Long-time-no-write ... because Barby and I find ourselves in Copenhagen for a conference (more on that later) with the flights over here providing the opportunity for watching some movies.
We've come a long way from The Sound of Music, a linear story (beginning at the beginning and progressing to the end) with basically a single plotline. With critically acclaimed movies like Pulp Fiction (which I am not endorsing here!) and The English Patient leading the way the presentation of stories has changed. The linear storyline is dislocated and the plotlines are multiplied.
We've seen this on TV. The multiplication of plotlines through Hill Street Blues and on to ER - where there may be up to 12-15 plots all happening at the same time - is now supplemented by Lost where any idea of a linear storyline starting at the beginning and progressing to the end is as lost as the title suggests.
A movie which caught my eye on the plane was Vantage Point where an American President is killed by terrorists in Spain and the story is then re-told from four perspectives. We have the story through the eyes of one character for about 20minutes then the movie literally rewinds in front of us to the same moment (12 noon) before the story is picked up through another character. Gradually the story makes sense - but through a non-linear storyline and multiple plots. As a piece of storytelling it was totally absorbing.
AND a person being killed and the story being told through four perspectives reminds me of another killing from four perspectives - the gospel story.
Here is the question which intrigues me. Is our gospel-telling stuck in a 'Sound of Music' world? If so, must this be the case? Would anything be compromised by being more creative and playing with non-linear storytelling with multiple plots more explicitly - even in the course of a single sermon? What would the gospel story look like in the hands of the director of Lost? Would it necessarily be incomprehensible? Probably! But maybe we can stop short of going that far?
I wonder if part of the answer might be found in the way the bigger gospel, the Genesis-to-Revelation story, can be told. Doesn't it make most sense non-linearly - by starting in the middle with Jesus generally (and the Road to Emmaus specifically) and using that then as a portal through which to travel back to Genesis and forward to Revelation, discovering multiple plots along the way?
I love the interface between gospel and culture, probing for that space where unshakeable biblical faithfulness and authentic cultural relevance coexist. I wonder whether there is some unexplored territory here?!