The Art of Spiritual Narrative
In Storycraft, renowned author Walter Wangerin Jr. explores the power of narrative and storytelling to impact message, messenger, and hearer. Through preaching and teaching, the gospel comes alive--is incarnated--in the words, actions, and stories we tell. Well-crafted stories shape the relationship between tellers and listeners, between preachers and people. And in the telling, trust is established, faith is formed, and lives change. "A well-told story gives people eyes that see, ears that hear, tongues that taste, fingers that touch, and hearts that can be moved. But even before we start to create a story, and then to tell it, we should trust we have the abilities to craft it well enough to lead our listeners to the truth" (chapter 3).
Wangerin draws on personal experience and a host of voices to make a case for the importance of embracing story as an essential tool for communicating the gospel in preaching and teaching settings. He turns to personal anecdotes, wisdom from ancient classics, and a provocative anthology of narrative types. Together, Wangerin's reflections create a theology of story that shows how the Word of God takes on flesh in practiced speech.
The sections of the book focus on the effect of spoken stories and the process of building a story step by step. It then provides several examples of stories for telling and expands on the importance of theatrics in preaching and teaching. In a very real sense, preachers and teachers of the gospel are actors. Motion and meaning flow not simply from words but from the embodied presentation of the preacher, who approaches the task as script writer, director, and actor.