In the Begininng, there was Story.

The famous Greek word logos — “word, speech, a...
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I found myself contemplating what it means to say “Jesus is the word of God.”   I’ve done some pondering lately.  Some of this is based on some recollections from grad school, back in my other life, when I was going to be a philosopher proffesor.  I hung out with some theology students, and they shared with me that translating the word “logos” is a pretty complicated little thing.  It’s much more rich and complicated than the word we usually settle on, which is “word”.

Wikipedia says this (and if Wikipedia says it, it must be true!)

“In ordinary, non-technical Greek, logos had a semantic field extending beyond “word” to notions such as, on the one hand, language, talk, statement, speech, conversation, tale, story, prose, proposition, and principle; and on the other hand, thought, reason, account, consideration, esteem, due relation, proportion, and analogy.[1]

Despite the conventional translation as “word”, it is not used for a word in the grammatical sense; instead, the term lexis (λέξις) was used.[8] However, both logos and lexis derive from the same verb legō (λέγω), meaning “to count, tell, say, speak”.

These possibilities are so rich I hardly know where to begin contemplating them.  One important idea is that when we say “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” we are saying this of a story.   This idea suggest, much more than “word” Jesus completeness and sophistication and complicated nature.  A simple word is just a few little letters.  But a story is so much more than that: a group of words that come together to make a total that is more than the sum of its parts.

This also suggests God had an endgame in mind at the very beginning.  A story suggests a plan, a path, a procedure for what specifically to do next.  Finally, it suggests the very power of story itself, that such a thing would co-exist with God at the very beginning of time.

There is so much more here… More on that later.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “In the Begininng, there was Story.”

  1. ok – so I have two responses here:

    One – I just finished an essay about Jesus as Wisdom personified, keying into that both Wisdom and Jesus came to be through God’s word (or are God’s Word) ref: Proverbs 8, John 1:1-5 and Collossians 1:15-20 (I think)

    Two – so ‘lexis’ connects to the verb ‘to tell, say, speak’? That explains a lot. (about me) I am going to use it whenever my husband chides me on saying 20 words to his every one.

    best, A’LEXIS’


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