Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley

Thread Season 4 Episode 14: Story Wars

May 21, 2020 Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley Season 4 Episode 14
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 14: Story Wars
Chapters
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 14: Story Wars
May 21, 2020 Season 4 Episode 14
Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley

In this special episode of Thread, we learn how story, or narrative, can change whole societies and the people living in them. In addition, we also learn how the written Creation narrative in Genesis was a story war on the society that held the Jews captive, Babylon.







Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt

Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.


Thread Bible Podcast is produced and edited by Ross Schmidt and is brought to you by Medialightasia.com

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Show Notes Transcript

In this special episode of Thread, we learn how story, or narrative, can change whole societies and the people living in them. In addition, we also learn how the written Creation narrative in Genesis was a story war on the society that held the Jews captive, Babylon.







Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt

Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.


Thread Bible Podcast is produced and edited by Ross Schmidt and is brought to you by Medialightasia.com

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Hi there. I'm Chuck Quinley. From the Thread Bible Podcast. Let me ask your opinion: which is more powerful, an impressive orator, or a captivating storyteller? Well, this is a special episode about the way story, or what we call now narrative, is being used to change societies and the people who live there. Find out in this episode of Thread.

Welcome to Thread, God's word tying together all the pieces of your life through verse by verse study of the Bible. In Season Four, we're exploring the bedrock of the entire Bible, Genesis 1-12. Season Four of the Thread Bible Podcast is brought to you by MediaLightOnline.com. And right now MediaLight is offering its most popular online course for free. Learn to use the power of social media to speak truth to your generation. It's all available now for free at MediaLightOnline.com.

Let's talk about story. Most people think stories are just for entertainment, you know, just a way to pass time; something that we just enjoy listening to. And they don't understand how huge story is in every human's life. When we had smaller children, we got our hands on William Bennett's book, "The Moral Compass: Stories for Life's Journey", it was printed in 1995, sold over 2 million copies. Now, he was the secretary of education for the United States, and he understood, as he looked back over the development of children, he noticed that we had moved away from cautionary tales, stories that end poorly, where a person in the story makes a decision that is disastrous, and it just ends like that. And you see the, you know, the need not to do that thing, or other stories that have a moral to them, or some kind of moral component. And how important these stories were in raising young children, so that you could shape their minds and create the most important thing, a worldview, that they would have a way of looking at life, and a way of thinking about things. And that's what we were wanting that they would think clearly and they would think properly about life. They needed stories inside of them to help guide their thinking, because we all do. Story is not just for entertainment, we find stories captivating, because stories are the operating system for the human mind. Stories are how we make sense of the world. And I've talked about this a little bit in the earliest episodes of this season of Thread, but the highest form of story is what we call myth. Now most people today, when they hear the word myth, they just think of it is a synonym for not true, and that is one modern meaning, but the more important meaning is the sociological or anthropological, psychological meaning of myth. And myth is the the big story framework. It creates the narrative, the inner story that defines who we are, and what is true about the world, and how we should navigate life in this world. And it's all related to our worldview, we need the mythology because this myth -- the important thing is not that it's true or not true, it's bigger than true. It accurately... I want to say it accurately defines the reality of what's going on around us, you know, well, let's just take something small, like, say, dreams.

In the modern world, we would say dreams that you dreams are created by you. They're generated by your mind, your subconscious mind, and you are working out your personal issues and your emotional struggles, and you're doing that in your sleep. Well, that has never been the the belief about dreams around the world. Humans have never seen that, they've believed that dreams came from outside of us, that they were a form of revelation by forces much larger than us. They were revelations of the truth. So, you know, they were forms of authority that you'd say, "Yes, but this came to me in a dream", and everybody would go, "Oh, we gotta listen to this". Well, nowadays, if I say that same thing, "Guys, I've had a dream, I want you to hear it". You know, most people -- I just lost my authority. It's like, "Yeah, that's just your mind working out". Now, which one is true? I don't know. But the point is, whichever side of that you come down on is about your mythology, it's about your worldview, it's about what you think a thing is, and what you think the truth is. So it's huge. It's related, it builds our worldview, and it -- we're gonna talk in this episode later about story war. And we're seeing story wars every single day now, because there's a lot of talk. And I mean, there's whole schools to go to and study this, about controlling the narrative. It's very vital these days in politics, that you control the narrative. And once again, I point back to a movie, 1997, "Wag the Dog". It's an American political satire, kind of black comedy film, produced and directed by Barry Levinson, it had Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro in it, and it was made during the Clinton sexual scandals era. And I honestly feel like nobody should be allowed to vote, or even watch TV news, until they have watched at least the first hour of this movie, because it's a whole movie about a president who's up for certain reelection until he gets involved in a sex scandal, and he needs to create a major distraction to get the news focused on something else other than what he did. He needs to hijack the narrative, okay, he needs to hijack the narrative, and change the story that everyone is focused on to be a different story. And that goes on.

I mean, it is so rapid now, it seems like there's a 24 hour news cycle, and the story for the day gets chosen by two opposing groups. And all day long, their minions go out and they do interviews and they try to create news that will wrap around an entirely different version of what's going on in the world, but because they all get their heads on it, you know, they get their head together and send out a message and say, "Oh, today's hot word is... oh, whatever. Well, let's just say something medical, "flattening the curve", then that's all you hear. You change channel, look, talk to different people. They understand we've got to create a thought and it has to be -- this is the real thing, and you know, then that's where you get into the other battles. You got the conspiracy theory people and they say, "Okay, yeah, they all want us to believe this is what it is. This is the real story of the the Twin Towers, or you pick any news story. And you immediately start with that group, take apart the story that's being told. It's actually even a strategy, story-based strategy is very vital for bringing change, social change, and this social change is created by making story war on the group you want to overcome. And if you want to see an example of this, you can just go online and look at, for example, storybasedstrategy.org. And it will give you a blueprint of how to attack a society or political party or anybody, how to attack them using story; how to make story war. We'll be right back.

Now, just in a nutshell, I don't want to lose you here, but what is a story war? Well, in order for my story, my narrative to make war on yours, I have to identify where the story gaps are in your story. Because In all of our stories, there are some parts of the story that...  That one little... it's kind of like a detective, you know. There's that one little thing that you said, and it's a detail, but when I dig at it, that one doesn't seem so strong, it doesn't seem to have the structure underneath it. And I don't think even you believe it. It's your story, but you've got this part. And something I referred to earlier was, if you're gonna approach the book of Genesis as though it's a science book, that's gonna, like security camera footage of how the world came to be, well, then it's going to have some weak spots in it. And so the other side is going to say, "Well, okay, are you really saying that..." and they're gonna point to those things. And you've got gaps in your story, your logic has gaps, your story doesn't answer, you know, all the points, there are weak places in your story. And you know, when the story is not true, it's really important that we find these gaps and that we're able to push into these gaps. And I mean, this has been the work of an evangelist forever. Because we're in a world where spiritually, again, this is the Bible story, we are spiritually blinded by a dark force. We see the world through the glasses of that dark force that's been put on us. We don't see it accurately. We believe things about ourselves, we believe things about others, we can be full of despair, we can see ourselves as a failure, we can think we're all alone. We can say, "Oh, that's why I'll never win". It could be anything. But somewhere we believe a story. It's a story about us or our family, a story about God, If there is a God, why can he.... you know, and this whole thing, it's just a mind battle. And it goes on us with these glasses, this narrative. And then when you start looking at the details around you, you see them through the glasses, and you say, "Aha, that's why this is like that, and that's why that is true", and you approach life because of these glasses. But the evangelist has to come and make war against your story, and that's why the, you know, the personal testimony of the evangelist is so important to say, "This thing happened to me, I am an eyewitness of a new kind of story. There is a great God, and he can save your life just like he saved my life. I was where you are". And we start to fight against the way their mind thinks. Because in that mind, there are gaps in that story that they believe, that's a fault story. There are story gaps, and story has power to bring change. But the way it works is you put pressure on those gaps, and it will start to break down that other person, of the defense system that they have, you know, the best story will win the war. And I'm talking literally.

Right now we've got, you know, when you were dealing with the 50 years struggle against militant Islam, it continues on because there is a story. There is a story in their thinking. Their holy book lays out a story, and their preachers have been able to weave those verses into a worldview. And it's because they believe their worldview so much, that they don't mind doing acts of violence against, you know, innocent people that are not combat, not fighting them. It's a school bus. It's a, you know, it's a public place that people are just hanging out, and you can go there and put a bomb, and, why? Because of a story. It's a story that you believe, and so to have change, and to help people come out of what they're in, you do that through story. That's what the gospel is, it is a story. We're a historically-based... Christianity is a historically-based faith. It's not a philosophical belief, like say, Buddhism. It is a historical faith. This happened, and it means that this is how the world came to be. This is why, you know, it's built on a story. And story is extremely powerful. And whichever side in a war has the cleanest story, Nazi Germany, World War II, "Mein Kampf", Hitler is laying out his story. And then you had the story of the other people, "we're here to set them free". And you've got communism story, and then you've got anti-communism story, and it just keeps going. It's just this ongoing wrestling match of stories.

Plato cautioned the city fathers of Athens that they needed to banish storytellers from Athens. He wasn't scared of politicians, he wasn't scared of orators, he wasn't scared of people who could just stand and make a logical argument, because if someone is making a logical argument, you just put another person beside them. And when they're finished with their argument, you go back and you make your argument, and you point at the weaknesses, you know, in theirs, and it's just.. now that's intellectual idea versus intellectual idea. And that's not going to take you too far. But if you, Plato said, storytellers and songwriters and poets, they weave real ideas, and they bury them in song and poetry, and story And the things go around our defenses in our mind and right into our heart. You know, you can't just use physical force to try to intimidate people. If you want to take someone prisoner, you're going to have to break their story. And Plato saw that. That storytelling, as far as the direction of a human life, and the direction of a city, and the direction of a society, what really drives it, is the story. It's the story they all believe, the highest form of story, not the lowest, the highest is mythology. And I don't mean that it's fake, like.... Okay, I'm in America right now. So, "the American Dream", and "the American pioneer", and the rugged individual, and like, one person against all odds. Well, this is, every heroic Hollywood movie comes down to one great hero. And it's all based out of that very same mythology. What one person can do, they just reach down, and heroic actions. Well, that storytelling.

I had a friend, and she was a missionary in Tibet, and she was talking to a to a young lady that she had met there, and they developed a friendship. And she said, "How did the world...", she asked the Tibetan person, "How did the world come to be?" And the girl said, "Well, one of the stories I've heard is that there was monkey god, and there was a woman, and the monkey god mated with the woman, and that's how humans were formed." And then the Christian said, "Hmm, that's an interesting story. Can I tell you our story?" And she began to talk about the creation of humans in Genesis chapter 1 and 2, and the love and the planning of God, and being in the image of God, and having God breathe his own breath into us, and take us as his sons and daughters. And she just explained the way we tell the story, the same event. And the young lady sat back and started thinking about that. And she said, "Wow, your story's a lot better." And it is! You know, it's the glory of the thing! That God has come in His Word, and he has revealed his story to us. And his story will blow the blinders off of our minds.

And that's why it's so important to study Genesis 1-12. And in in the case of the the first audience for this book, the ones that it was originally, in final form penned for, Genesis 1-12 is a story war on Babylon. It has a much -- huge, it has a huge story that has much wider impact, and we continue to be impacted by it today, but I'm assuming that this book took its final form in Babylon during the exile. Although the stories in the book had guided Israel for thousands of years, and again, to go back to where they were in Babylon, Israel has been destroyed as a nation, there is no more nation of Israel, they don't have a king on the throne, they don't have a functioning government, the people who were in the land have been, many of them, most of them perhaps, have been taken away as exiles. And they've had to make a foot trek across many, many hundreds of miles to get into another nation, the nation of Babylon. And they are now living there in exile as the servants to the king of Babylon, and Babylon had its own narrative. And their narrative said, "We have many gods and our gods are more powerful than the gods of the nations that we have conquered. We conquer others with the help of our gods. And so we make sacrifices to our gods, to keep them on our side, and to thank them for their victories. Therefore, now that you're under our power, you must now bow to our gods also." And this put a lot of pressure on Jewish people who are now in Babylon facing this big test that demanded their loyalty to YHWH be thrown down, and that they embrace Babylonian gods, and it was the test. Will they remain loyal or even become loyal to YHWH? And not only did they have to face this physically overwhelming military power demanding their obedience or else, but by now, they had their own doubts about YHWH. Because their old narrative, their old mythology, their old story had told them, "we are the people of YHWH, he is the Creator of everything. And as long as we have his temple in our country, it protects us because his presence is there. And as long as we have the Ark of the Covenant -- the mercy seat, God's own throne, in the city of David on top of the hill, God's own city -- as long as we have the temple and the Ark, and we keep making offerings to him, we cannot be defeated, especially in our own land. Because this is the promised land that God gave our father, Abraham." That was their narrative, and that was their story. And then they lost the war, and the pagans defeated them, because their story had weaknesses in it.

And this was the role of the prophets. The prophets rose up during the time when they were being attacked by their enemies, and during the time before they lost the war, and also during the time after they had lost the war. There's about 100 years that the prophets... It's a -- there had always been prophetic voices, but the multitude of prophets and the prophets we have in our Bible, whose writings we have, that's all, that all happened in about 100 years. And they rose up to tell God's story to these people, and to tell the story in as many ways as possible. So you've got Amos telling the people, if you're the people of God, then let justice roll down like a river. And they're explaining to the people, you can't be blessed if you are living your life as an agent of wickedness. If you serve wickedness, if you abuse your workers, if money is your real god, and if you've got other little gods around you, like literal, statues of gods, if you are making sacrifices to other gods too, don't think you can be blessed and keep living the way you are blessed the way that you are living now. Understand. And then later prophets, God is speaking clearly to them with words like, "I will send the king of Babylon against you, and He will surely defeat you. And he will take you away captive. If you do not repent and change your ways. I am going to do this thing", but they didn't want to change. And so they developed a story about prophets like Jeremiah, who was saying things like this, and they would say, the story about you is you're not patriotic. You know, you don't love your own people. Maybe you're even an agent for the king of Babylon, maybe you are here to weaken the hearts of the people of God. And so you just had all these battles of stories flying around, and God was raising up new storytellers. And some of them, like say Ezekiel and others, they had bizarre versions of the story, like apocalyptic. Anyway, I won't get into all his stories, but you had profits that would take off their clothes and be naked as though they were slaves stripped of everything. You have prophets who were cooking their food over dung, because they were trying to go ahead and portray to the people, this is what's coming to you if you do not change your ways. But no one listened to them, at least not enough to change the fate of the nation.

So now, the Jews found themselves in Babylon, and they were broken. Safe in a way, in Babylon as long as they obeyed, but their faith was doing one of two things, it was either draining away from them, one grain of sand at a time, day by day, as they bashed themselves and their old narrative against Babylon's narrative, or their faith was being rebuilt. But not on the old narrative. Their faith had to be rebuilt on a better story foundation. A story that more says something like, "our great God is disciplining us, because we're rebellious, and we're idolatrous. We've been like an adulterous spouse to him., He loves us. He has come after us so many times, and we just go after the gods of the nations. He has the power to deliver us immediately, but not until we become completely loyal to him, even in our defeat, and even here in Babylon. So we've gotta gather together again. We need to start studying his word, as a people. And we need to sing songs about him, and about our life with him. And we need to train our children to think differently than we have ever thought in our lifetimes. And then God will arise, and he'll bring us back to the land of our birth. Things need to change." And many Jews began to think like this, and that's when synagogue started. The gathering together, they had no more temple. They could not do temple sacrifice. They could not do the rituals from the Law, but they were able to start gathering and singing and talking about God, and rebuilding another faith, a deeper, a better faith. Stay tuned.

Now imagine you're a Jew, and you're in Babylon, and think about what would happen if you gathered a bunch of people together as a rally, and you began to say openly to this group, "Babylon is weak, Babylon is corrupt. We will be delivered from this slavery one day!" Well, I tell you what will happen. You'll be executed by the Babylonians. But if you're a storyteller, you can do something even more powerful than that. Like inserting -- it's kind of like you've inserted a replicating virus into somebody's operating system. Stories are easily remembered. And if your story makes more sense than their story, if your story is more powerful than the gaps in their story, then your story will overcome the weakness that's in their gaps, and it will become inserted into their worldview. First, it'll be an alternate story, like, "and here's another point of view". But as it grows, your narrative can become the guiding narrative. Let me give you an example. Okay, so if you -- Babylon had its own mythology, as all cultures do, about where the world came from. Science has its mythology. Every culture that's ever existed has had to explain how we all got here, and what the world is, and why does the world behave the way it does, and what is the problem that's going on in the world. And so this is Babylon's mythology, they have a creation story. It's from over 1500 BC, because we have found a cuneiform clay stele that was like a, document, it's called the Enuma Elish. And this is a summary of the really long story, like our story is 31 verses, Genesis 1. Their story just goes on and on and on. And their story says -- I'm just gonna summarize, okay -- that in the beginning, there's already matter, things are already here. In the beginning, there was only water, and the water was swirling and chaos, and out of the swirl, the waters divided into freshwater that was sweet. And that became a male god, Apsu. And then bitter water that was salty, and that's the goddess, Tiamont. And these two then began to make god babies. And they gave birth to younger gods, and these younger gods were really loud, and they were bothersome. And they troubled Apsu, the male god, they troubled him at night while he was trying to sleep. And they distracted him from his work in the day. And he asked wisdom from a vizier, who told him his name was MuMu, And he told him, "You ought to kill the younger gods". So he said, "Okay, I'm going to kill the younger gods that we made". And the mother, Tiamont, she heard about the plan, and she ran and warned her eldest son, be careful, you know, your father has listened to his advisor, and he's going to kill you. Well, the son acts in aggression, and he puts Apsu, his father, the first creator of the gods, he puts him to sleep, and then he kills him. And from his remains the son name Enkey, he creates his own world, his own home. And his mother, who was, you know, his supporter, she was the one that whispered this to him. But now she's really, she's infuriated, you know, they killed her mate, not husband, but a mate. And so she goes to another god. And this god says, you know, the same thing, the first god told her mate. That is, "you got to kill these younger gods". So she consults with this other god named, Quingu. And he says, "make war and I will be your champion". So she gives him great powers. And he goes to war with her against her own little god children. And she summons all the forces of chaos, and she creates 11 monsters to destroy her children. And all the younger gods fight back at her, and they can't beat her. But then one of them Marduk rises up, and he swears he will defeat the female deity. And first he defeats her champion, Quingu, and then he kills her. And he shoots her with an arrow and it makes the, it makes her eyes tear up, and when her tears come out, they become the river Tigris and Euphrates. And then he takes her corpse, and he uses her corpse to make heavens and earth. And then he appoints gods to different roles. And then everybody, all the gods are praising him, but now they need servants. So Marduk decides to create human beings, and they will be the helper and slaves of the gods. End of story. It's like, wow, that is a really, that is a really interesting story.

And so the Hebrew hears that story, and then they say, "Okay, can I tell you our version? Here's our version. There's one God, only one, He is the Creator of everything in heaven and in earth. He has created all the gods, all the plants, all the planets, all the humans, everything came about, from this one Creator God, and he made things in heaven and things on earth. He made them without the help of any other. He needed no one's counsel. He is the fountain of all wisdom. He is the source of all power, and all the forces of life. Anyone that is alive, anything that is alive. That force of life comes through him. He alone defeated the forces of chaos with his "chakaina" glory presence, a pure light. He is righteous, he is wholly unlike anything else. He is morally perfect, he is not a big man, he is The God. And he is the standard of what is right, and what is wrong. And he made darkness, all the forms of darkness, he made it to be his servant, and to serve his purpose. And he created our planet Earth to be his home, that our planet will be the bridge between the spirit world and the material world. And as the highest point of creation, he made mankind just a little lower than the angels, because humans are the bridge species between material beings like all the animals, and immaterial spirit creatures like what we call the angels. We are flesh and blood, but we also have an enduring spirit that survives our physical death. And he placed before us -- we are his special creatures, he made us with so much love, he breathed his own breath into us. And he took us to be sons and daughters. And he placed only one requirement before us, be loyal to him. And he made one simple test of this loyalty. And this test is in all of our lives, two trees. A tree of dependence and submission that we live under him, according to his Law, we rule this planet on his behalf, but we must do it in accordance with his character and his value system. We have to treat his Earth the way he wants it to be treated, or, we rebel and break away from him, and turn to the darkness and invite darkness into our life and into our world. And we have failed him. We failed in the test. All of us have failed in the test. But he's made a promise that he will send a snake killer who will come to the earth, a perfect human, who will save us all from the serpent, and from the darkness. And from the chaos that Tohu va Bohu, and this Messiah will come through the human line of Abraham, the father of everyone who turns from the darkness, to walk with YHWH in submission and love."

It's an entirely different story. And then if they're allowed to speak on, they could say, "and on a historical note, YHWH has judged us Jews, because we weren't faithful to him. We weren't faithful in our actions to others, we weren't faithful to worship only him. We did not follow his ways. And he will also judge Babylon if she doesn't turn from her sins as well. He will judge Babylon and it will not stand." And this was the message of Daniel, and of others who do story wars among the Babylonians. And then the Babylonians get conquered, and Daniel lives on and he does story war against the Medes. And then they get conquered, and the Persians come and he does story war against the Persian stories. The great story of all that's Genesis 1-12, it is the root and the heartbeat of all the the story of God, the myth of God, that gives us our glasses to see this world properly. Because my dear friend, the story you believe will determine the course of your life. There is a story that you believe in your heart, and God has sent His Word to inform your heart and my heart so we will believe the right story and live by this story. And it will make our way clear before us. That's why we study Genesis 1-12. We need -- I need it and you need it -- we need to plant God's own narrative deep inside our hearts and let that story inform our perception of this world. What's important, what is not. Let it fuel our emotions, and let it determine our actions throughout our lives. It's a very important matter. It's the core of what spiritual war is. It's not just going to a high place and saying mean things to the devil and telling them to run away. Paul said that spiritual war is to get inside the mind of another person, and pull down vain thoughts and imaginations, false stories, pull them down and break them, and insert Jesus as Lord. Jesus is the clear story. And it will set you free if you have that story revealed to you, because it's not something that you can just, you know, take and read Christian theology and your whole life has changed by it. This is a thing that has to be revealed to you by God. The Lord has to open you up and speak his story into your life. And if you're somebody who is struggling spiritually, and you just don't know the truth about things, you're not sure what you believe. I really don't invite you to, say, learn the Christian doctrines and then become a Christian like us or go attend church, because church will will change your life. I hope it does. And if you get in a healthy church, it'll be so good for you. But what you really need is an encounter with Truth. You need to encounter the God who made the world and the God who made you. You need to encounter the perfect human, the God-man that came down and entered into this story as one of us, and lived it and fulfilled it, and put us back on the throne and made us lords of our life again, and put this world under his feet so it can be under our feet. And we can bring back the garden and we can bring it back to the garden.

So that's where we're all headed. Let's dig into God's word. Let it inform our life. That's all for now. Don't forget about the free course at MediaLightOnline.com. We've made this for you. It'll help you start using social media in a more important way. So visit medialightonline.com today and share that opportunity, and also share this podcast. Anything that you think would be helpful to your friends. It'll have so much more weight coming from a friend to a friend, so please help us grow the podcast by sharing it with your friends. Expect God to use you today because you are the light of the world.