Thursday, October 08, 2009

On narrative intelligence

John Frye shares his experiences of the difference between doctrinal and narrative intelligence.
I was raised and trained in a social network that prized doctrinal intelligence. A person’s ability to learn and repeat precise “biblical” ideas was rewarded with praise, affirmation and advancement. The particular lives of some of the people and a few of the communities who valued doctrinal intelligence were factious, argumentative, judgmental, petty, gossipy and blinkered. The world of these otherwise fine people was limited to those who accepted and affirmed the prevailing doctrinal expressions. It was a ghetto of Bible-based ideas. I have been discovering another perception for reality: narrative intelligence. Narrative intelligence emphasizes the power of story. Narrative intelligence, from my Christian point of view, does not minimize doctrinal intelligence, as many evangelicals think who get real jumpy about “story,” but gives doctrinal intelligence a home, a place where the energies of doctrine may flourish into actual life.
I recommend John's whole article.


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