At the 2008 Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, I led a workshop on “What’s At Risk When We Tell A Bible Story.” I believe that workshops for practitioners of a craft are collaborative enterprises – as the leader, I’ll bring interesting ideas and materials, but my hope is that everyone will pitch in with their own thoughts. This group came up with splendid ideas, so I am making their thoughts available here.
Here’s the description of the workshop: What’s at Risk When We Tell A Bible Story? When we start telling bible stories we tend to obsess about forgetting the words – but there are other, less-obvious risks we take when we tell a Bible story. This workshop will explore the rocky ground between the storyteller’s self and the vision of ethical, informed, generous, holy biblical storytelling.
At the workshop, we used a three-step model for Biblical storytelling and considered, at each step, how to do that step well and how to do it carelessly – without respect and tenderness. These responses are based on the work and witness of fifteen storytellers. They come from the heart, and they are offered to your heart.
We receive a story from scripture. Here are some ways to receive it well:
Here are some ways to turn aside from wholeness as we receive the story:
What’s at risk when we don’t do a good job receiving a story? We cheat people – ourselves, our listeners. We let our own limits construct limits to the quantum power of the story.
As Biblical storytellers, we also need to tend the stories we have learned. Here are some ways to tend them well:
Here are some ways to turn aside from wholeness as we tend the story:
What’s at risk when we don’t do a good job tending a story and tending the storyteller? We don’t have oil for our lamps – when our witness is needed, we’re not ready.
As storytellers, we give the stories to others. Here are some way to give the stories well:
Here are some ways to turn aside from wholeness as we tell the story:
What’s at risk when we don’t do a good job giving a story? Confirming people’s idea that the Bible is so boring, blood-soaked or inexplicable that they don’t want anything to do with it.
People will forgive you if you forget the words. Audiences are on your side. Let their kindness hold you up.
Finally – Pamela’s invisible Storyteller’s Shawl, for which this blog is named. You are welcome to borrow it at any time!