By Gary Miller
I have been able to take a couple of days and float the river. Both times I have taken someone that has never been. One time the fishing was very slow. The next trip was more productive. Both trips were filled with all of those things that come with fishing the river whether the fish are biting or not.
I think that’s what I like most about the river. When the rivers are small like in my area, there is enough action outside of catching fish to keep one interested. Making our way through the shoals, dodging low hanging limbs, and dragging our boat through the shallowest spots give the trip its character. Most of the time catching fish is an uneventful exercise. The story line doesn’t change very much. “I casted my bait. The fish hit it. I sat the hook, fought it for a while, and reeled it in.” That’s pretty much the narration.
What adds intrigue to a story is always the things that are peripheral. It’s just the way it is. Those peripheral things are much easier to find on the river than on the lake. At least they are for me. And in writing, one always needs to find a way to present the same things in a different way. I find this same issue when I watch the hunting and fishing shows on TV. I can recite every line they are going to say. It may not be verbatim but the content will be the same. The shows that will move to the forefront in the days ahead will be the ones who learn to say the same thing a different way. This problem doesn’t lessen the truth of each story or the excitement of each adventure; but without intriguing peripheral information, one may not stop the channel long enough to see the outcome.
The same problems can also plague other areas that hold more crucial information than an article or a television program – like the Bible. You see the Bible contains stories and events that convey and contain truth. Over the past 2,000 years these stories have not changed. David always defeats Goliath. Jonah always gets swallowed by a big fish, and Jesus always rises from the dead. What many of us have tried to do over the years is simply add bravado to the same story without applying ourselves to know the peripheral information. We thought if we just raised our voice or hit our podium; the truth would be more attractive. Perhaps we need to listen to our own words when we tell others that passion and sincerity does not equate to truth. Truth is not made more truthful by humility or less truthful by pride. It is truthful because it corresponds to reality. But it wouldn’t hurt us to find new ways to explain it. The churches who continually strive to do this will become the places truth seekers will go.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org