Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G = Genesis: A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015: History Stories and the Telling of Them

Alright, I was determined to get this one out on the correct day.  I have so much more respect for full-time bloggers that have another job as well.  Whew!  I had a hard time determining my “G”, but I’m thrilled with my selection and hope you will be as well.  My desire is to share some history facts and the stories I think are intriguing around them, along with some ways I’ve told history stories and techniques of researching and telling historical stories.  Day 7 and G = ….

G = Genesis
“In the beginning...” – Genesis 1:1

I am a Christian.  As a Christian, I consider the Bible God’s love letter to me and to the world.  I present Christian monologues and tell Biblical stories.  I love to read the Bible, and do so every day, and most of the time I find my inspiration, my direction and my purpose through my reading of the Word.  However, I also see the Bible as an historical work, and try to make sure that my monologues and stories are presented with the depth of knowing the history surrounding what I am relating.

The best way I have found to tell Biblical stories is to take the time to look at the historical background in various ways, including archaeological and anthropological background.  This information gives your story a depth, rather than just relating “the event” or person.  The more time I spend learning about the history, allows me to make the story a part of me, as well as, give a special telling to my audiences.

The best way to be able to give details of a setting in an historical storytelling is to visit the actual location.  For me it was the John Walsh “Storytellers Trip to Israel”.  This was an amazing trip with other storytellers, and story listeners, where we told the stories of the Bible in their locations, or as close as one could get.  It was amazing and personally moving and convicting!  We stood near a wheat field that is purported to be the area where David fought Goliath.  It was just flat cool to pass the sign near the field that pointed the area to Gath, where Goliath was from.  My personal
testimonial in coming to Christ includes Jesus’ meeting of the Woman at the Well in Samaria.  We were able to go to the church that guards and houses that well.  We drank from that well such pristine and cool water that I can still feel its refreshing on my lips.  And outside under the cover a ivy-covered covering, I told the story of The Samaritan Woman and used it to lead to my own story.  Everywhere we went the stories abounded and I learned archaeological information that enhanced the history of the actual stories.  I have a completely different view of the stories in the Bible and as I read (and tell) the vision of the land, the smells in the air (and of camels) and the sounds of water, birds and animals remain with me.

One of the stories on my CD, “Mini, Many, Minnie Stories told by Ms. Sheila”, I tell the story of Elisha, the Baldhead.  I loved the story long before I went to Israel.  However, after returning from Israel, I was able to talk about the long hike “up” from Jericho to Jerusalem, completing understanding that hike because of the steep bus ride we had taken.  I imagined his sweat pouring on his face, the labored breathing and the straining and aching of his muscles; his walk became real!  I hope you will feel the same when you hear the story, Elisha, the Baldhead (story)

Now I have to give a big SHOUT OUT for two fantastic and practical workshop presenters that have helped me even more in bringing the Bible to life:  Barbara McBride-Smith ( and Donald Davis (  I came away from both workshops with great insight into the Bible, its need to have the history and how to make the stories relevant to the 21st – century audience.  After each workshop, I have worked on further stories, including the parable, “The Prodigal Son” (which I will be turning into a Christmas play) and Benaiah, one of David’s bodyguards.  I HIGHLY recommend their workshops to any and all who want to make the biblical stories come alive. 

Oh, let me make sure I also make the same HIGH RECOMMENDATION to visit Israel with John Walsh and other storytellers.  You can also learn how to better tell Biblical stories from John Walsh even without going to Israel via his youtube videos, “Art of Storytelling” and various books from his website,, but why not include a trip to an amazing place, while learning.  Learn about the Israel trip, Trip to Israel Introduction  

Today’s Blog Question – please leave an answer in comments. 
Do you tell stories from the Bible?  How much research do you do before telling the story and what type of resources do you use?  Who are people you have heard that tell great religious stories adding depth through detail?

P.S.  Check out these resources.  
     Conference:  Network of Biblical Storytellers, Inc. Festival Gathering -
     Biblical Storyteller Workshop Presenter:  Dennis Dewey,  (He'll be in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA over the May 31 weekend!  More information contact me.)


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