Why Tell Stories

Today I would like to pose a question:

Why do we tell stories?

To give you further avenues to explore, consider the following related questions: What do you think it is that attracts us to stories. What is the function of stories within a culture? On what basis do we consider a story worthy of hearing. How is meaning derived from stories? How are stories deemed to be true?

When we think of the nature of stories our tendency is to think that it is merely the product of the imagination, with the implication that it is something other than reality. In responding to the above questions, consider the possibility that our understanding of reality is constructed through the same processes that stories are created.

In closing, think about this. If I was to ask you who you are, would you respond by giving me a list of facts or would you give me some kind of story?

2 Responses to “Why Tell Stories”

  1. tom  

    I think a bit of both. Facts and story. Stories are huge and we need have lost the art in modern America. I have been doing a lot of reading regarding experiential storytelling as a form of sharing God’s truth with people. Doug Paggit’s book Preaching Re-imagined talks about how we essentially are part of a story. God’s story as it relates to HIs creation. Stories are important for a lot of reasons. From simply entertainment to the fact that we can be part of them and learn and grow as a result.

  2. Administrator  

    Tom, great to hear from you! I’m glad you visited my webpage, and I like what you said.

    Concerning the list of facts, it seems to me that such things could only be understood in a larger context, which when communicated requires some kind of story telling.

    Related to your idea that we are part of a larger story, particularly God’s story, Dan Allender has written a book about this titled, To Be Told. One of his premises is that spiritual maturity is linked to our ability to discern what story God is writing in our lives and by taking responsibility for our stories through co-authorship.

    Along with this it seems significant to me that much of the Scriptures are stories, as opposed to a complilation of metaphysical propositions, or a bunch of lists that name various qualities or characteristics about God. I sense (and perhaps later I will unpack this) that storytelling is an incarnational act.