Path of Engagement - St. Alban's, Austin Texas
Pathway: Owning our Story
It was not a huge surprise that a number of members of our congregation expressed a sense of inadequacy about their knowledge of the Bible when we took the online survey. It was also not much of a surprise when they said that very few of them used a Bible story as an interpretive tool when making decisions about their finances.
Our goal this fall has been to increase biblical fluency in the parish. One way we are doing this is that we are preaching the Narrative Lectionary this year. Our seminarians and I are committed to teaching the story of the Bible, placing each story in context, and modeling not only ownership of the story as story but also the use of story as interpretive tool for life. We also have begun a blog in which we post at the very least the scripture and the sermon and on a good week other interpretive material. www.welovetotellthestory-margaret.blogspot.com. This is an ambitious work in progress.
Also in progress is the project we are calling We Love to Tell the Story. We are creating 18 scrapbooks, each containing a single Bible story in both the NRSV and The Message versions. This is followed by material for understanding the context and important issues of the story and a series of questions that ask the family to relate the issues of the story to their lives. Then they fill in a couple of pages with answers to the questions if they like, their reflections, and a creative response to the story. When they bring the book back to church on Sunday, before they hand it to the next family, they tell the story in their own words.
We kicked this project off with a 10-year-old named Jake telling the whole parish the story of Zacchaeus from the pulpit and explaining how it related to his life. He brought down the house, and I don’t think anyone will ever forget that story or Jake! People are having fun with the books and sharing their stories with each other. We have also brought the subject of money out of the closet.