Stories bring the truth home. Remember David being confronted by Nathan about his sin with Bathsheba?
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 "Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!
If this last line is true, then for sure, Jesus cared! The Gospels are full of stories (parables) He shared using local symbols that the people would understand.
Stories have power. They touch us at many levels. Not only our cognitions, but also our sensations and emotions are kindled. Stories are specific. We smell scents, we hear sounds, we feel textures. We are drawn to characters or repulsed by them.
Stories meet our need to be actively involved in learning through discovery. Stories poke us with surprises. "Important truths must be expressed through symbols," says Justin Oforo of Tanzania. "If an idea is stated plainly we don't take it seriously." If a speaker doesn't care enough to package his or her idea attractively, it must not be important, people feel. But when a speaker draws on the resource bank of a people's own symbols, it shows that he or she cares. (pg. 150-151)
Many women will learn God's message through stories. "What an empowering message. Here is a great cloud of witnesses. Here are role models, both positive and negative. Certainly these biblical characters sinned. Yet they found God real and relevant not just in their holy moods but also in their failures. How this comforts a woman. Like David in the Psalms, she may doubt. Like Jeremiah, she may despair. Like Esther, she may be confronted with overwhelming odds. Like Hagar, she may be rejected. Remembering these spiritual foremothers and fathers when she is surrounded by troubles outside and sins inside, she is reminded that nothing can separate her from the love of God." (pg. 155)
Are stories important to you or do you just like the cold, hard facts? Do you agree that presenting facts through stories or symbols is a way to show people that you care? What is a story that has especially touched your life by speaking to a need in your life or challenging you to think a certain way? Have you ever used stories to teach a lesson or make a point?
Quotes from Daughters of Islam by Miriam Adeney