Love the Story, Love God (Presbyterian Record March 2005)

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Ty in Archives
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The Ways We Minister : Love the story, love God

By · March 1, 2005 · 1 Comment Features ·

I love to tell stories — all varieties. Always have; I still have a comic book on subscription. I have been a youth leader for many years and over those years I have struggled to find ways to tell Bible stories. With my comic books as inspiration, and a Rabbi for guidance, I’ve developed a story telling method; one I find works very well, which I call the Rabinnical. I joke that God used to be a lot more visual in his teachings. That’s what he did at Jericho’s Walls. He meted out the ultimate butt kicking. Telling that story, as a dramatic tale, brings me to telling my youth about the Kingdom of God. In telling the story of David and Goliath, we argue about how a pebble could go through a giant’s head. This is the visual language of comic books. Or, how cool it would be to have aquariums to peer at fishes after Moses‘ trick with the sea. And, isn’t it funny how a feast day fell after the circumcision of all the warriors of Israel? And, did the vomit stick to Jonah after the whale puked him onto the beach? All great questions, but why were we talking about them (and in some cases getting very weird looks from elders as they choose the most awkward moments to walk by and peer in)? Because they are the story. We forget that the stories of the Bible are entertaining. As my chorus of youth tells me, we’re slow and God has to keep inventing new ways to talk to us. (Yes we are slow and occasionally just plain dumb — just look at the Golden Calf when Moses goes up the hill to get the Ten Commandments, or Peter telling God that he can’t eat what God is offering him because it is unclean.) I know I could find more traditional ways to teach the Bible. But then who likes easy — the challenge of the story is in the telling. Just like a Rabbi on the hill teaching, I sit in a church kitchen with too much pop and really great food talking about why we circumcise, will pharaoh ever get smarter, and were all the plagues cumulative or did they vanish after each one. My love of story grew out of my love of comic books (Superman, Captain America and Spiderman). It has followed me into ministry as I teach the story I am most passionate about: God’s constant seeking of a relationship with us.


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