The Music Man 1962 film

We Want a Boys’ Band

Here again it comes down to this: facts can be verified, but it’s not facts we’re after.

“Archeology is clearly of enormous value in reconstructing the general biblical world. It is far less secure as a means of validating the specific biblical world. Archaeological evidence is more indirect than direct … It may indeed be the case, though perhaps less common than we might expect, that archaeological data do confirm individual biblical passages. Yet what is meant by the truth of the Bible is not in fact subject to the kind of confirmation that archaeology can provide” (Oxford Study Bible, page 53).

What we want is truth, and truth is a function of story.

A story may be challenged or confirmed by the facts it contains. But facts aren’t the goal. Facts are the music man’s credentials, and sure, everyone wants to check his credentials, but in the end what they really want is a boys’ band. The only reason they’re chasing those credentials is that they want to believe he’s the sort of musician who can transform their children into musicians, too.

No sheet of paper can do that work. The credentials are useless without the man. Facts are just a sheet of paper next to the power of story, the truth it embodies, a truth which, if you let yourself believe it, will change your world. Facts can be proven or disproven, but truth is a function of belief. And truth is ultimately the only thing we care about.

“Through the new analytical possibilities… perhaps we can come closer than ever before to reconstructing the life experiences that caused our biblical ancestors to draw their profound and powerful conclusions about the role of God in their lives and to make their compelling assertions about the ongoing relationship between God and humanity” (Oxford Study Bible, page 55).

Let historicity be the assist … let truth be the goal.