looking at things the wrong way.
Simple as that.
Now, I've often said that Jesus is the hero - I am the "damsel in distress" - that's the shape of the relationship, of the Christian faith. But what got me thinking about this again was a discussion I had about penance on-line with a convert to Roman Catholicism... and we posted at the same time.
Let's look at the dialog at the end:
Me: Of course - I dig simul justus et peccator - I get that Paul had a thorn in his flesh and was told that Christ's grace was sufficient for him. I'll gladly sing, "this world's prince may still scowl fierce as he will/ he can harm us none, he's judged, the deed is done." And I will confess my sin, strive to make amends, and strive to love my neighbor because that is whom Christ has made me to be, for I am His workmanship. God grant that I see this ever more clearly until the day He comes!
Him: Maybe the fact that you don't see it clearly, just means that you don't really understand it...
Me: ... ever more clearly. You know... becoming clearer... But that's not really a response, nor, if I don't understand (as you seem to think) does it bring clarity. I expected a better answer, _____.
Him: If you truly seek seek that clarity, Eric, You will find it.
Me (at the same time): Of course, I stand in good company hoping to see more clearly - "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
Me: Hmmm... interesting, is it my seeking that will bring clarity, or will I know it because Christ has fully known me? Interesting cross posts there. Come, let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith!
Here's what got me thinking. In my approach (what I would contend is the biblical approach) - I'm not the hero. I'm not on a quest, I'm not the one doing the seeking. I am one who is saved, and I understand more and more how wondrous my Savior is, and I grow, He aids me more and more. But in the other approach -- it is supposed to be my journey, my development, what I do to grow and mature, how I can do it.
Maybe this is part of the reason why so many people feel disconnected from the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the story of Christ winning salvation for you -- but so much theological talk shifts the focus onto "our journey", our works -- it's like we turn the Christian faith into a lousy spin-off...
That's the analogy -- the Christian faith is like the Original Star Wars Trilogy... and so often we want to turn the faith into those lousy made for TV movies about the Ewoks. And we miss the point entirely.
It's not about you, it's not about your works or your praise or your strength or the justice you bring -- it's about Christ and His salvation and His righteousness. Come, let us fix our eyes not upon ourselves, but upon Christ Jesus, for He gives us faith and He brings that faith to its full end and flower in the life of the world to come!