The Storyteller, the Storyhearer and the Story
A life-giving way of dealing with story is an elegant dance between the storyteller, the storyhearer and the story. First you need a storyteller. It is his task to issue an invitation in the form of a story.
Then we need the hearer of the tory. His or her receptivity transforms the story from an invitation to an encounter.
However, if the hearer of the story then begins to interpret the story, then the encounter unfolds and a conversation develops.
God extends many invitations to us in his stories. And when we are receptive and enter into the stories of God and the stories of faith, then it leads us to an encounter with God. However, in order to enter into a conversation with the text, with the story, we must interpret the text. The willingness to interpret a story is nothing less than the willingness to enter into conversation with God.
The Danger of an Impoverished Conversation
The Babylonian Talmud gives us a remarkable image for the possibilities of interpreting a text. There it is written, that when a hammer strikes the stone, 70 sparks spring forth. When a human being strikes the text, 70 sparks of interpretation spring forth. These 70 sparks do not only represent the many levels on which a story of God can be interpreted, but simultaneously represent the rich variety of possibilities to enter into conversation with God and his narratives.
Today we are experiencing a tragic impoverishment of the conversation on nearly every level of storytelling (not just in the area of biblical storytelling). The surface seems to suffice, the depths are avoided, and the willingness to interpret life is neglected. Many years ago, Balthasar Fischer wrote a book about the gestures, rituals and symbols of the Catholic liturgy with the title, “Von der Schale bis zum Kern” (From the shell to the kernel). He did it in order to set a sign against the impoverished and superficial understanding of the liturgy.
An Offer of Fullness
Spark Sprayers is our annual offer to reclaim the various possibilities of entering into conversation with the breadth and depth and wealth of the biblical stories. Through visual, bibliodramatic, storytelling, literary, and artistic approaches, we want to invite people to seek the fire where the suspect only ashes can be found. Together and creatively we wish to seek, uncover and fan the 70 sparks, so that we do not remains speechless and silent in a place where vibrant and challenging conversation could enliven us. We warmly invite you to join us, for why should we remain behind, cold and frozen, when we could learn to spray out 70 sparks?