I love the cover of my newest book and am so excited to share it with you!
Finally, after MONTHS of waiting: It’s here! It’s here!
It looks more like a magazine cover than a book, doesn’t it? And as a book, it’s short–under 49 pages, so it doesn’t meet the UNESCO definition of a book. Yet it’s properly bound and carries an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) so it’s definitely a book according to Canada Post, and a welcome addition to my Published Books list.
Last November, I shared the vision for Sharing Faith Stories along with my working outline, and today I’m happy to share an excerpt from Session 3 – Sharing Faith Stories for Every Day.
Sharing Faith Stories for Every Day
From my husband’s work in narrative, I’ve learned that a story beginning in media res starts in the middle of the action. The Latin phrase literally means “in the midst of things”; so for example, an opening scene might be a rescue operation already in progress, and only later do we learn how the child managed to get trapped in the collapsed mine shaft in the first place. The middle of the action grabs our attention with its drama and intensity, and then the story gets filled in from beginning to end.
Sharing faith stories as part of everyday living also takes place in media res, in the middle of things. For example, one day I went to a new place to get my hair cut. I had never met the hairdresser before, so after exchanging pleasantries about the weather and about my hair, she asked, “What do you do?”
“I’m a pastor,” I said.
And she responded, “What’s that?”
We were definitely in the middle of things, as she was cutting my hair. It didn’t seem appropriate to share my whole life story at that point. But answering her question was definitely a story-telling opportunity, a chance to share a glimpse of what it means for me to be a person of faith, a slice-of-life short story instead of a whole biography.
So I told her about my work as a pastor to help people draw near to God–how that sometimes means praying, speaking on a Sunday morning, talking with children, or visiting someone in the hospital. I only had a few sentences before our conversation moved on to something else, and I never did get to fill in the story from the beginning. I only gave her a tiny piece of my story in media res.
In John 4, Jesus shares part of his life story with a Samaritan woman. He doesn’t begin with the words of the prophets who anticipated his coming, or with his birth in the town of Bethlehem. Instead, he tells his story in bits and pieces in media res, and his example suggests a few basic principles for how we might share our faith stories in the midst of everyday living.
That’s the end of the excerpt, but if you were to keep reading, this session goes on to explore Jesus’ example, and what we can learn for telling our own stories in the midst of everyday living. The six sessions of this Bible study guide include:
The Power of Story
Sharing Your Personal Story
Sharing Faith Stories for Every Day
Sharing Faith Stories in Words and Actions
Sharing Faith Stories When It’s Difficult
Sharing Faith Stories as a Community
To read the rest of this session and the rest of the book, get your copy of Sharing Faith Stories from Amazon, Herald Press, or your local bookstore.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Think back over your last week. What faith stories did you hear, or did you share? Was faith a natural part of your conversation? Why or why not?
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8 thoughts on “Sharing Faith Stories for Every Day”
CONGRATULATIONS, APRIL! Now how did you manage that without giving us a hint of what’s going on? Not even our Sacred Pauses group? Or am I just so far out of it already that I don’t know what’s going on?
I love your enthusiasm in sharing your new book/magazine? with the world! Maybe I’ll get some helpful hints for my writing. Keep on sharing! And I love how easily you bring Jesus into the picture, right from the cover. Looking forward to reading Upside Down Living!
Thanks, Mary! Last November, I was just beginning this project and shared my working outline https://aprilyamasaki.com/2016/11/14/sharing-faith-stories-an-upside-down-living-bible-study/, but I haven’t said much about it since then. If I had kept talking about it, I likely wouldn’t have managed to finish the writing! Check my email to subscribers that went out this morning for more on some of the challenges behind-the-scenes.
April, can I hire you for my editing?
Oh, Mary, I appreciate your vote of confidence! But my writing time is already fully committed. Would your critique group be of some help to you in this? After our writerly gathering tonight, I had a chance to read your article in the July issue of Our Canada magazine. What a story and so well done!
Long conversation last night with a 20-plus years friend who has an MS diagnosis and has served her community for nearly a decade as an advocate for people with disabilities. She’s hit a wall and is preparing to file a federal lawsuit. I couldn’t assure her that she’d get results that would feel “worthwhile” to her. But I was able to remind her that the people with great vision in the Bible — important visions for this world — rarely saw their vision bear fruit in their own lifetime. And yet, the vision matters. “I can always count on you to give me the thousand-year perspective,” she said.
Thank you for sharing this, Carlene. It’s a good reminder that our stories are part of a much larger story. And without even knowing her personally, I admire your friend’s perseverance–in living with her own diagnosis and advocating for others, in hitting a wall yet finding a way forward with a federal lawsuit. From my limited experience with the legal system, I know that legal solutions are not always satisfying, but they too might form part of a larger story.
I look forward to reading it. Congratulations, April!
Thanks, Grace. I pray this might be a useful resource and that the remaining technical challenges might be resolved– it’s still not searchable on Amazon.ca although the book is actually listed there https://www.amazon.ca/Upside-Down-Living-Sharing-Faith-Stories/dp/1513801724/