Transformed by God's Story
This entry is part of a set of discussions on Inhabiting God's Story
Learning to inhabiting the biblical Story is a transformative process. It must be an important aspect of what conversion is all about. To find oneself in another story seems to me nothing less than a new birth.
This transformative process usually takes time. It takes time for our bodies to catch up and adjust to the realities we're discovering. Usually our whole sense of self has to rework itself, given the new reality we're finding ourselves in, and the person we're becoming as a result. That has certainly been the case for me.
More than a decade ago, before I understood the biblical story much, I was going through what seemed a midlife crisis (or a series of them). I felt deeply disoriented and overwhelmed, and deep down I knew the crisis was somehow related to this transformative process.
My natural reaction was to dig harder than ever in my studies, trying to understand the nature of things and what God is up to. And my therapist confirmed and endorsed that intuition. His recommendation was that I should indeed try to articulate my worldview. It was a legitimate part of my healing process and the integration of my sense of self.
Paul said "Do not conform to the pattern [the stories] of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:2). We are transformed by God's Story.
But to be transformed by his Story, we need to know it. We need to learn it. We need to answer the questions that come up for us as we try to make sense of things. The Story has to make sense to us if we're going to find ourselves in it.
- The Transforming Vision and Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age, by Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh.
- Inhabiting the Story: The Use of the Bible in the Interpretation of History, by Stephen I. Wright, in 'Behind' the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation x (Scripture and Hermeneutics Series), by Craig Bartholomew et al.
- Telling God's story: Bible, Church and narrative theology, by Gerard Loughlin.
- The Promise of Narrative Theology, by George W. Stroup.
- Reading Scripture as a Coherent Story, by Richard Bauckham, in The Art of Reading Scripture, edited by Ellen Davis and Richard hays.
- The Mind of the Spirit: Paul's Approach to Transformed Thinking, by Craig Keener.
- Being Human in God's World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity, by J. Gordon McConville.
- Seriously Dangerous Religion, by Iain Provan
- Dwell: Life with God for the World, by Barry Jones.
- Wisdom's Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature, by William P. Brown.
- Christian Wisdom: Desiring God and Learning in Love (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine), by David F. Ford.
- Big Questions, Big Dreams, by Sharon Daloz Parks (at least chapters 2-6).
- Sensemaking, by Christian Madsbjerg (chapters 1 and 8).
- The Courage to Teach, by Parker Palmer (chapter 1).
- Mindsight, by Daniel Siegel.
- Mindfulness, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
- For an excellent Christian treatment of addictions and recovery, see Falling Forward, by Craig Lockwood. The cover states that the book is specifically about sexual addictions, but it really is about addictions in general.
- Grow Up, by Owen Marcus (Chapter 1. By the way, this book is about masculine emotional intelligence but this gem of a chapter, on “being present,” would surely be helpful to women also).
- You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. A. Smith.
- Worship as a Way of Life, by Julie Canlis.
- Living the Story: Biblical Spirituality for Everyday Christians, by R. Paul Stevens and Michael Green.
- Created for Community, by Stanley Grenz.
- The Living God and the Fullness of Life, by Jürgen Moltmann.
- The Life Jesus Made Possible, by Bill Randall.
- Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, by Bobby Gross.