The Power of Narrative

Our languishing culture is made up of individuals, not a collective mass audience. Most of them are blasé, complacent individuals. To simply confront them with holier-than-thou accusations or rah-rah chants is fruitless. Moral outrage doesn’t make sense to them anymore, and misplaced skepticism is profuse. How do you cure a patient who refuses to believe they are ill?

This is an age-old problem with an age-old solution. Do not merely inform them. Show them.

Imagine the thoughts that must have gone through the prophet’s mind as he walked to the residence of the King of Israel. Nathan was approaching David, the legendary musician and warrior who was – as God Himself said – a man after God’s own heart.

But David had just committed adultery with Bathsheba, and after learning she was pregnant by him he deliberately had her husband put on the front line of the fiercest battle so that he would be killed. After Bathsheba mourned her husband’s death, David took her as his wife. David had disgraced himself in front of YAHWEH, but he had grown so full of himself that he hadn’t even realized it.

How did the prophet break the news to the complacent king? With a parable.

Despite its subtlety, the story was powerful enough that David empathized with the story’s protagonist who was done wrong. He was so outraged by its heartless antagonist, in fact, that he said, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die” (II Samuel 12:5).

Then Nathan exclaimed, “YOU are the man!”

The realization brought David to his knees. He felt conviction because he had witnessed his own actions analogized in a story he had never heard before – a story from which he was otherwise personally detached. He was thus caught vulnerable, with no witty excuse prepared in order to plead his innocence. David was truly guilty.

The American people need to be told stories about themselves that they haven’t heard before – stories that suddenly reveal that the sort of character we despised is what we ourselves have become.

That’s why Matthew Perdie and I (likely to be joined by my siblings and some friends) are planning a venture into narrative film. He’s doing all the groundwork in New York City while I’m doing the screenwriting out here in Ohatchee, Alabama. I experimented with screenwriting a few years ago, and as I have just three classes left before graduating from college, I look forward to trying my hand at it again. Historical drama and epic are my passion, but modern themes will likely be explored first.

Our goal will be to use narrative film to awaken people’s consciences to seek the truth.

Reflections on Americans and the Royal Wedding

AMERICA'S EX-MONARCHY: We don't want it for ourselves anymore, but tend to enjoy watching the royal family from the distance. The Royal Wedding at Buckingham Palace on 29th April 2011: The Bride and Groom, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the centre with attendants, (clockwise from bottom right) The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton; taken in the Throne Room by Hugo Burnand. Flickr.com/BritishMonarchy.

As the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just returned from renting a private island in the Seychelles for their honeymoon (and finally met President “smart alec” Obama), the Royal Wedding news has cooled somewhat. But hither and yon bits and pieces of the story still appear, and I can’t manage to go without commenting on the famous royal matrimony of my generation now, can I?

I’ve never been a particularly romantic girl. While my friends wanted to play “house” and “princess” games, I was usually painting watercolor landscapes or cataloguing my personal zoo of earthworms, pond snails and water bugs. That being said, I never thought much about weddings, royal or otherwise.

But last month, I noticed something odd. While researching Middle East politics – or 2012 U.S. election rumors – or listening to a podcast of wise old scientists chatting about intelligent design – suddenly some headline about Prince William’s bride would show up and I just had to click it. I don’t know why – it’s as if suddenly I was acting like a girl or something.

Yet I have a reasonable excuse – it just wouldn’t be right for a history major working in media to be totally clueless about our good old ally’s future queen (and her absurdly perfect hair, smile, figure, wardrobe…). Would it?

I wasn’t among the nearly 23 million Americans who were up before dawn to watch the Royal Wedding proceedings (here is managing editor Jacquie Kubin’s minute by minute run down of it if you missed it). I’ll confess that my sister Rachel and I had toyed with the idea of getting up at five in the morning to get a glimpse of the ceremony of the century just so we could say we did it. However, a tumultuous tornado system happened to knock the electricity out of our home just in time for the event. Oh well…

When our grandparents brought over some hot breakfast that morning, Grandmomma informed us of the Royal Wedding details we were deprived of (Granddaddy, needless to say, thought all the hoopla was ridiculous).

“It’s totally embarrassing that Americans cared about that. We fought a Revolution against the royal family,” said Ann Coulter, commenting on Americans’ fascination with the Royal Wedding and Princess Diana through the years. Coulter’s assessment is understandable (I’ll note that she said she liked – albeit felt sorry for – Kate Middleton), and I’m inclined at first thought to agree with her.

But now I want to determine if that’s a fair enough assessment.

Allow me to sort through a few ideas about why Prince William’s marriage to Catherine Middleton caught some Americans’ fancy. Besides the picturesque handsome prince and beautiful princess iconism, what was it about the event that got America interested in snooping on her ex-monarchy? . . .

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