Storytelling

Vol. 5.4 | Winter 2019

With many stories like these, [Jesus] presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots.

Mark 4:33-34, The Message

These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan – in the wilderness, on the plain opposite Suph, between Parn and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

Deuteronomy 1:1, NRSV

The central significance of marking the liturgical year is to help shape the Christocentric reality of the church. Jesus’ story is the Christian story, the foundational story that shapes, tests, and vindicates Christian life and faith. This is the rhythm of the Christian faith: the anticipation of God’s visitation, the narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection and ascension, the Spirit’s empowerment of the church’s witness and mission, and the anticipation of the consummation of God’s eternal kingdom. Christian worship reflects this rhythm, this story, through the order of worship and its great cycle throughout the Christian liturgical year.

Robbie Castleman, Story-Shaped Worship, pp. 34-36

The arts and sciences do have a place in the Christian life – they are not peripheral. For a Christian, redeemed by the work of Christ and living within the norms of Scripture and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts. The Christian should use these arts to glorify God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to the praise of God. An artwork can be a doxology in itself.

Francis Schaeffer, Art and the Bible, p. 18

Someone else always has to carry on the story.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

In this volume, our thematic cue invites contributors to explore the idea of storytelling in light of Liturgy, Witness, Scripture, and Tradition. Storytelling is not just a method of communication, it is both a concept and a practice that is integral to understanding the overarching shape and power of the biblical witness. Storytelling helped shape the Scriptures; it is how Jesus, the prophets, the apostles, and others explained God’s work in history. Storytelling is how the church emerged and grew through the centuries, through careful organization and recitation of the lectionary, through the grand panels and intricate stained glass windows within cathedrals, through the carvings in Celtic crosses, through the grace-filled proclamation of countless preachers, through the symphonic artistry of music like Handel’s Messiah, through the brush strokes of Renaissance painters, through the witness of indigenous believers, through the allegory of literature like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, through film, through poetry, through music… the list goes on and on. And so we are asking our contributors to help illuminate the ultimate Story by exploring the theology, art, and practice of storytelling itself in this upcoming volume of Resonance.

A Few Examples of Potential Lines of Inquiry (Arranged within the chiastic pattern of the issue)

This is not a restrictive list. It is simply a way to spark your thoughts.

Liturgy (exploring the theme in practices of Christian worship)

  • How is the Story told through the liturgy?
  • How has the church historically told the Story through different mediums, such as art, music, literature, etc.?

Scripture (exploring the theme through scriptural exegesis)

  • Explore the use of storytelling in the Old Testament
  • Explore the use of storytelling in the New Testament
  • How did Jesus use stories/parables to spread his message?
  • How do various biblical genres (history, poetry, apocalypse, gospel, epistle, etc.) communicate the Story in a unique way?

Witness (exploring the theme through the experience of Christian discipleship)

  • Describe a unique storytelling experience related to the gospel message. What was it like? What did you learn? How did you grow? What challenged you? What was comforting? Disconcerting?
  • Trace how a person or community communicates or experiences the Story in a unique or compelling way.

Tradition (exploring the theme through historic and/or systematic theology)

  • Describe key elements of a theology of storytelling
  • Research the use and impact of a particular telling of the Story (i.e. how the Story was told through stained glass windows or on a Celtic cross, or through a symphony, piece of literature, etc.).
  • What is the significance of storytelling to the spread of the gospel around the world?
  • What are challenges and opportunities for continuing to tell the Story today?

Crux (central article by a special guest)

  • By invitation only.
Deadlines

Proposal Deadline: Sunday, June 1, 2019
Submission Deadline: Sunday, September 1, 2019

Would You Like to Participate in this Volume?