Narrative Theology. Yes, you have probably heard the term. These days, it seems, Narrative Theology is in demand. It’s no small wonder! Our faith is built upon narrative! The Christmas season we are just beginning to enter only emphasizes the fact. The story of the Incarnation will be told, re-told, sung, illustrated, and celebrated around dinning room tables all over the world during this Christmas season. The narrative nature of our Christian faith is most obvious in times of holiday. It has always been so and it will continue to be so.
What is Narrative Theology? That’s the question everyone should be asking. The term is used by many today, but have many really investigated or explored it deeply? Is narrative all that theology is? Is there more to the approach than the popular use of the term suggests? Is Christianity solely “story?” How does this Narrative approach inform or effect ethics? Does it have anything to do at all with praxis? What is the relationship between narrative and history? These questions - and many, many more that we haven’t even thought about - are very important.
I’m diving into a book titled Why Narrative: Readings in Narrative Theology. It is edited by Stanley Hauerwas and L. Gregory Jones. Hauerwas also contributed to the book’s introduction. Anyone seeking a broad understanding of Narrative Theology should put this book in their library. It’s a diverse and thorough introduction to the topic. If your goal is to actually understand the narrative theological approach that is gaining so much momentum today, this book will serve you well. The book is not a quick read, so plan to spend some quiet time with it.
I’m starting with the first chapter: The Story of Our Life by H. Richard Niebuhr. I’ll be posting thoughts regarding the content as soon as I complete it and give it some thought time.