Great insight for Christian storytellers...
We have four to five inches of snow on the ground and on Sunday our van was in an accident - hit a cement divider when it slid on a patch of ice. The city should have salted, but the damage is done now. We will be sharing rides for a few weeks until it's fixed, but thankfully, no one was hurt, and it wasn't as bad as it could have been. So while I rearranged my schedule to accommodate vehicle issues, and have been working consistently to get ready for our boys return from California this week, I finally decided to take a break tonight. I had a podcast open in one of my Firefox tabs for days now and just never had time to listen. Tonight I did and was captivated from the start.
The podcast featured Jeffrey Overstreet, a novelist and an award-winning film reviewer who talked to a group of writers about storytelling. Check out his talk here. It takes about 45 minutes to listen, but is worth every minute.
What I loved about his talk was the way he views story and his admonition to writers to tell a story people will remember, one that might not wrap the Christian message up in a neat package but that presents a great truth - one that makes us come away with something to chew on and talk about and ponder long after the lights go out.
He spoke about how coming to Christ does not mean our problems will always be solved, and praying a prayer does not always yield a positive answer. Living out our Christian faith can mean hardship and persecution (as Jesus said it would) and problems that don't go away. Trials and stress might increase instead of decrease. Good might not always win over evil, and heroes will not always conquer. But stories, even those that show such realities, can still show truth and beauty and hope, and speak to eternity in our hearts.
At the end of his talk he gave a link to a site called Arts & Faith and mentioned their list of top 100 films for 2010. I've only seen a few of these and haven't heard of most, but he suggested that writers watch them to learn good storytelling. Here's the link.
His comments come at a good time as I am beginning to ponder Isaac and Rebekah and ask questions like, "Who were these people? What were their hopes, their dreams, their challenges of life?" Bible characters really aren't any different than we are today except for their cultures in which they lives and perhaps their expectations. At a heart level, we are all so similar.
I have a few more things to accomplish before our boys get on that plane and head home for Christmas. I'm counting the days and soon the hours. Can't wait!