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A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender
says, "Sorry we don't serve food in here.
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The Apologetic of Story
Jill Carattini

Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image journal, tells a story about telling
stories for his kids. He describes the memorable bedtimes when he
attempts to concoct a series of original tales. "My kids are polite
enough to raise their hands when they have some penetrating question to
ask about plot, character, or setting," he writes. "If I leave something
out of the story, or commit the sin of inconsistency, these fierce critics
won't let me proceed until I've revised the narrative. Oddly enough, they
never attempt to take over the storytelling. They are convinced that I
have the authority to tell the tale, but they insist that I live up to the
complete story that they know exists somewhere inside me."(1) Children seem
to detest a deficient story.

There is no doubt that our sense of the guiding authority of story and
storyteller often dramatically lessens as we move from childhood to
adulthood. And yet, regardless of age, there remains something deeply
troubling about a story without a point, or an author not to be trusted.

In an interview with Skeptic magazine, Richard Dawkins was asked if
his view of the world was not similar to that of Shakespeare's Macbeth:
namely, that life is but "A tale told by an idiot, filled with sound and
fury, signifying nothing."

"Yes," Dawkins replied, "at a sort of cosmic level, it is. But what I want
to guard against is people therefore getting nihilistic in their personal
lives. I don't see any reason for that at all. You can have a very happy
and fulfilled personal life even if you think that the universe at large is
a tale told by an idiot."(2)

His words attempt to remove the sting his philosophy imparts. And yet, it
stings regardless--both with callousness and confusion. If I am but a poor
player fretting my hour upon the stage of a tale told by an idiot, what is
a "fulfilling" personal life? There is no room in the naturalist's
philosophy for intrinsic dignity, human worth, or human rights. There is
no room for moral accountability, right or wrong, good or evil. There is
no room for the layers of my love for my husband, the cry of my heart for
justice, or the recognition on my conscience that I am often missing the
mark. There is no room for my surprise at time's passing or my longing
for something beyond what I am capable of fully reaching in this moment.
This is not the story I know.

In the words of G.K. Chesterton, "I had always felt life first a story:
and if there is a story there is a story-teller."

Could it be that our relationship to stories, our first love of the tale
beyond us and the author beside us, conveys a deep truth about our own
cosmic tale? Are not the very philosophies we carry attempts to make
sense of the grand story of which we find ourselves a part?

The first words of Genesis 1 boldly claim that we are not lost and
wandering in a cosmic circle of time and chance. There is a story that
emerges from the beginning, and we have a place within it. Similarly, the
writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith,
where ultimate significance is aptly defined as being written into the
story of God. God's Word places us in the timeline of a coherent history,
delivering us from the deceptions of the enemy, telling us who we are, and
where we came from, what is wrong with us, how we are made whole, and
where we are going. We are placed within a story of which we know and
celebrate the outcome, even as we wait for it through time and trial. In
Christ, history's outcome-its ultimate end-is revealed. Dark days may
follow, but the ending is known. It is a story neither deficient,
nor untrustworthy.

C.S. Lewis fittingly describes heaven at the end of his Chronicles of
Narnia as a place where good things continually increase and life is an
everlasting story in which "every chapter is better than the one before."
His compelling reflection has often reminded me of Christ's beloved
disciple in the closing chapters of his testimony to the significance of
Jesus Christ. Notes John, "If all of the acts of Christ were recorded,
the world would not have enough room for all the books that would be
written" (John 21:24-26). Like children, eyes widen at the thought. What
a story to be a part of, a life to find touching your own.
(1) Gregory Wolfe, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art,
Faith, and Mystery (Square Halo Books: Baltimore, 2003), 81-82.

(2) Skeptic vol. 3, no. 4, 1995, pp. 80-85.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to
the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
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A farmer and his recently hired hand were eating an early
breakfast of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon and
coffee that the farmer's wife had prepared for them.
Thinking of all the work they had to get done that day,
the farmer told the hired man he might as well go ahead
and eat his dinner too.

The hired man didn't say a word, but filled his plate a
second time and proceeded to eat.

After awhile the farmer said, "We've got so much work to do
today, you might as well eat your supper now too."

Again, the hired man didn't respond but refilled his plate
a third time and continued to eat.

Finally, after eating his third plate of food, the hired man
pushed back his chair & began to take off his shoes.

"What are you doing?" the farmer asked.

The hired man replied, "I don't work after supper."
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--René Descartes - March 31, 1596
Died February 11, 1650
Rationalist philosopher and mathematician. While serving in
the Bavarian army in 1619, he conceived it to be his task to
refound human knowledge on a basis secure from scepticism.
He began his enquiry by claiming that one can doubt all
one's sense experiences, even the deliverances of reason,
but that one cannot doubt one's own existence as a thinking
being. He also argued that mind and body are distinct
substances, believing that this dualism made possible human
freedom and immortality. His "Discourse on the Method for
Rightly Conducting One's Reason and Searching for Truth in
the Sciences" contained appendices in which he virtually
founded co-ordinate or analytic geometry
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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