misread the title thought it said, "community in Jesus, a holy fiction" which got my imagination going about how really it is fiction, a narrative, something we don't quite live - had a whole analysis devoloped - amazing what a little r can do.
Bill is really onto something here, communities have lost the importance of " living " the narrative, of gathering around it, like friends would gather around a fire...of having it iginite passion and life into the very heart of the community. Instead we have settled for pragmatic preaching, three point sermons, an answer, a proposition...a community in Jesus, living a holy fiction.
In the work of Lesslie Newbigin, Stanley Hauerwas, Gerald Laughlin, and many others, the “Christian story” is a communal one: we Christians “tell God’s story,” or participate in God’s own telling, in and through the Church. The life of the individual Christian, on this account, makes sense and achieves meaning through participation in this communally recounted narrative. Even the various forms of theological activity can be redescribed in narrative terms, as when Newbigin writes of “the congregation as hermeneutic of the gospel”: interpretation of Scripture for Newbigin is not so much what a particular scholar writes as what a particular community of believers enacts.
These thinkers typically do not deny that the Christian faith makes propositional claims, but they tend to understand such propositions as having their proper force only within the context of the story God tells in history. “Jesus is Lord” is a proposition, but a proposition that compels assent only when Jesus’ earthly ministry, death, and resurrection are understood as (collectively) the pivotal and definitive moment in the long history of God’s covenantal love for His erring people.
Every real story . . . contains, openly or covertly, something useful. The usefulness may, in one case, consist in a moral; in another, in some practical advice; in a third, in a proverb or maxim. In every case the storyteller is a man who has counsel for his readers. But if today “having counsel” is beginning to have an old-fashioned ring, this is because the communicability of experience is decreasing. In consequence we have no counsel either for ourselves or for others. After all, counsel is less an answer to a question than a proposal concerning the continuation of a story which is just unfolding. To seek this counsel one would first have to be able to tell the story. . . . Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom. The art of storytelling is dying out because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out...Walter Benjamin the great German-Jewish cultural critic who died while fleeing from the Nazis in 1940
The Church’s great communal story offers its aid: for it is the responsibility of the “many members of the one body,” who collectively celebrate and enact that story, to guide each individual member into paths, into life genres, that harmonize with the great melody of God’s redeeming work in His creation. How can the Church bridge this gap between the Christian metanarrative and our own individual life stories, in such a way that all such accounts are faithful to each other and to God? That is the challenge facing anyone who would take narrative theology to the next level of critical and prophetic power...Alan Jacobs, Professor of English at Wheaton College