Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shaped by the Story

If you're looking to get your youth group involved in storied experiences of scripture, be sure to check out the upcoming "Merge" event to be held at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI June 27-July 2. Author and veteran youth worker Michael Novelli ("Shaped by the Story") will be guiding youth groups chronologically through biblical storying, discussion & artistic response. Think "Godly Play" for youth. Yay! Youth must come as part of a youth group with their leaders, so now's the time to start planning ahead--plus you won't want to miss out on the early bird rates. Happy storytelling!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas stories

Participants of my recent seminars on The God-Hungry Imagination were wondering what other books/stories I recommend in addition to those by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. The list is huge, so I'll begin slowly (also you can view some of them on my website here). For starters, here are some Christmas tales written & illustrated by Native American storyteller Ray Buckley that you'll want to keep on your shelves:

The Give-Away (Abingdon Press, 1999)

Christmas Moccasins (Abingdon Press, 2003)

Beautiful, enchanting, grace-filled for the God-hungry...

Muscle memory

Recently I had two fantastic experiences leading seminars on The God-Hungry Imagination: The first was at the fall Princeton Youth Ministry Forum held at Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, NC; and the second was in Vancouver, British Columbia at the "Evolve" youth ministry event run by the United Church of Canada. The locations say it all, but the people were even better. In addition to the great questions and conversations sparked by our reflections on imagination & narrative, I found my own thinking challenged and expanded in exciting ways.

For instance, if we believe that faith is embodied, and that one of the ways we learn is by enculturation in the practices of the community in order to build a kind of "muscle memory", then we must pay attention to the ways in which pain and alienation have also been embodied in the community. If someone has been judged or abused by the church, that abuse is built into their muscle memory. Receiving the bread and the cup from a pastoral figure is not a universally healing or hospitable gesture. How can we as a church be more sensitive about such things?

Food for thought...