Chapter 3: God’s Story as the Context for Discovering God’s Mission

As I work my way through chapter three of Story, Signs and Sacred Rhythms (after not reading for nearly two weeks! Bad Dr. Headly!), I found it quite easy to dive back into the material. This could be because I am about halfway through teaching through Michael Novelli’s Storying method, or perhaps because I am jus that familiar with the story concept because it is a huge part of my own theology. Or maybe it’s because Folmsbee is just that good of an author. I honestly think it has something to do with all three thoughts. Each one has truth in it. But anyway, I’m getting off on a rabbit trail here.

In chapter three Chris seeks to get a big-picture overview of God’s redemptive story, beginning with Creation and continuing through the eventual restoration of our broken world. He is careful to point out that his division of the story into seven segments (movements) is not something to be taken as dispensations, merely a writing tool to help us take in the information better. With each movement, we are given a sidebar to sketch out an icon to help remember the movement, as well as some questions to help the reader interact with what that movement teaches us about God, humans and our own theology.

I interacted with each movement, discovering that my own theology is remarkably similar to Chris’ and that the idea of God’s story being one of redemption is very comforting and accurate. Seeing the whole story (even the parts that have not yet taken place) in a storyboard format helps to grasp the largeness of what God is seeking to accomplish through us puny humans.

Overall, a great review chapter of what the story is, and one that helps us to figure out our own theology about God’s story, and how it truly does impact us.

Some interesting quotes that stuck with me:

  • It’s out of discovery, exploration and an ongoing experience with God’s narrative that Christians are able to remain increasingly convinced of God’s being, reign, presence, and activity in the world. (page 52)
  • It’s not enough for us to know stories about God. Instead, we must know and begin to lean into and live out the story of God – and so must the students within our reach. (page 53)
  • If our students are asking, “Why?” as it relates to understanding the context and meaning of Jesus, then we haven’t given them enough to form a deep understanding. And if students don’t have a deeper understanding, then they can’t express a new way of life. (page 64)