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The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary LifeTales from the Coffee Shop$
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William L. Randall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.001.0001

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World Without End

World Without End

Story and Spirit

(p.150) Chapter 9 World Without End
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

William L Randall

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the role played by religious convictions, and the master narratives that mediate them, in shaping (or mis-shaping) our personal narrative identity: the role they play, that is, in how we “story” our lives and our world. The author recalls encounters in the coffee shop with some of the more pious of his fellow regulars, as well as memories of his own past as a conservative evangelical Christian in his college days, to consider the narrative complexity of spirituality, and of such specific topics or phenomena as fundamentalism and conversion. The chapter ends with reflections on the process of weaving elements from a variety of master narratives to compose a world story for ourselves that is life-inviting and not life-inhibiting; that is open and not closed.

Keywords:   spirituality, religion, faith, fundamentalism, conversion, master narratives, narrative foreclosure

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