July 21, 2017 Eric Blauer

Why I Tell Ancient Stories to Men

“Jesus taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables.”
-Mark 4:2

I do the same. It’s why I love all kinds of stories, especially ancient ones. One of the reasons I use mythic stories, (other than because I love them) is because I work to engage the most people I can. Mythic stories are not owned by one group, they are open to all and provide room for anyone to join the conversation. We can all read a story and then ask: “What do you think?”. Too often men’s gatherings are a ‘closed group’ by revolving around stories, language, conversations and conclusions that are unique to that particular group.

Too often churches encourage men to invite their friends and then bring them into a circle that is unfamiliar and full of insider stories and speak. It’s counterproductive to hospitality and inclusion, and the way of friendship. There’s a place for bible studies, small groups and church meetings, but we should also work to build on ramps that are accessible to people who have no familiarity with our particular circles. ManClan Meet-Ups are intentional in providing a place and community that seekers, skeptics and saints can explore meaningful matters without having to be overly familiar with insider stuff.

So why would a pastor use ancient stories, especially ones that are not from the bible? Well, the reasons above are part of it, and because I think stories, especially old ones, provide engaging and memorable content that can lodge in the heart and mind. I think many men long for a greater sense of meaning in life and want to find their place in a community of men. We want to be part of a tribe, circle and community…of brothers.

“It is very rarely that a middle-aged man finds an author who gives him, what he knew so often in his teens and twenties, the sense of having opened a new door.”
-C.S. Lewis, On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature

I have found that stories are great door openers to understanding, revelation, faith, friendship and transformation. They provide space to contemplate ourselves, others, truth, life and God.

“But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself.
Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see.
Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself;
and am never more myself than when I do.”
-C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, epilogue

Being part of a circle of men of many ages, backgrounds and experiences provides support, wisdom, an anvil for our hammers of thoughts, questions and cares. Stories don’t demand you to accept them, they just witness, and you have the opportunity to take from them what you may need or wrestle with their content. We need meaningful stories and we need maturing men to tell them to one another.

“The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’ The child enjoys his cold meat, otherwise dull to him, by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savory for having been dipped in a story…by putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it.”
-C.S. Lewis, On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature

Oh and I always wanted to time travel and this is the best way I know how…I hope you will join us.

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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

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