There is a theory that we each try to place ourselves into a story. Many things we buy and every identity marker we use is about creating a narrative that we are happy to place ourselves into. This narrative comes to define us and help us to work our who we are. Isn’t much of life about finding this identity and finding others to share our story with – others who are like us.
Advertising is trying to sell us not just a product but an identity, and this identity is based on us stepping into the story that they have created for us. Apple, for example, for cool tech-savvy slightly alternative creative types (conveniently forgetting that due to its own success it is not alternative anymore). Fat Face is a brand for laid back slightly scruffy late twenty-somethings who want to prioritise fun and friendships over work – is that a story that we want to step into? If it is, wear the brand.
Engaging with these stories is supposed to buy us freedom and relationship and to allow us to create and define who we are. Of course, all we are doing is stepping into pre-defined identities that others have created for us.
The challenge for the gospel today is to articulate the big story which speaks to every one of us in a way that contemporary culture can identify with. The challenge for the Christian is to see themselves as part of that great story of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation and to find identity and freedom in that.
How will we articulate the Story to our contemporary society?