Today I decided to write a book. I sat down to write the aforementioned book, but I couldn’t decide what to write the book about. So I decided to put-off writing a book for another day.
But now we find ourselves in an awkward predicament. I boldly told you of my intentions to write a book, and now you’re expecting a book. So what is to be done about the hungry audience? Y’all need something to read! …Fortunately there’s no shortage of books on earth. And what’s more, there’s no shortage of GOOD BOOKS available (and extremely accessible) to anyone interested in reading books!
So, for today, I heartily commend to you, “The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth” by Mike Cosper.
Here’s a preview of what you’re in for:
“All human creativity is an echo of God’s creativity. When God makes man, he forms him in the dirt, breathes life into him, and sends him out in the world. We’ve been playing in the dirt ever since. Just as God took something he’d made, shaped it, breathed life and meaning into it, and transformed it into something new, so we set about our own business, taking creation, shaping it, and giving it new meaning and purpose. Clay becomes sculpture. Trees become houses. Sounds are arranged in time to become music. Oils, pigments, and canvas are arranged to become paintings. Various metals, glass, and petroleum products become iPhones. The same is true of stories. There is nothing new under the sun, and our stories—no matter how fresh and new they might feel—are all a way of “playing in the dirt,” wrestling with creation, reimagining it, working with it, and making it new. Our stories have a way of fitting into the bigger story of redemption that overshadows all of life and all of history. Because that bigger story is the dirt box in which all the other stories play.”
“Our stories in movies and TV are liturgical in the sense that they tell stories of ultimate hope. They gather us with a song (opening credits) and send us out with a rejoinder to return next week (“Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode”). In between these bookends, they present problems and solutions.”
“Few of the great figures in the Old Testament are worthy of much respect based upon their own virtues. From Genesis onward we see lies, drunkenness, sexual failures, prostitution, idolatry, and more. The impulse to whitewash these characters is misguided, based on a moralistic way of thinking about what it means to be a Christian. They were failures, messy men and women whose lives matter eternally because they inherited God’s promises, not because they lived lives of unbending faithfulness. If we try to frame them all as moral heroes, we end up projecting that expectation onto ordinary Christians, and we lose an important core fact of the gospel: it’s an announcement that frees sinners from the bondage of their failure and the tyranny of a standard they can never live up to.”