The idea of narrative has in recent years found its way into contemporary conversations whether in the classroom or around the dinner table. We are always on the lookout for what will help us to order our lives. In our western culture reason has played this role for some time. The ability of reason to link things together such as events, ideas or cause and effect, is a valuable exercise to be sure. What is more difficult to get at however is underlying meaning.
It is here that narrative comes to the rescue as it becomes a resource for meaning. Narrative does not replace reason, but serves as a compliment to it. Narrative is more organic, reason more mechanical. Story is a central component of the writing arts such as plays, novels and scripts for film. But the 20th century saw some effort to challenge the dominant role of narrative. Some feared that story could serve as a social soporific where society would doze off and become unaware of the reality that surrounded them. Authors like Bertolt Brecht wished to destroy the power of fictional narrative and were concerned to encourage thinking about the story rather than entering into the story. Despite the nay-sayers current attention to narrative is to be welcomed – but not without qualification.
“It is a narrative of a vulnerable God – who has come to humanity as human and in all of the frailty of an infant in order to invite us into a story bigger than anything we can construct for ourselves”.