A metanarrative or grandnarrative is a narrative about narratives of historical meaning, experience, or knowledge, which offers a society legitimation through the anticipated completion of a (as yet unrealized) master idea.
For instance, scholars argue that there is more in terms of social and spiritual value from the humanity of Jesus than the idea of his divinity. When we take out doctrines like ‘original sin’, virgin birth, atonement, and resurrection; in fact we see a Jewish Rabbi who was totally committed to the global welfare of humanity – hence his charge, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
To this end his call to repentance was a bid for a change in our perspectives. When he responded to Nicodemus’ question with the advice, be ‘born again’ or ‘born from above’; he was encouraging an unlearning of bad scripts. His teaching about being like ‘little children’ was with a view that we put on what John Rawls will much later refer to as ‘the Veil of ignorance’ in his seminal piece: The Theory of Justice.
The fruits of the humanity and teachings of Jesus is evident in some institutions and cross cutting themes in the West. These include the welfare state, education, healthcare, social justice, and stewardship. However, even these institutions are now creaking under the pressures of efficiency savings and value for money as capitalism becomes the new global religion.
Back to the subject of metanarratives, one could argue then that the metanarrative of Christianity as a phenomena, institution, or religion; differs in regions around the World.
For example, Christianity in Africa is still in its infancy. The faith has not been subjected to the various tests it has endured in the West, as such the focus lies heavily on the ‘supernatural’ elements of Jesus. As such, using John’s language, the ‘Word’ is not yet flesh, and not ‘dwelling’. As a result, the Church is not a true reflection of who Jesus was. Thus we are not seeing the fruits of his charge creating and transforming institutions or even the masses in any wider sense.
Even in the West we still have a long way to go. The question still remains, who was Jesus? What was his vision for humanity?
Dear friends when we apprehend this reality then we can understand and take our place in the work of revitalisation and co-creation with God.
Join us for Operative Narratives, when I will be moving into the different areas of personal transformation. As we stay on these questions and allow them to permeate every facet of our lives, there is hope for redemption.
3:00-4:30pm, coffee afterwards.
St John’s Hall
Sidcup DA14 6BX
Reachout | Revive | Recover