creation . . . comedy central

For a few days I’ve been sitting the question: “how can I better understand and enter into the narrative of church?”  This question took me back to Greek theater, represented by the masks below.  I find myself wondering whether the narrative of church is a tragic (tragic as a narrative device) subplot within God’s cosmic comedy

The great Canadian literary critic, Northrop Frye (1912-1991) wrote:

“The four mythoi that we are dealing with, comedy, romance, tragedy, and ir
ony
, may now be seen as four aspects of a central unifying myth . . . conflict is the basis or archetypal theme of romance . . . ; catastrophe is the archetypal theme of tragedy . . . ; the sense that heroism and effective action are absent, disorganized or foredoomed to defeat, and that confusion and anarchy reign over the world, is the archetypal theme of irony and satire . . . ; recognition of a newborn society rising in triumph around a still somewhat mysterious hero and his bride, is the archetypal theme of comedy” (Frye 1957, p. 192).

Could it be that Christ and his bride are the main characters in a cosmic comedy? 

Or maybe the narrative of church is an anti-story.  An anti-story is a story that arises to contrast another story.  Any story that has a significant impact in a group or organization will give rise to similar stories (“That reminds me . . . “) as well as anti-stories.  Anti-stories aim at undermining and transforming the original story. 

What was the commonly held story of the first century Christianity?  And what was the anti-story embodied by the church? 

What are the commonly held stories of our day?  What are the Seattle, the American, and the Global stories and how are anti-stories being embodied? 

Peace, dwight

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  1. Reminds me of a book that is on my reading list but hasn’t been read yet: Buechner’s "Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale." Thanks for the reminder! 🙂 Maybe I’ll order it now.