I am reading the Summer 2008 publication Perspectives on Language and Literacy of The International Dyslexia Association. This issue is dedicated to stories of people who have struggled with dyslexia and how they grew through the struggle to achieve success. I love what Michael Ryan has to say about redemptive narratives from D. P. McAdams’ perspective. I believe both Ryan and McAdam’s observations have implications for how we each meet God through the Gospel narrative and actually become part of the story of Jesus’ kingdom. Ryan writes:
McAdams is this country’s preeminent researcher in the area of personal narratives. He believes that personal narratives (the stories we tell about our lives) are critical to our self-image and our ability to function as successful adults. He has studied the personal narratives of thousands of individuals and found that the most socially minded people in our society share common themes in their personal narratives. He labels these themes, “the Redemptive Self.” These stories of redemption are not necessarily religious in nature, but their essential theme involves overcoming a struggle or a tragedy and growing from it. McAdams asserts that much of these individuals’ successes are due to these redemptive narratives. In fact, he goes as far as to suggest that part of our success as a nation grows out of the fact that we have, as a group, many redemptive narratives, such as taming the wilderness and overcoming discrimination and segregation.
It seems to me that one of the major tasks of discipleship is to help people retell the story of Jesus and also tell how their intersection with Him has helped them overcome the world. They now live His-Story.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:1,3-5 (NIV)