Scripture is filled with amazing stories that go to the heart of the issues we're facing in our crazy, pluralist, consumer-driven cultures focused on self-actualising individuals living in instrumental relationships (in which people relate to each other out of roles or what each can get from the other. (p68)It's not so much the idea that scripture is relevant to our context that grabbed my attention, but Roxburgh's description of that context. It's about as succinct and brilliant a snapshot of where I live as I have read in the past year! It's worth pausing to ponder.
He takes Luke as his biblical story teller because he sees Luke writing at a time when the early Christian movement was beginning to lose confidence in its story. Things hadn't turned out as these young believers thought they would and Luke writes to create a new language house that takes the context in which people live as seriously as the message they live by. So Luke is a story teller for our times too.
Roxburgh comments: 'We don't encounter this God through universal principles, formulas, visions and values but through concrete, grounded stories of God's life in the ordinary' (p72), adding that 'Luke is determined to convince them [his first hearers] that in the midst of a world of competing narratives, this is the one about Jesus and the good news of God that is worth giving their lives to because it is God's' (p73).
Our trouble is that we have turned the biblical story into a self-help guide, a handbook for making our lives work better. 'I'm aware how this orphanization of the Christian narrative has turned us ever more quickly into anxiety-laden, functional atheists needing ways to use God to make our lives work.' (p73-4) Ouch! Ponder that too...
I've always thought that Luke focuses as much on the disciples as on Jesus and mainly on their inability to let Jesus into their story in a way that would have rewritten and recast it along the lines that God intended. Being caught up in God's story and discovering where that story is being written and told in our neighbourhoods, so we can get involved, seems to me to be a hugely exciting prospect. If only we can shake off the strait jacket of our churches!