Biblical Story Telling

I'm taking a class at church about Biblical Storytelling that I've really enjoyed the last few weeks. The facilitator is a wonderful woman who has a depth of wisdom and thoughtful comments that really inspire me as a teacher. A few things I've learned so far...

1. Biblical storytelling is important to the listener, since we remember in pictures, but also important to society, as there are many people groups who don't have a written language.
2. Although those of us who have grown up in church might be trained to 'apply' a story to our life or make a 'how-to' based on a story, story tellers have to be careful to stay true to the original story, and not inject what isn't in the text, including their own thoughts, wonderings, attitudes, teachable moments, etc... into the text. When we do this, we take away the listeners ability to form their own picture or come to their own conclusion. That would be a teaching, as opposed to telling a story. I think it's really beautiful how the Holy Spirit can use one story to encourage several listeners in unique ways. He is so good like that. (Disclaimer: I totally believer that our imaginations and imagining ourselves in Biblical stories is a great way to participate in the text, or to 'eat this book' as Eugene Peterson would say, but would make sure I was very clear to my listeners that it was me, and not the text).
3. It is hard to remember details. I heard in a public speaking class this week that our short-term memory can only remember 8 things at a time. In a similar vein, we were taught to try to condense every story into 10 sentences to make sure that we know the themes and the plot of the story before telling it. It is a difficult task.
4. I am so thankful that there are thousands of stories in the Bible that reveal God and His character. I have been studying Hagar, and if the story of Hagar was the only story that I read, I would come to some harsh conclusions about God and the Israelites. But coupled with other stories of God's faithfulness and goodness, we see a multifaceted view of God and His love. I need to read more stories.

Speaking of wonderful stories, today at church was unique in that we didn't have a traditional message, instead the speaker told a story set to music, that we all got to participate in. It was a beautiful parable of a young girl conquering fear, resting in the hiding places of her King, worshipping her way to victory in a battle against the enemy, and feasting at a table prepared before her enemies. So thankful for my creative and expressive family of Believers at the Fellowship!


Jamie | October 22, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Halen! I loved reading your blog today. You are GREAT! I agree with the 'message' on Sunday. That class sounds wonderful too! ♥

Kimmie | October 24, 2010 at 3:48 PM

those are good points. I teach in RS and those are good focus points. Thank hay hay.