Yesterday Ed Stetzer interviewed Sally Lloyd-Jones about the power of stories.
Sally is the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, which I’ve been quite impressed with. My wife and I plan to make it the Bible our kids grow up with, and a friend of mine actually used it to great effect while teaching an adult small group last fall.
Her words on the power of Story are well worth hearing out, no matter our age.
“People have approached me, holding up one of my children’s books, flicking through it backwards–awful for a writer because it implies the order of the words don’t matter–and cheerfully announcing, “I’m going to do one. I mean. REALLY. How hard can it be?”
How many of us would dream of going up to a surgeon and saying, “I’m going to do an Angioplasty. I mean. REALLY. How hard can it be?”
That people feel free to say this about children’s books tells you a lot–not so much about what they think of children’s book writers. That’s not important. It tells you what they think of children.
I think it’s because they don’t have a high enough view of children.
Our proper attitude before children should be humility. We need to be writing up to children–never down.
It also tells you something else: that they have too low a view of Story.
What is the lesson in that story? What is the message? I’m often asked that. But a story is not a sermon.
As writers we know we better not preach on the page. Our job is to tell a story. Not teach a lesson. If we have an agenda, a message in code we want to get across, a moral we want to teach in our writing–it might be an excellent lecture. But it won’t be a good story.
It’s too low a view of what a story is, of what a story can do. A story can do more than teach you.
A story can transform you.”
You can read the rest of the interview here.