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Church of the Resurrection Insights Blog

Amy Oden

Let me tell you a story: My husband died in October and I’m learning again that grief is not linear. I may have weeks of hope-filled energy and then whomp! – a wave of sorrow swamps my boat and I’m weepy for days.

In April, my granddaughter was born. I felt so much joy and a sense of new life! Still, I was hit by an undertow of sadness. I couldn’t turn to Perry and share these exquisite moments. His absence was piercing and painful. I was shocked that I could feel bereft even as I felt the joy of this beautiful baby in my arms.

Life is just this messy. It’s full of contradictory and complex experiences. Life resists easy categories and labels. That’s why stories are a central hallmark of human civilization. Stories can carry this messiness and complexity. Stories tell the truth in ways that explanatory language misses.

The latest sermon series at Resurrection is on Old Testament stories. The Bible is mostly story-telling. That’s interesting to notice when so much of our contemporary religious life focuses on explanations and definitions, a completely different way of knowing than story-telling.

Neurologically, stories are much more effective at conveying large amounts of information in coherent and meaningful structures, leading to greater comprehension and memory. Stories invite us to engage and participate.

Stories are perhaps THE most effective form of human speech. Ancient and traditional

cultures know this. Stories are a highly sophisticated form of human knowing, able to contain complex bodies of knowledge and wisdom. Maybe that’s why Jesus relies almost exclusively on stories.

I’m still living out my story within God’s larger story. Dive into the stories of the Old Testament! They are messy and glorious, full of wisdom and truth. You may just find your own story there.


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