Book

Book Video Discriptions

Want to know more about my book?  Unclear what it is really about?  Click on the BOOK page and check out the videos that Jon Hall and Peter Schrock put together.  The first video is an overview of the book’s goal and the final three introduce each section.

The Time Has Come!

The day has arrived!  Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling released today and is available on basically every device under the sun.  No you don’t have to have a Kindle or iPad, you can get the Kindle software for FREE on your PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, etc…Click here for the FREE software.  Also, it is available on Zondervan and at the iBookstore.

Want to buy this for someone as a gift?  Just click “give as a gift” on the Amazon.com page, purchase and it will be sent right to their email inbox.

Check out the preview here or read one of the modern day parables I offer in the book here. Otherwise checkout the book page above for more info on what it is all about!

Thanks for the support, encouragement and willingness to explore a method of teaching that has great potential to invite students into the Story of God.

Sharing a Story

Well, it’s coming down to the wire as Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling will be released next week on December 14th!  It has been a long road (almost 3 years) and I’m looking forward to the ways it will challenge/encourage communicators and invite others into the masterful Story of God.

In the book, I challenge communicators (specifically youth pastors) to consider teaching through storytelling; a mode of communication usually employed only as an illustration to the message that is taught in a 3 point prepositional format.  I propose that through the development of artful modern day parables (also known as Jewish Agada), the telling of a story is not simply illustrating the message; instead it actually becomes the message.  Through the development of characters, plot and setting, we can articulate deep theological and practical insights by simply telling a story.  Not only is storytelling neurologically easier to follow than other forms of verbal communication, it creates a “suspension of belief” that allows the listener to imagine themselves as characters within the story.

All that being said, the last section of my book contains stories that I have written over the years and told in a variety of teaching contexts.  I am offering them as a resource and working example of what teaching through storytelling might look like.

So, for the next week I will set aside my usual blogging and simply tell you a story.  It is one of the stories that has been published in the book and you are more than welcome to use it and try it out in your context.  I wrote it to an audience of teenagers and it centers on Matt. 5:38-48 with it’s major themes being: redemptive violence, injustice, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration.  Finally, the story is told through two main characters named Kevin and Charlie.

I will post the first section tomorrow.  Follow along and enjoy some storytime!

Power of a Common Story

About a decade ago while watching my favorite surf video, I first stumbled upon the music of Mason Jennings.  Since that day, he has become both Janny and my favorite musician.  Any of you that went to our wedding heard his song as we walked down the aisle as a newly married couple (stalker alert #1)!!

Yes, his music is REALLY good, but more powerful than that are the stories that he tells through his profound and artful lyrics.  I still haven’t seen this genre on iTunes, but I like to call his music “hopeful protest.”  He isn’t willing to simply accept “the way things are,” while as the same time he paints beautiful word pictures of real life experiences that give a snapshot into a life and future rooted in common understanding.  It is in his asking the hard questions that he forces the listener to examine and search for truth (see his song titled “Jesus are you real”).

I know I am running the risk of sounding like the roady who goes to every show, only speaks in “Mason Metaphors” and isn’t willing to wear anything other than sweat pants, but that is a risk I am willing to take (stalker alert #2)…

Couple cool recent Mason encounters:

  1. Janny and I were able to meet and have some conversation with Mason after his recent show down here in San Diego (stalker alert #3).
  2. He offered me permission to publish some of his lyrics in my book(stalker alert #4).  Below is the first sneak peek inside Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling!  This passage ends with the lyrics from one of Mason’s songs.  Enjoy!

Excerpt from Pgs 59 & 60…

Standing in an ocean of people I’ve never seen before, I felt a connection.  This was the place where each of our personal stories connected and became one story, if only for a few glorious hours. Most of us stood on the floor looking up at Mason Jennings, a poet-activist-folk musician . . . and our favorite storyteller. Based on the responses of those around me, it seemed that each of us felt like he was telling our story. Of course, many of us were interested in different things, and some of us had very different moral and spiritual convictions. But for now, in this place, we were able to put that aside to be a part of something bigger.

This was not a “Christian” concert or rally but rather a kind of conversation.  Yet in this place, there was a sense of oneness. The lyrical sharing of lives and the stories that made up each of them was very real. And I could sense God here. God may not have been thrilled with what many in the crowd were doing (based on some the aromas I smelled from time to time), but that didn’t keep God from showing up in a real way.

Standing with my wife and a group of friends, I was blown away while listening to our voices singing songs in unison that asked profound, raw questions and called for change in the here and now. These songs looked at the parallel between the characteristics of Jesus and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We were engaging in a message communicated through a beautiful, rhythmic medium that prompted many voices to rise together:

“Dr. King, I think often of you and the love that you learned from Jesus.

Alabama, Alabama . . . Bethlehem.

Dr. King, I think often of you and the love that you learned from Jesus.

Up ahead we have a mighty task, love the face behind hatred’s mask, on the day we understand our     past, God Almighty we’ll be free at last.

Alabama, Alabama . . . Bethlehem.”

It Has a Name!

The publishing crew and myself have finally finalized the name for my book: Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling: Creating Fictional Stories that Illuminate the Message of Jesus

Thoughts? Because maybe by “finalized” it means I could still propose to get it changed…or maybe not, only one way to find out.

The release date has been set for July 16th, BUT it seems that the art department (which is the stage it is in right now) has had some staff transitions that could lead to pushing the release back…I know what your thinking, “Thank goodness, I was worried Jon’s book was going to cut into Rick Warren’s sales.” Yes, this book will surely shake the publishing world. Whether it is a 1.2 or a 8.0 quake depends on……..yes, you.

I will be speaking on this topic at the National Youth Workers Convention is San Diego in September: Seminar on Book Topic

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