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Living Out the Authentic Story
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Ron Martoia
The Bible as Improv:  Seeing and Living the Script in New Ways (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2010.  218p.)

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Ron Martoia has some thoughtful reflections on how we approach the Bible from our particular cultural and personal assumptions and social-historical background.  Martoia uses several helpful models to illustrate how we live out the story, extend the story into our own time and culture by understanding the variety of stories and circumstances presented to us in Scripture.

Sharing his own experience and general perspectives of modern culture, Martoia takes up questions of how the Bible becomes practical in our time.  The writings of the Bible arose out of and are presented in terms of a variety of communities over a variety of social and cultural settings.

Martoia has formulated some very practical guidelines for making sense of the Bible, in order to help people today make sense of the Bible.  Martoia takes seriously the well-known problem that many aspects of the Bible do not make sense if it is approached in the modern manner as a propositional rulebook or universal principles.

He reminds us that these writings arose out of the life and times of a real people in their real history and cultural challenges, and it is in that context that they make their primary sense.  The Bible stories and the overall story they make, like all stories, have a setting.  He helps us get into the text itself, see the format of the text, and flow with the stories that comprise the bulk of the Bible.

Martoia teaches us how to live the Story, improvising the acts of our daily lives based on the original stories.  We become co-creators with God as we extend the Story in our individual stories, creating new chapters that have never been lived before, but that are authentic in continuity with the true-life meaning of the original stories that became the Story.  In this way the Bible's story can become our story, in continuity with the continuing story we see in the Bible.

Martoia declares this is what the Bible means as Story, not the wooden legalistic adherence to mental propositions or obedience to command because it is command.  The Story is about authentic Life.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[review] Capturing Hebrew Orality
[review] Cultural Drama in Christian Beginnings
[review] The Gospels in their Jewish Setting
[review] Luke as the Dynamic Drama of Good News
[review] More Oral than We Knew: The Oral Nature of the Gospels
[review] Real-Life Church in the Lower East Side
[review] The Shack: a Realization of Relationship and Revelation
[text] Stories and Storytelling: Reclaiming our Oral Heritage
[review] Textual Themes and Language Variations in the late Prophets

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Original reading notes written 14 September 2010
Reviewed on Amazon 23 September 2010
This version posted on OJTR 18 October 2010
Last edited 10 December 2010

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2010 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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