The Gospel Stories

Posted on September 25, 2007. Filed under: Spiritual Musings |

Here was my first homework assignment from Lauren.  It stemmed from an IM conversation she and I had one night and since I just kept going on and I guess maybe it made sense to her or something (I honestly don’t know) it became mandated that I blog it.  So here is why I love and believe the gospels:

Why I Believe the Gospels

Now, let me start off with this:  I don’t like apologetics.  It makes my brain hurt.  If a subject makes me bleed from the eyes and ears I know it’s not good for me.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some out there who are giants at it, each with their own specialties.  There are some that would like to “prove” the existence of God, others that would rather show the historicity of the Bible.  Then there are those who would rather look at certain instances in life and tell you “Look, there’s a path through the trees there.  I don’t know where it will lead you but I can tell you it’s worth trying.”  But apologetics work and I mix about as good as oil and water.  I do remember my apologetics classes and some of the other works that I’ve read but I’ll leave that to the un-handicapped apologetics folks.

But I still have my reasons for loving the gospels and believing them.  Now, I’m not talking one hundred percent historically accurate or that they are in perfect chronological order or that things weren’t added later.  That’s not what I’m trying to get at.  I have my own personal reasons not attached to any sort of doctrine or dogma.  I believe the gospels because they are storied.

Myself, my friends, my family.  I remember the things that we say and do when we are together because they are in a context.  They are in a context of relationships working themselves out in daily life.  I can tell you about what happened when Marcia and I first met.  I can tell you about the day the friendship between myself and Maurice changed from acquaintances to good friends.  I can tell you about the day that my son was born.  All of these instances were life changing and meaningful.  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t recall exact details like who was wearing what or how things smelled or even what happened directly after the fact but I can still tell you things like:  Maurice and I were sitting in his lab, it was about ten o’clock at night, I was sitting on the floor and he was in a swivel chair and I was pouring my heart out while he laughed. 

In “Saving Private Ryan”, Private Ryan was reminiscing about his dead brothers and said that he couldn’t picture on of his brother’s faces.  Captain Miller explained that he needed to put his brothers in a context and that would help him to remember how his brothers looked the last time he’d seen them.  In reality, things are much the same.  If I was to talk about my friend Lauren, I could remember her face by putting her in context of a conversation we’ve had recently (or the night I ‘crashed/was invited to’ girls’ night out at a karaoke bar, but that’s a different story for another day.)  The one thing though is that we would remember different aspects of the time together but it would still be the same story and it still really happened. 

We remember stories, we remember events and conversations that we’ve had with people.  I’ve said talked with people and written about deep philosophical and theological issues but I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a word.  I remember classes I’ve taken and lectures I’ve been to but can only remember interesting little snipets of information from either.  But, if you told me a story, or I was INVOLVED in a story with someone (in the context of just living life) I would be more than likely to remember that.  Heck, I don’t even remember the last theology paper I wrote, but I do remember the latest stories someone told me (one had to do with a Tide bottle and the other was about eating organic).

The gospel writers or those that relayed the story as a gospel were relaying a story of experience.  A story like any other told from experience in which some things are recalled and some things are left out.  For example let’s take the Gadarene demoniac(s).  In one account there are two, in another there is one.  It’s not a matter of which is historically more accurate to me.  It’s a matter of two people trying to pass on a story to me.  Not a fictional one either.  It is a recollection coming years after the fact but still strong enough to have made an impact and with a message behind the story.  Jesus himself relayed spiritual truths in story form (aka parables) because people are more likely to remember a story that they can relate to.  If Jesus had expounded on the wonders of the universe using Greek philosophy or abstract terms no one had ever heard of before, it would have gone clear over their heads.  But instead he chose to use a medium familiar with the people he was with.  Look at the different ways in which Paul approached people in the book of Acts.  With the Jews it was one way and with the Greeks it was another.

When I read the gospels, I see the continuing story of God being played out on the pages in front of me.  I see people trying to pass on events that transpired with this man named Jesus and there best attempts at handing it down as accurately as they can manage.  Much like grandparents passing down family stories from generation to generation, some things get lost in the ‘telephone’ game that it partakes in, but, the truth is still there, the lessons are still there.  When we listen to a sermon or a homily, what is the first thing that we remember?  We can remember the lessons that are taught, the truths that are spoken but we are stuck with the stories.  I’ll never forget the first ‘story’ I heard at College Park Church, it was a sermon delivered by Rich Vincent.  I don’t remember what it was exactly that the whole sermon was about but the opening story was how those living in Northern Canada would hunt wolves.  That spiritual truth will stick with me forever.

This is why I believe the gospels.  They are another story passed down to us by our ever expanding family.  It is in our hands now to do the same to our children and all those that come after us.  This is our story now, and the way that we will present it to the future will ring throughout time.  God forgive us for our transgressions in the way we have handled the story in the past, and God give us the grace to not screw it up anymore than we already have.

Peace to all of you.


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I absolutely love this.

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