Anyone who knows me knows that I love stories: telling stories, listening to stories, and reading stories. (In fact, since I have been a local storyteller in our community and school systems most children who see me at a store or walking down the street will say, “Aren’t you the storyteller?”).
I am a firm believer that we are, according to communication expert Walter Fisher, homo narans (story-telling beings). It seems that growing up we have to be taught how to think in terms of logic and mathematics. However, no one has to be taught how to tell stories–storytelling seems to be imbedded into our DNA!
I’ve said before, no little girl tells her father: “Daddy, please give me a three part syllogism explaining the danger of talking with strangers!”She says, “Tell me the story about Little Red Riding Hood!” No high school student comes home and says, “Let me give you a logical formulation explaining why my locker-mate is a moron!” Instead he says, “You won’t believe what my locker mate did today! I was trying to open my locker when…”
We all tell stories. Stories resonate with us.
Recently I picked up a book entitled The Story of God, The Story of Us: Getting Lost and Found in the Bible by Sean Gladding (InterVarsity Press). This is not a how-to book or a book of essays about the Bible. Instead, it is a narrative of the biblical text from beginning to end. It is designed to be read out-loud. I have decided the Willis family is going to spend some time each week reading through this book chapter at a time (there are 12 chapters).
Admittedly, this is not the same as reading the actual Bible. But what this does for you and your family (or your community if you wish to do this with a community gathering) is take you through the story of the Bible in a reader/listener friendly format. Hopefully it will encourage you and others to pick up the Bible and to begin to explore it. The story of the Old Testament is told through the eyes of a fictional Hebrew elder living in Babylon–a Qoholet if you prefer who gathers people together to share a message. Likewise, the story of the New Testament is told through the eyes of a woman who has been a witness to the events of the first century.
This is not a book review, because I haven’t actually read it all of the way through! However, what I have read is intriguing and makes me want to try this out. I am certain there will be some interpretive elements that I may end up disagreeing with (or maybe not…who knows?), but we’re adults and we can deal with differences of opinions as we explore it together.
As our family goes through this, I hope to share my reactions with you on the blog. I would love to hear your thoughts as well. First, what do you think of the idea? How helpful would such a retelling be among families, friends, and even communities? What do you think?