Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Narrative is fundamentally important to the human condition because the very fabric of our lives and existence is composed of a story-line-in-sequence; a narrative. The premise upon which this study is built holds that the personal story of each individualhis or her mininarrative1--cannot have meaning unless it is framed in a viable masterstory, or metanarrative. I believe humans were made in God's image for the purpose of eternal and unbroken fellowship with Him and unless one's personal narrative is framed by the metanarrative of the Gospel, he or she cannot be a spiritually complete person. This dissertation claims that three cultural phenomena pose a challenge to meaningful dialogue between those who follow Jesus Christ and those who don't. The first of these is the cultural milieu of postmodernism that provides the cultural context for the other two phenomena-the Google era and the re-emergence of functional illiteracy. Postmodernism has called into question any notion of a defensible master-story, or metanarrative. This poses a challenge for the Church because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, itself, a metanarrative. The second of these, the Google revolution, is fundamentally changing how people in postmodern culture gather and process information, moving away from left-brain propositional thinking, and toward right-brain narrative thinking. A third phenomenon effecting dialog between Christ followers and those who are not, is the rise in functional illiteracy. Post-literates, as the postmodern Google generation is sometimes called, are inclined to learn new concepts in much the same fashion as pre-literates, by means of narrative. This change toward right-brain, narrative thinking is problematic for a Church that relies heavily on left-brain propositional instruction. Finally the paper considers that which comprises a narrative, per se. The Gospel, apart from being a bona fide metanarrative, is a narrative in its own right. While there are certainly logical, propositional and dialectical components in the biblical record, the fundamental presentation of its message is by means, a narrative. This dissertation claims that we must tell the Gospel story in many different narrative forms and through various mediums to help people connect the stories of their lives with the Gospel, the master story of God's redemptive plan.
Orton, Timothy R., "Telling the Gospel Master Story in the Google Era" (2011). Doctor of Ministry. 602.