Tag Archives: Experiential Storytelling

Some Favourite Quotes from Experiential Storytelling

ImageI previously posted this review on Mark Miller’s Experiential Storytelling: [Re]Discovering Narrative to Communicate God’s Message.  While the book left quite a bit to be desired, Miller can be quite quotable, and includes some great quotes from others too.

“Storytelling is powerful because it has the ability to touch human beings at a most personal level. While facts are viewed from the lens of a microscope, stories are viewed from the lens of the soul. Stories address us on every level. They speak to the mind, the body, the emotions, the spirit and the will. In a story a person can identity with situations he or she has never been in. The individual’s imagination is unlocked to dream what was previously unimaginable.” (33)  (While this may be overstating the case and creating a little bit of an unhelpful dichotomy between facts and story, nevertheless it does capture the value of story well.)

“People can argue doctrine and theology.  They can even sit with arms crossed listening to someone’s convincing reasons why they should believe.  But when powerful stories begin to be told, and when a person can identify with another person’s journey, the arms drop, the defensiveness wanes, and a receptive ear is gained.” (37)

“Stories can hold the complexities of conflict and paradox,” Annette Simmons (38)

“A sermon tells people what to think.  A story forces people to do the thinking for themselves.  It can feel dangerous because it allows for interpretation.  But one of the adjectives used to describe the Holy Spirit is “counsellor.”  Do we trust our people and the Holy Spirit enough to allow them to think for themselves?  Can we leave something open-ended, knowing that conclusions might not come until later that day, week, month, or year?  Can we allow people to own the stories?  Or do we do all of the interpretation and leave nothing to the imagination?” (41)

“Regardless of whether one considers this good or bad, for this generation, aesthetics counts more than epistemology.”  William Dyrness (55)

“The imagination is among the chief glories of being human.  When it is healthy and energetic, it ushers us into adoration and wonder, into the mysteries of God.  When it is neurotic and sluggish, it turns people, millions of them, into parasites, copycats and couch potatoes.”  Eugene Peterson (Under the Predictable Planet) (63)

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Mark Miller: Experiential Storytelling

ImageAt the back of Mark Miller’s “Experiential Storytelling: [Re]Discovering Narrative to Communicate God’s Message” was a link to a website for further resources, ideas etc.  When I pointed my browser in search of said website I was informed that I was now free to purchase this domain name, which I took to mean that the website was now defunct.  What I did find however, was a review by Steve McCoy, so I thought I would have a quick peek to see what he said before I posted my own thoughts.

How annoying to find that not only did Steve say everything I wanted to say… but I am sure he said it better.  So rather than clog the already crowded internet with more of the same I thought I would rather cut some thoughts from Steve’s review and point you to the rest of the blog post if you want more.

“I expected more.  It was a fast read, with not a great deal of content.  The book did spark some interesting questions in my head and I learned a few things along the way, but by the end I felt like it never took me where I needed to go.  It never got me into “aha!” stuff.  It never solidified anything I was already thinking. 

It’s possible the issue is partially with me, but the book is explained as a book about “rediscovering narrative,” and I didn’t read it that way.  I felt the point the book ultimately made was to emphasize “sensory” stories over “verbal” stories.  Verbal has a role for Miller, but for this book at least it’s a diminished one.

I think the book serves better as a tool for helping a handful of youth leaders supplement their normal communication of the truth with creative experiences.  Because of the work it would entail, these youth leaders would probably need to be in large churches with lots of youth and a sizeable budget.”

You can read Steve’s whole review here