Posted by: Billy Marsh | September 1, 2009

Andrew Peterson on Mohler’s Radio Program: Developing a Theology of Story

Andrew Peterson DesktopOn July 31, 2009, Dr. Russell Moore interviewed singer/songwriter/author Andrew Peterson on The Albert Mohler Radio Program/Podcast (HT: Bret Rogers). The topic of their discussion was “Storytelling and a Child’s Imagination“. For those of you who have any interest in either Peterson, stories, family devotions, or theology, then this show is for you.  Part of the purpose of this interview is also to promote the upcoming publication of Peterson’s second installment to his “The Wingfeather Saga” called North! Or Be Eaten. Having read the first book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Peterson is succeeding at “subcreating” a secondary world for both children and adults full of all of the adventurous elements that makes a good story good, notwithstanding the significant Christian worldview in which it is being formed. I am thankful for his commitment to carry on the legacy of the Inklings, particularly that of Lewis and Tolkien.

North! or Be EatenI won’t give a full commentary on all that the discussion between Moore and Peterson is about because it is fairly brief. However, the topic itself is one that pertains to all people, not simply children. What is the role of story in a Christian’s life, and does it have to be distinctively and explicitly Christian for it to be of value to a believer? Or, can your spiritual condition be impacted for the good by a story, let’s say for instance The Lord of the Rings, that does not pertain directly to the gospel? These are some of the questions that Peterson’s interview touches upon, but one of the most beneficial parts of the interview for me was hearing both Moore and Peterson talk about how they incorporate stories into their family devotion times. They gave me some great ideas as I seek to figure out what a Marsh family devotional time will look like when Wyatt gets older and we have more children. I greatly appreciate Moore’s openness to storytelling and how it can play a significant role in a Christian’s spirituality, especially since he’s one of the leading Southern Baptist theologians, serving as the Dean of the School of Theology at SBTS. Honestly, you’d expect someone in his position to be more reserved on this topic since conservative Southern Baptists are known for upholding a particular way of being “counter-cultural”. I’m encouraged to see that a top-notch theologian is able to see the worth in good music like Peterson’s and the enjoyment of good literature instead of remaining tucked away in his own theological arena.

Check out the interview, and I hope that you glean much from it.

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