The Stories We Tell
Much has been written on this blog about the stories we tell. This narrative perspective is becoming a stronger one in many fields of study, including therapy, education, conflict resolution, and negotiation. The basic concept is described well in Bruner's Acts of Meaning (link). Bruner describes human efforts at making meaning as collecting information in the organization of stories. We like to have characters, plots, settings, and we remember through the stories we construct.
More stories of the past at Kumomoto. Stories that complex-ify. Japan not as a cohesive, evil, military power all seeking destruction of neighbouring nations, but as a land of people in various societies with each their own different story of life and love and suffering, dominance and loss.
Stories of Salvation
Blame. Hatred. Lament. Ignorance. Shame. Defense. It might just seem like stories of the past, but the struggle for history brings out deep feelings, as I discovered in our visit last year to Kyoto.
A Balancing Act or a New Show
My impression of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo was a college trying to keep its identity as a Christian college on a growing campus with increasing diversity. They seem to be doing a good job of balancing and finding integrity in the shifting realities, and they're not the only Christian higher education institutes to be dealing with this question of identity.
I've been borrowing books from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre and highly recommend their "recommended titles."
Mountaintop removal. Tar sands. Mass destruction of earth and creation for sake of getting at the coal and oil underground. While there are inevitably complexities for each community facing companies that look for energy sources in their neighbourhoods, and there are no simple stories, on an instinctive level I know it's wrong.
The Narrative of Holy Violence
I agree that narrative is a major part of human reality. As Paul Loewen said here, the stories we tell make up our worlds. This can be "our" story which shapes our identity and ties us to God and the faith community. Yet, just as easily, humans seem to be able to adopt stories which justify the evil and sin in our world in which we participate.
"So that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become." - Chimamanda Adichie