Friday, February 26, 2010

David Vosberg: Luke on Narrative Storytelling

I am sick of Narrative Sickness.
So it is refreshing that much happening lately in discussions around narrative, storytelling and literary/filmmaking devices.

Of course I include sightings like:

>Mike's recent report of the screenwriter coming to faith by way of chiasm

>Mark DeRaud resurrecting Art N Soul!!

>The Voice Bible translation (translated by scholars and artists, and focused on restoring the unique voices of the original writers, and which positions dialogue in the gospels as screenplay format), has now released the Psalms

>One of the new Van Der Laan series, "God Heard Their Cry," has been blowing us away at Thursday Church...VDL is covering story, alternative story, and a chaos/order epistemology (!!)

>On Sunday mornings we have been discovering how relevant is Eugene Peterson's suggestion that "metaphor is a loud fart in the salon of spirituality," and such art counters gnosticism.

But via a post in Relevant, I just discovered an amazing "media arts creative," David Vosburg (who runs a blogazine here, and mixtapes here; check out his YouTube here) whose brief blog post on Luke's prologue to Theophilus ties and tethers together so many favorite topics of mine and this blog: narrative structure, film, time, epistemology, chaos/order (Gee, he didn't mention U2 ... see "The U2 liturgical plot").

So I wanted to go ahead and let you in on the post, which I will surely be drawing from in upcoming posts and classes (and inviting him to teach a seminar). Here it is, and I have included my comment below. Someone give this guy a raise!:

Luke on Narrative Storytelling

I typically prefer the book of Matthew, when it comes to gospels. I realize that it might not be all that theologically correct to have a favorite, especially because it is most probably because of this film series. However, this liturgical year the gospel of choice is Luke, and during lent I’m starting to read through it. I only got through the first 4 verses last night. Not because I don’t like it, but because I noticed for the first time in my life that the beginning of Luke is a discussion of narrative storytelling. It blew my mind a bit, so I thought I’d share what I saw in it here. First, here are the verses:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” - Luke 1:1-4

- We are reminded here that storytelling:
  • Doesn’t happen alone - there are other storytellers (1-2)
  • Should come from what you know and have learned (3)
  • Is a process of creation of order from and amidst chaos (3)
  • Should confirm and convey truth for the audience
- There is a profound relationship between narrative and time
  • Listening to and learning from the past (1-3)
  • Taking constructive action in the present (3)
  • Doing this for the future good (4)
- Luke understands the importance of:
  • Knowing and aiming for your audience
  • Having and articulating goals for a narrative
  • Taking a position of humility as the storyteller
I realize that this is a bit clunky to approach, and might work better as a Powerpoint presentation, but I hate Powerpoint almost as much as I love storytelling, and I don’t really have anyone to present to outside of this context, so here you go - take it or leave it.
-David Vosburg, link


That last paragraph alone was a classic...on Power Point etc(:
But as far as "take it or leave it," i will take it.

I am a pastor, teacher, blogger...been working recently on narrative structure/storytelling, role of time in Scripture...but what I had never seen so clearly until your post is how all those topics are embedded in Luke's opening paragraph!

Thank you...and please add don't have to power-point it, but you may well be writing a commentary on Luke's commentary. We NEED commentary by "media arts creatives." God help us if all we ever hear from are pastors and scholars,

I will be quoting this is classes, etc..but just to get the placemark up and running, I linked you on my blog.
-Dave Wainscott

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