I entered college as an ambitious aerospace engineering major with the goal of working for NASA, doggedly pursuing my childhood dream of being an astronaut. But between physics, differential equations, and calculus, I quickly discovered I needed to find a new dream. I spent the summer after my freshman year agonizing over what else I could do with my life. Unable to decide what career I wanted, I chose to pursue something I enjoyed and I would figure out how to make a living later. I loved to read, so I became an English literature major.
As far back as I can remember, I was always reading a book. I usually took one everywhere and would squeeze in a few pages whenever possible. I loved getting lost in stories – they transported me to far off worlds and introduced me to fascinating people; they showed me I was not alone and helped me make sense of the world around me.
Today, we all consume stories in a variety of mediums – books, movies, TV shows, video games, and songs. Stories are a great means of escape from boredom or a stressful day, but they also enrich our overall human experience. In stories, we see people navigate the pain and beauty of relationships and recognize our longing to be truly known. We discover new places and cultures and realize the world is so much bigger than our narrow view. We rejoice at a happy ending and understand we pine for the world to be set right. We cringe at the anti-hero’s degeneration and contemplate the repercussions of a lost moral compass. We all share basic, universal desires like these longings for companionship, exploration, security, and integrity. They are part of what makes us human. The most engaging narratives speak to these intrinsic ideals, and wrestling with them makes us better versions of ourselves.
It’s important that we engage the stories around us thoughtfully, not just as a consumer. I will be discussing examples each month of how stories reflect the human experience, and how we can draw Gospel themes from them. Our God is a Storyteller, and, made in His image, so are we. We can use stories to help us make sense of the greater story we’re a part of – the story of a God rescuing His people.