January 23, 2011

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS: Story Telling and Witnessing To Christ in Monticello

I’ve been reading on-line essays and thinking about story telling lately. Some of what I’ve read comes from the greats, like Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe. Other things come from the not-so-great-yet, like Henry and Aaron. I’ve even been digging around in the Bible, looking at the parables of Jesus strictly from the viewpoint of story.

I’ve noticed that in all the writing books I have on my shelves downstairs, not one of them has a chapter on “story telling”. In fact, if you GOOGLE story telling, you mostly get hits on the art of verbal storytelling. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not what I’m looking for.

As I’ve grown as a writer, I’ve noticed that I go through phases, using a method that I’ve either derived from a writer's work or another writer presented as a "way to do it". Never once have the five methodologies produced inescapable results. Never once have the stories constructed using that methodology suddenly all sold...

Score: Wasted Time 17, Methodology 1

This leads me to the conclusion that excellent story telling must be like waiting for a church to find you. (“‘Squirrel!’ Dug, the Dog.”)


My son and daughter-in-law moved to Monticello, Minnesota (population in 2008 – 11,780; number of churches = 14; 1 church for every 870 people) in early June. Shortly thereafter, they recommitted their lives to following Jesus Christ. At an “all city church service", they met a young pastor who seemed enthusiastic about them. They liked him and were interested in getting to know him.

Despite calling the church four times and leaving messages and emailing the church once in order to try and plan their wedding, we never heard from them again.

No one in town has approached them in any way about their faith walk or about the love of Jesus Christ – which is, after all, what the Church is supposed to be all about. BUT they have been TWICE preyed upon by people who live there; once in response to their ad for a renter and the next time by a couple who wanted to add them to their stable of pyramid scheme losers.

Score: Satan 2, People of Christ 0.

The connection (finally): You have no idea when either will do the job it was intended to do.

My current methodology is to explore story telling. I have tried to apply the sense of what a person would have felt listening to Jesus speak on a mountainside or in the marketplace as he told his parables to a novel I’m revising now. Certainly that methodology worked, as we continue to read and study his stories today!

As for my son and daughter-in-law to be captured by the people of Jesus in Monticello? I don’t know what to do any more but pray. Their lives in Christ are so young a fragile and I’ve done what I can…*sigh*. (Please don’t give me the excuse that they need to “go and find a place” – aside from the fact that they are inherently shy and currently gun shy when it comes to the people of that town, I posit that Jesus never sat in a church waiting for people to “come and find Him”. He went, called out, invited, spoke out, visited, walked, moved and recruited…well?)

image: http://www.startingwithgod.com/images/J-leaders.jpg

No comments: