Two BBC stories – the Nativity by Tony Jordan, put out on BBC1 before Christmas, and the Archers at 60 when over half a century of village soap opera was celebrated in a dramatic double episode. I got caught up in both of them, in a slightly reluctant way that was nevertheless grateful for relatively undemanding entertainment.
It set me thinking about stories and faith. Stories are what get us imagining, moving outside ourselves and our own little lives, encountering strange worlds and familiar ones and getting some perspective on where we are. I tried to think of a religion that is not constituted somehow by a story – is there one?
But the delicate point is distinguishing story and history. Because I was trained originally as an historian, I tend to ask awkward questions about dramatic interpretations of texts, and indeed about the texts themselves. It doesn’t stop me enjoying something like the Nativity, but I was moved in the same way that I might be moved by the Archers, not by the Bible.