Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I found the most wonderful website. I was researching the art of storytelling, hoping to get some help with telling Hope Chapel artists' stories, but I got much more. This site is not a how-to but an exploration of why storytelling is important. Ah me, ever the lover of a little history, a bit of philosophy, and a dollop of physics….

The subject of storytelling has been in the air around me for the past couple of months. A friend has been raving about Tell Me a Story by Daniel Taylor, so I've been noticing it in various conversations and thinking about it. I've even been craving some good fiction lately. Now, I discover that storytelling is the latest thing in business management, too, a "passport to success" so they say. I expect that passport will expire in a few years, but the discussion about storytelling connects to the arts movement in the church very organically.

One of the points the website writers make is that, particularly in the 20th century, the scientific method grew into a behemoth that overtook all other forms of knowing. Isn't that how "God is dead" got its power? Believers and nonbelievers alike have been setting up faith and science as enemies for a very long time. But what if the solution is not to keep fighting with more logic, more "proof" from digging into Middle Eastern tells or authenticating ancient documents? Or alternatively, to insist that faith needs no logic? Faith in medieval relics vs. carbon dating is not the only possible battleground; storytelling through art is another.

I read here that the way David beats Goliath is by breaking the rules of the game. Let's listen to one of our own stories! Maybe the church can "beat" the logic of skepticism not through more logic but through the power of compassion, empathy, fear, anger; the emotions that a good story can elicit while leading us out of our tired, culturally formed ways of thinking about ourselves, others, nature, and yes, even God.
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Looking for the Lizard by Kate Van Dyke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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