One of the most highly rated episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is titled “Darmok.” Captian Picard must learn to communicate with the Tamarian Captain Dathon who’s language is based upon references to Tamarian epic stories, of which Picard knows nothing. Through a struggle, Picard learns the symbolic language, and in the final scene, is found in his “ready room” reading Homer, sharpening his own narrative skills for his next encounter with the Tamarians.
The semester recess has allowed me to catch up a bit on my epic reading. I finished The Poem of the Cid, the epic poem of Spain (and watched the “El Cid,” starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren), The Saga of the Volsungs, the epic of the Vikings, and began The Prose Edda, the epic of the Scandinavian Norse. Good story tellers know good stories, and learn the art of telling them well. For a pastor it is where one learns to preach the narrative story of the Bible and exegetically at the same time. For my preaching specifically, it is where the Humanities/Religious Studies B.A. meets the M.Div.
I have already begun reading stories to my unborn child. I want him to know the story of God, humanity, and our family. I want her to have a connection to the past and an imagination toward the future. I want him to know why his name is Daniel Jasper, or her to know why her name is Sophia Amber. And I want them to live up to those names.
Mirab, with sails unfurled!