Narratives Matter

Christian-Woman-kneeling-in-Prayer-Silhouette - Baptist & ReflectorAs a white woman, I have had racial slurs used against me, both in the U.S. and abroad, by black people and by Chinese people.  My children, who are half Chinese, have had racial slurs used against them, by black people and by white people.  As an attorney, I have litigated claims of racial discrimination by black employees against white supervisors, white employees against Chinese supervisors, black employees against Mexican supervisors, black employees with lighter skin against black employees with darker skin, and Spanish-speaking employees from one country of origin against Spanish-speaking employees from another country of origin.

But I am not allowed to talk about any of these things.  They don’t fit the narrative.  Instead, a movement across government, industry, academia and the media have demonized my supposed “white privilege.”

So let’s talk about something else.

I have experienced suffering unique to being a woman, including domestic violence, single motherhood, disproportionate caretaking burdens, career roadblocks, and fear of bodily harm walking alone at night.  These facts fit the dominant narrative better.  Unfortunately, this narrative makes me into a victim and deprives me of moral agency.  This narrative also takes my very real stories and twists them, demonizing the “toxic masculinity” of the men that I know and love.

The narrative we tell matters.  The stories we tell matter.  Where does racism come from?  Does it spring from the original sin of white privilege?  Or does it spring from the rebellion against God in every human heart?  Where does sexism come from?  Does it descend from millennia of oppressive patriarchy, which must be abolished?  Or is it a corrupted product of men and women who reject God’s good plan for marriage and family life?

Although it’s not yet Gold Star Friday, I wanted to include a few related links.  In the midst of a falling-down world, the author defends his love of fantasy literature, especially the Tolkien epics.  Our stories matter.  Quote:  “Some authors create stories that reflect to one degree or another the truths revealed in the Great true story. Not all fictional stories are like this, however. Many authors create stories that reflect to one degree or another the lies of the serpent. I think Christians can learn things from both kinds of stories, but it is imperative that they know the difference between the two.”  If this is true of fiction, it is even more true of non-fiction narratives.  Pastor Jojo Agot states, “The world needs healers… Our ministry is a ministry of reconciliation.”  This is so true!  Pastor Agot calls on Christians to “mellow down a bit” and remember “their calling to speak words of life and peace.”  Again, this is so true!

But then Pastor Agot quotes Jeremiah’s lament “Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?  Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”  (Jeremiah 8:22).  I’m afraid this quote is somewhat out of context.  Jeremiah wasn’t only lamenting the wound of his people.  He was lamenting the false preachers who misdiagnosed that wound.  In that same chapter, Jeremiah cries, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying ‘Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”  (Jeremiah 8:11).

So yes, Christians should be healers.  But when we apply the wrong narrative, we become quacks and witch doctors instead.

Author: Laura

Follower of Christ. Attorney-Teacher-Homesteader. Wife. Mom to 4 grown sons. Writer.

One thought on “Narratives Matter”

  1. Wow, friend. This post is just as stellar as your others have been. I’m spending you a letter today (wrote it yesterday) in which I beg your insight into some of the things you address here. Maybe I shouldn’t have begged but just read your blog posts, since you’re hitting on all my vexations anyway.


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