2.01.2006

TIP: Tell me a story, and I'll tell you its "points"

When Jesus wanted to say something important, he usually told a story, benjaminsternke blogged. For those who paid attention (ears to hear), the story worked its way under their skin without their knowing it, transforming everything before they were even aware of it, confronting falsehood, killing off old dreams, and opening up new possibilties. For everyone else (no ears to hear), they were simply the stories of a quirky redneck teacher (can anything good come out of Nazareth? they said, snickering). Then in private, to his disciples, Jesus "explained everything." The disciples got the propositions, the "point" of the stories.

It seems we do things the other way around. Jesus told the story first, and gave the propositions later, to a smaller number of people. We say the proposition first, and then "back it up" with our stories, which aren't really art as much as they are "illustrations." That is, illustrations of "the point". The proposition is king, art is the embarassing step-child.

Perhaps we're afraid to leave things hanging for people. Perhaps we feel the need to wrap everything up in a tidy 30-minute package (sitcom sermons?) so people won't leave feeling disrupted or uncomfortable. But it seems that Jesus told the stories so that people would be uncomfortable and frustrated. Perhaps we need more preaching that dismantles and tears down and rebuilds and replants. More trickster preaching: Preaching that raises questions and winks and makes startling connections and shakes worldviews and causes us to recoil in horror and surrender to grace...

Working Smart's quick takeaway: when you find yourself in a sitiuation where you need to beat around the bushes to see who's on your side, telling a story about your 'rival' (without revealing your "points") is a good starting point to provoke and collect comments.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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