During my time in seminary, I learned about the “new rhetoric” and the use of story or narrative when it comes to preaching sermons.  Stories can be powerful.  They can also be overdone.

Stories seem to dominate us today, especially social media.  Instagram has stories.  There’s Facebook stories.  Snapchat is, essentially, the “story” format.

Of course, none of these short now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t videos are “stories” in the literary sense.  Nevertheless, they seem to be here to stay, at least for a while.

So Many Stories, So Little Storytelling

People post stories all the time, but what do they say?  I don’t mean each individual micro-video.  Rather, I’m looking at the larger picture.

What do the “stories” we upload say about us as individuals?  As a society?  As humans?

I sometimes wonder, in the push to create more content and to stay relevant, if we’re not actually saying less as we post more.  It seems the adage “more is less” doesn’t apply to “stories.”  We keep uploading more and more, yet saying less and less.

To put it another way: as we tell more stories, what story are we actually telling?

I asked a coworker that question and her answer is probably right on point: it says we’re more interested in being entertained than actually growing as individuals.

Basically, the story we may be telling is that we’re becoming more and more vain.

Is that the story we want to tell?  There’s got to be a better one.

A Better Idea for Stories: Use Them to Help Others

I’ve read numerous articles on how to use stories.  They range from narcissistic self-glorification to actually telling stories (using them like playwrights use acts and scenes).  Overall, many of the ideas revolve around marketing oneself.

Some ideas, though, looked at a more altruistic, and, I believe, ultimately a better way to use stories: we should use them to help others become better people.

I like that idea.

When creating stories, many people focus on themselves and their life.  Maybe we should start using stories to encourage and motivate each other.  We can offer a quick challenge to inspire others to serve Christ and their communities.  We can offer sage advice on how to deal with various situations.

Maybe, just maybe, we could share a quick word from Scripture!

You’re ultimately free to use your stories however you choose.  I just want you to think about what your stories ultimately say about you.  Are they really telling the story you want to tell?

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