I love stories. In a recent sermon, Andrew outed me as a lover of melancholy movies. And it’s true. I’m a sucker for a story that portrays life as a real, difficult, hopeful struggle. There’s just something inside of me that longs for a book or a TV show or a movie that is an echo of real life. And up until now, I had no idea why that was.
I picked up Mike Cosper’s The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth a few weeks ago, and I finished it much quicker than is normal for me. I simply couldn’t put it down.
In this book, Cosper outlines the gospel: the creation, fall, redemption, and consummation stories that fill the pages of our Bible. He reminds us of the truth of Scripture, he shows the reader that God himself is full of creativity, and he encourages us as Christians with the idea that we were created in the image of a creative God.
The stories we tell are all a part of the story he’s telling. We tell stories because we’re broken creatures hungering for redemption, and our storytelling is a glimmer of hope, a spark of eternity still simmering in our hearts.
While Cosper does a great job giving us a “theology of storytelling,” the true gift in this book is how he uses popular movies and television shows to prove to the reader that all of us (Christian or not) are telling, watching, reading, and listening to stories that long for the gospel concepts mentioned above. From TV’s Friday Night Lights to the big screen’s The Hobbit, from Tina Fey’s 30 Rock to Woody Allen’s Manhattan, from CBS’s How I Met Your Mother to AMC’s Mad Men, so many of the stories we tell echo and long for the gospel.
If you’re a film buff, a student of story structure, or even if you just curl up with Netflix a few times a week, I highly recommend Cosper’s work. It will give you a new appreciation for the stories you consume, and as Cosper says, “If we’re thoughtfully engaged, our watching can be educational, edifying, and even a cause for worship.”
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