News: MAy '10
Conference Will Hear Scriptures Told
The four worship services of the Annual Conference, held June 7-10 in Lakeside, Ohio, of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church will feature scriptures told by heart by members of "Grace by Heart." GoTell is grateful to Dr. Sherry Gale, senior pastor of Grace Church, Dayton, for taking the initiative to make this happen.
Grace by Heart has been a primary project of GoTell for the past 2-1/2 years (though helping to form this ministry of the Word has been more of a labor of love than a "project"). Telling the Scriptures by heart for worship at Grace United Methodist Church has had a transforming impact on the church’s worship life and on the lives of the tellers. The reading of the Scriptures was always meaningful but had become somewhat formal and flat, and was often only two or three verses. Telling the Scriptures by heart has made the weekly lesson a lively experience that makes the Word present with vitality, energy, and power.
Read more about Scripture by Heart as developed by Grace Church: Download PDF article here...
Spreading Scripture by Heart
It is our hope that "Scripture by Heart" small group ministries will become a staple in many churches, similar to choirs. Toward that end we are developing resources and workshops. We led a day-long workshop for United Methodist church leaders in Northwestern Ohio in late April. This event was sponsored by the Maumee Watershed District of the United Methodist Church and arranged by GoTell Board member the Rev. Marla Brown who is District Superintendent of Maumee Watershed.
Soon after our Maumee event we gave a presentation on our biblical storytelling mission trips to West Africa and India for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. The effort to tell the story in ways people will listen and actually hear is global as well as local. GoTell produced a video about the international mission of biblical storytelling for the Network of Biblical Storytellers who sponsors the mission trips.
Peace: The Medium and the Message
The Bible as an anti-war, non-violent tradition
The reconception of the Bible as oral compositions involves not only the redefinition of its medium but also of its content. When the stories of the Hexateuch and the Gospels/Acts are heard as a whole, their meaning and impact is experienced in a new context that reveals central dimensions of their content.
Specifically, the stories of Israel’s wars and violence in the Hexateuch end as stories of tragedy rather than victory and peace. The kingdom of David ends on the tragic note of the death of Absalom and the conflicts between the northern and the southern kingdoms that ultimately end in the split between those two kingdoms and their ongoing history of conflict. Those stories end in the conquest of Israel by the Assyrians and of Judea by the Babylonians.
Just as the stories of Israel and Judea received their final form in the context of the post-war context of the exile, the Gospels and Acts received their final form in the context of the post-war period following the immense tragedy of the Jewish war. They are the stories of a non-violent Messiah who founded a movement that initiated a new community of reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles.
When told as ancient epics, the foundational stories of the Bible have a common content that stands over against the celebration of the heroic warrior and the glories of war that was the dominant theme of the epic stories of the Greco-Roman world.
For more on biblical storytelling and peace, visit the Jesus Way of Peace section of our site