The core theme of this blog is very simple: everything that we know of, including ourselves, is part of a single narrative – one giant story. All of human history and all of its sundry cultures and societies, all of the circumstances that brought our planet into existence, and even all of the other planets, star systems, and galaxies in this universe or any universe are all connected, because they share a common existence. The reason this theme is important is because it gives us perspective.
The reason for expressing this common existence as a story is because it gives us purpose. Humanity has never accepted its existence at face value; we have always needed a reason for it. The way we give a reason for the way things are as we find them is by describing how they got this way – telling a story. Primitive cultures, ancient philosophical schools, and even our modern age using the tools of science (measurements and mathematics) have constructed narratives to explain not just how, but why we’re here. If we know why we’re here, then we can work out a purpose for ourselves.
We use this same technique to understand who we are as persons, too. We organize the events in our lives, our memories, our decisions and preferences, the points on our resumés, and maybe even what we know of our genealogies all into some semblance of a story in order to have an idea of who we are. Whether on the scale of us as a global species or just as individuals, we naturally use narrative to make sense of the world around and within us.
Not all people agree about the story that encompasses us all, and some people reject the idea of a meta-narrative altogether. Adherence to any story bigger than ourselves – whether it’s taoism, platonism, or naturalism – requires some measure of personal experience, reason, and faith. I’ve chosen to understand all of existence within the Christian story, because it corresponds to my personal experience and my reason, and brings my faith to life. Not a single universal platitude or ethic, nor any advancement or discovery in science negates or disagrees with the Christian story, but instead they all find their fulfillment, perfection, and meaning within it. Christians believe that’s precisely because the Christian story is ultimately authored not by humans, but by the very Author of the one world story. Here, I will write from within that Christian story, which encompasses everything yet speaks to us all personally.
My name is Stephen Brannen, and I live and work in Atlanta, GA. I am a member of the Orthodox Church and worship at my home parish, the Church of the Advent. I am constantly discovering that the more I learn about the world and about God, the bigger both become. Because I realize that I’m part of a giant story that extends way beyond me, I’m happy to acknowledge that few of the thoughts I share here have originated with me. Where ever possible I will try to point the reader to my source of information or inspiration.