The Narrative

One of the big buzzwords of contemporary journalism is “narrative.”

Facts bombard us from every angle—or at least information claiming to be factual. How do we make sense of the jumble? We need to organize everything into a coherent whole. “The narrative” does that. The narrative arranges the chaotic welter of facts into a picture that we can see clearly.

For instance, facts: our current federal tax code and revenues generated by it, our federal spending levels, the automatic cuts signed into law during the debt-ceiling negotiations, the results of the last week’s elections, the current growth-rate of the economy, etc.

The narrative: Congress and the President have 48 days to make a deal—or we go over a cliff.

So what about this: What is the “narrative” for all of life, taken as a whole? When each of us gets up in the morning, what image can truly help us to organize absolutely every fact—the whole dizzying jumble of realities we face?

In other words, what can make up the headline of my interior newspaper that keeps me up-to-date and informed on my own life—the heart of it, the truth of it, the meaning of it? What can I read—or, even better, what song can I sing to myself—so that I can conceive the perspective that I need to interpret events? What’s the narrative?

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for His Name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.
Etc. (Psalm 23)


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