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    Chief Musician
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    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
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    High-Life Assistant Director
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    Youth & Family Intern
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    Administrative Assistant
    High-Life/Children
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    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding and Young Families
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Angela Sierk
    Assistant Director, Children's Ministry
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    Director, Community Development
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    Director, Facilities/Office
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    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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All That is Fair: So This Happened…


What is it about narrative that resonates with human beings?  It could be that the use of narrative helps us remember things that are important.  Or it could be that narrative helps us understand complex ideas or gives us a means to explore difficult questions.  It could also be significant because it allows us to enter into its subject matter.

I think the answer is at least a combination of these three ideas.  Human beings learn in a variety of ways.  And we have amazing brains that can contain vast sums of information.  Endless facts about the way we live and interact can be stored in these heads of ours.  But narrative, particularly our own narrative, unlocks the most powerful mnemonic that exists—a story that builds a bridge between our heads and our hearts.  All these facts that rattle around in our minds can actually be galvanized by our emotions and ordered sensibly into our lives, never to be forgotten.  We can feel more personally connected to a truth told in story than to a simple, one-dimensional, propositional statement.

The effectiveness of story telling is evident all around us.  From the boring, constantly retold tales one might hear around the dinner table at a family gathering to the very scriptures themselves, we see the power of remembrance, interpretation, and connectivity through narrative.  Even though you may be annoyed when your great aunt tells you AGAIN about the time she saved a puppy from an oncoming freight train, it is certain that you won’t forget about it.  In addition, you won’t be able to forget what SHE thought about it and how it relates to the family—much like how the story of Noah galvanizes the truth that “God loves his children” in a larger, more lasting way than simply stating it as a proposition.
 
Narrative is also used quite often in works of art.  Not all art is narrative, some is theoretical, but much of it is wrapped in story.  This definitely includes songwriting.  Some of the best songs are simply an artist’s retelling of a true story interwoven with his understanding of the meaning of that story.  Here is one of my favorite examples.  It’s a song by Marc Cohn called “Saving the Best for Last.”  He tells his audience about a simple interaction he had.  He gets into a cab and has a brief conversation with the driver.  In their short trip the driver tells Marc about his hope for Heaven.  He says that he knows Heaven must be real because surely there’s more to life than driving an old cab all day long.  “Up there,” he says, “they must be ‘saving the best for last.’”  The song was released when I was eleven years old.  I’ve never forgotten its story or its meaning.  It made an indelible impact on me.  Go find this song!  And let it remind you of, and connect you to, the truth that our Heavenly Father is indeed saving the best for last!

Got into a cab in New York City
Was an Oriental man behind the wheel
Started talking about heaven like it was real
Said, “They got mansions in heaven
Yeah, the angels are building one for me right now

And I know they’re saving the best for last
Look around this town and tell me that it ain’t so
They’re saving the best for last
Don’t ask me how I know ‘cause it must be
Saving the best for last for me”

You can go a hundred miles a second
Don’t have to drive no lousy cab
Got everything you want and more man
And the King picks up the tab
You walk around on streets of gold all day
And you never have to listen to what these customers say

And I know they’re saving the best for last
Look around this town and tell me that it ain’t so
They must be saving the best for last
Don’t ask me how I know ‘cause it must be
Saving the best for last for me
Oh, saving the best for last for me

But I remember when I was a child
Lost in the streets of Chinatown
My mother had a vision and I was found
Saving the best for last for me
Oh oh, saving the best for last

And when I finally take this journey
I’m gonna wave goodbye to Earth
Gonna throw this meter in the ocean
And prove what I was worth
And I don’t care who tries to flag me down
They’re gonna have to find another ride uptown

‘Cause I know they must be saving the best for last
Man, I look around this town so don’t tell me that it ain’t so
They’re just saving the best for last
Don’t ask me how I know ‘cause it must be
Saving the best for last for me
Oh, saving the best for last for me
Oh, saving the best for last for me