The Stories We Tell by: Mike Cosper

Posted: November 24, 2014 by jperritt in Uncategorized

stories[Note: Crossway is giving away a copy of The Stories We Tell on Wednesday, so be sure and check back here for details.]

We understand that you typically visit this site for movie discussions; however, we also want to make you aware of literature that’s movie-related.  Crossway graciously gave me a review copy of Mike Cosper’s The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth, months ago and am just now getting something up about it.

Let me just go ahead and say that you need to buy this book.  If you frequent this site at all or frequent the big or small screen, you will greatly benefit from it.  Cosper is a gifted writer and thinker and his ability to grasp the meta-narrative present in movies and television will shape your viewing habits for the better.  For example, Cosper explains that Jesus’s life and journey can be marked by five stages: called away [incarnation], tried and tested [temptations of Jesus], into the darkness [crucifixion], out of the darkness [resurrection], & home again [ascension].  He then traces these themes through our heroes in popular films like The Lord of the Rings and Superman, as well as, those listed below:

The Bourne Identity

  • Called Away – His life of amnesia leaves him wondering who he is and how he got where he is.
  • Tried and Tested – He goes on the run from the CIA.
  • Into the Darkness – In order to end the CIA’s hunt, he must go to the very top of the organization and confront the director.
  • Out of the Darkness – He escapes other assassins and disappears.
  • Home Again – He finds Marie on an island in Greece, and they seem happy ever after.

The Hunger Games

  • Called Away – Volunteers as Tribute in place of Prim.
  • Tried and Tested – Fights for her life in the Hunger Games.
  • Into the Darkness – Prepares to commit suicide to deny the Game Masters their champion.
  • Out of the Darkness – Game Masters change the rules; Katniss and Peeta live.
  • Home Again – Returns to society as a symbol of rebellion and hope.

Luke Skywalker (Star Wars series)

  • Called Away – Invited by Obi-Wan to learn the ways of the force.
  • Tried and Tested – Battle of Yavin (first Death Star); Dagobah.
  • Into the Darkness – Battle with Vader in Cloud City.
  • Out of the Darkness – Battle with the Emperor at Endor.
  • Home Again – Returns to the Alliance as a Jedi Master.

Harry Potter

  • Called Away – Marked as a baby; “The boy who lived.”
  • Tried and Tested – Books 1-6
  • Into the Darkness – Meeting Voldemort in the forbidden forest; Death.
  • Out of the Darkness – King’s Cross Station; Resurrection.
  • Home Again – Return to Hogwarts; Defeat of Voldemort.

As I said, this book will shape the way you watch television and film.  Far too often, we turn our brains off when the screens come on; however, The Stories we Tell imparts discernment that assists us in our viewing habits.

Content adapted from The Stories We Tell by Mike Cosper, ©2014. Used by permission of Crossway, Wheaton, Il 60187,


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