Nathan Schneider


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The Stories We Hear

In The Stories We Tell, Mike Cosper argues that we are made to hear and tell stories, namely because God is the ultimate Storyteller. All movies, television shows, and novels are mere shadows of the greatest and truest story of all: the story of God (Creation – Fall – Rescue – Restoration). What Cosper also argues and what’s worth considering is the liturgy of entertainment. Media is not neutral, but is designed to elicit response from emotion pull. To make his point, he quotes James Smith:

One of the things that liturgies do is to visibly narrate a story about what really matters. . . . Perhaps one of the more prolific examples . . . is found in the work of Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of a wide range of films (and more recently television dramas) that draw upon and present the ideals of Americanism . . . . Though I can’t offer a complete analysis here , I raise the case of Bruckheimer in order to suggest that, once again, a space (namely the cinema) that we might have considered neutral or indifferent (or perhaps eagerly affirmed as “good” and “creational”) is formative in a liturgical sense: here we have moving icons dancing across the screen bathed in the affect of a calculated sound track, staging a story with implicit visions of the good life that, over time and because of their covert nature, seep into our imagination and shape not only how we see the world but also how we relate to it, how we orient ourselves within it, and what we ultimately are working toward (Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 109– 10).

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