On Tuesday we heard from Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal and how he believes our attraction to Story is rooted in science. But today we have a different take on the subject. Speaker, storyteller, and author Steven James believes that Story is embedded deep within the realm of faith. Although best known as a novelist (i.e. the bestselling Patrick Bower series), Steven’s new book is STORY: Our Journey of Heartache and Grace from Eden to Evermore.
There’s a Jewish saying, “God created man because he loves stories.” I don’t think that’s the only reason God created the world, but I like the saying. We live multi-storied lives, and I believe he wants to be a part of them every step of the way.
After elementary school children return to school after break, teachers will often give them an assignment to write about “what they did over summer vacation.”
The papers end up being lists of things that happened: I went to camp and I went swimming and then I played video games, etc . . .
One time I was doing a residency at a school after summer vacation, teaching the students about storytelling and writing and I said, “Please don’t tell me what you did over the summer. But could someone tell me about something that went wrong?”
A 4th grade boy raised his hand and said, “My cousin came over and we were seeing who could jump the farthest off the bunk bed.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well, he went first and got pretty far and I said, ‘I can get farther than that.’” The boy paused. He was a natural storyteller, and by then the whole class was leaning forward.
“So did anything go wrong?”
“I jumped off the bed, he said, “and the ceiling fan was on. I got my head stuck in the fan and it threw me against the wall!” The whole class erupted in laughter. This kid really was a natural storyteller.
Now, if I would’ve said, “Tell me about what you did over vacation,” he might have given me a report: “I played with my cousin.” But when I asked him to tell me about what went wrong, he told me a story.
Great storytellers know that the entire story pivots upon the struggle of your main character and what he is trying to achieve, overcome, or accomplish.
I think that the same is true in our lives. We face difficulties and struggles and our lives are disrupted. We try to get things back to normal, but we don’t succeed—in the end lives move on to a new kind of normal: a son dies, a spouse leaves, we lose a job, our computer crashes, and on and on.
We live in a fractured and imperfect world, which means that we are entering and leaving new stories every day.
It’s exciting, it’s challenging, but I remind myself that God wants to be a part of my story.
Even if that means I have to deal with getting my head stuck in the ceiling fans of life.
With stunning imagery, powerful poetry, and real-life drama, Story is an inspiring journey from the creation of the world to eternity and everything in between. Consummate storyteller Steven James threads together familiar scenes from Scripture that will awaken your faith and inspire you to live in the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. As he untangles the intricacies of the whole story of the Bible, you will rediscover the majesty and the mystery you’ve been missing.