On Story: Denouement, Desert, and Faith


  • (RP) IPA: /deˈnuːmɑ̃/
  • (US) IPA: /deɪnuˈmɑnt/, /deɪnuˈmɑ̃/

“Denouement” is a fancy word for the final conclusion, when the climax comes to final resolution.

In a murder mystery, the climax is the moment the detective solves the mystery, or when he finally figures it out. The denouement is when the bad guy is caught. It’s the end of the story when the loose ends have all been neatly tied up and all that went before finally makes perfect sense.

In the Bible, the denouement is the Second Coming of Jesus. It’s when the wicked are judged and sent to destruction, the redeemed are saved and protected from destruction, and God joins heaven and earth to walk with man once again. Continue reading

On Story: Of Adam, Eve, Conflict, and Climax

Story2The elements of a good story

Let’s take Adam and Eve, Genesis 2 and 3, as an example of a good story.


Every writer knows that a good story has to have certain elements. It has to have characters that we understand. It’s even better if we identify with them. If we can understand Adam and Eve, the story is good. If we identify with Adam and Eve — if we see ourselves in them — then it’s an even better story. Continue reading

On Story: Of Worldviews and Metanarratives

Story2We’ve talked about stories and story theory before. I hope this isn’t too repetitive. But I’m increasingly finding how very important story is to Christianity. And I’m hoping maybe to tie a few threads together from prior posts to make a point or two.

It could happen.

We need to make a few things clear as we begin. First, by “story” we don’t mean fiction. There are both true stories and made-up stories. Obviously, when we’re discussing scripture, I have in mind a true story. The word “story” does not imply fiction. (Please don’t make me say it again.)

Second, the Bible is tied together by a big story, a story that is told through a series of smaller stories. Each smaller story is the story of a man’s or woman’s interaction with God. And each smaller story gives us a different perspective on God. Each perspective is true — but each perspective is different. Continue reading

“My Kind of Town … ” Headed to Chicago

In a couple of days, I’ll be headed to Chicago. I’ll be speaking at a convention of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, dealing particularly with chapter 9 bankruptcies — that is, bankruptcies of cities and counties. A timely topic, but not really good Sunday school class material.

I’ll try to keep up via my laptop, and I’ve already posted several posts on the theology of story. But the plan is mainly to eat steak and pizza. I mean, any city famous for steak and pizza is my kind of town.

PS — The posts on story theory will offer as background several lengthy pieces of music, especially the work of Mike Oldfield. Mainly because that’s what I was listening to when I wrote the posts. It’s about one essay per Oldfield album. You don’t have to listen if you don’t want to. But you should.

A Hospice for Dead Churches

deadchurchPart 1

Ed Stetzer is an expert on church growth and a consultant to the Southern Baptist Convention. I’m a fan.

He recently wrote a blog post called “Creating a Hospice Ministry for Churches.” I thought it was about churches providing hospice care for dying people — not a bad idea. But it’s really about hospice care for dying churches.

Thousands of Churches of Christ close their doors every decade. Sometimes the building is sold and the members pocket the money. Really. Sometimes the building is abandoned. Sometimes the members give up and quit church altogether. Sometimes they find another congregation to join. Rarely does a church die well. Continue reading