One of my hobbies of late is reading up on scripture and story. I am excited by Tom Wright's notion of scripture and history as an unfolding drama. In the section "Theology, Narrative and Authority" in The New Testament and the People of God, Wright says the Biblical story consists of "five acts":
1-Creation; 2-Fall; 3-Israel; 4-Jesus. The writing of the New Testament-including the writing of the gospels-would then form the first scene in the fifth act, and would simultaneously give hints of how the play is supposed to end." (pp. 141-142)
Now two scholars have taken this approach, with minor alterations, and have told us the story of scripture and our place within this story. There book is a helpful introduction to the whole field of using the category of "STORY" to introduce people both to scripture and theology.
The Drama of Scripture has been written to tell the biblical story of redemption as a unified, coherent narrative of God's ongoing work within his kingdom. After God had created the world, and after human rebellion had marred it, God set out to restore what he had made: "God did not turn his back on a world bent on destruction; he turned his face toward it in love. He set out on the long road of redemption to restore the lost as his people and the world as his kingdom." The Bible narrates the story of God's journey on that long road of redemption. It is a unified and progressively unfolding drama of God's action in history for the salvation of the whole world. The Bible is not a mere jumble of history, poetry, lessons in morality and theology, comforting promises, guiding principles and commands; it is fundamentally coherent. Every part of the Bible-each event, book, character, command, prophecy and poem-must be understood in the context of the one storyline.
The authors have even put together a helpful website that accompanies the book. It has helpful articles and reading guides as well as powerpoint slides to help people understand both the story line of scripture, and our mission within that story. It is a must read for those interested in this field! One of the ways I believe that we are going to get mission into the church's DNA is to tell the story of YHWH, the King and their Spirit and how they have chosen to include us in their never ending story.
Once we realise who we are, where we are, what's wrong, what the solution is and what time it is in this unfolding Drama, then our identity, purpose & place where we belong will become abundantly clear. We will be compelled by his love into his mission with his people through his Spirit. Incidentally this is what I'll be lecturing on @NewDay 2005 in Nottingham in a few weeks. I hope to use the image of EXILE to tell the story, but it is so foreign to a biblically illiterate generation that I'm having a few doubts. I plan to use the Matrix trilogy as a backdrop to enlighten them as to the biblical imagery but this is quite hard to do in a one hour lecture that mush convey and cover so much material. But YHWH is faithful and we shall attempt the impossible in HIS strength!