Story of God, the Story of Us, The: Getting Lost and Found in the Bible: Getting Lost and Found in the Bible Paperback – Nov 10 2010
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"It is only the person who is long in the study of the Scriptures, and in the contemplation of God through them, who may be granted the capacity in the Spirit to experience the Scriptures freshly, with more of the Light shining in the words and the spaces between them. And if that person is Sean Gladding, then he might write in such a way that a reader is startled at how much he or she missed when studying the same biblical passages. In the classic spiritual tradition of the 'application of the senses' way of reading the Scriptures, Gladding shows us how freshly to see, to hear, to taste and to touch each biblical scene."--Fr. Rick Ganz, S.J., Marylhurst University, Oregon
"There are those who tell about stories and then there are storytellers. Sean Gladding is of the latter variety. He has learned to tell the Story of God from the inside without succumbing to the elitism of an 'insider.' In fact, he demonstrates a way of telling the Story to outsiders such that they want to come inside. I commend this book to anyone exploring the bestselling, least understood book in the history of the world. As well, I recommend it to leaders and practitioners who long for a fresh approach to teaching Scripture."--John David Walt Jr., vice president for community life and dean of the chapel, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Sean invites us to find ourselves in Scripture. He points us back to the Story. It's not a new story; in fact, it is as old as humanity itself. But it is still very much our story, showing us what we already know and feel: that we, like the Israelites, and like all of creation, are in exile, longing for redemption, in search of the promised land. Sean invites us to see that this Story, God's Story, is our story."--Travis Reed, founder, The Work of the People (theworkofthepeople.com)
"In The Story of God, the Story of Us Sean Gladding takes the reader on an imaginative and fresh stroll through the Scriptures. Reeling in distant theological and historical abstractions, Sean makes the whole of the Bible intimate and readable. Parlanced in an accessible, down-to-earth renarration of the Scriptures, Sean fuses biblical tradition with captivating story, compelling dialogue and nuanced reflection."--Christopher L. Heuertz, international director, Word Made Flesh, and coauthor of Friendship at the Margins
"Everyone loves a story, but even more so when that story sweeps us into its narrative as does the gospel. Sean Gladding shows us how, in fact, his story is our story. As artful as it is significant!"--Alan Hirsch, coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come, The Forgotten Ways and Untamed
"'Why another book about the Bible?' The author asks that question. I answer: We don't need 'just another book' . . . but we need this one. Sean enables us to enter the 'Grand Story' by using 'story' and dialogue as effective communication. His style and language make his message easily accessible, enabling us to experience the great movements of the Story, and that's a redemptive dynamic. An added dimension for me is that I know the author, and he lives the Story. The Story of God, the Story of Us makes the Story real for the reader."--Maxie Dunnam
"I love it when someone tells a story that we can get lost in, a story that sparks our imagination and connects the dots. Sean Gladding is a great storyteller who draws us into a story of which we have heard bits and pieces. As the story unfolds we realize it is our story yours and mine and we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. And the story is not over, and it's not just a story after all . . ."--Steven G. W. Moore, executive director, The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust"
"Despite our insistence on the authority of Scripture, we Christians too often let Washington and Walt Disney tell us our story. But whoever tells our story directs our lives. Sean Gladding invites us to hear God's story anew to hear it as our own story and to let it direct us toward the beloved community we're made to be. Listen to him. Commit this story to memory. Tell it to your kids. Let it direct your life."--Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author and new monastic (jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com)"
"It is fascinating how the wheels of history and culture turn. The ancient cultures of human civilization transmitted wisdom and the tools for survival via story and myth. Now, even in the highly intellectualized corridors of the academy, the story has again become the dynamic instrument of communication. Anecdotal evidence, once frowned upon by modern research methodology, is now sometimes viewed as more enlightening than the static recording of standardized surveys. Thus Sean Gladding has grasped the postmodern method to illuminate us with the drama of redemption by skillful storytelling through the heart of a storyteller, in the heartache of exile. "Jean Vanier, scholar and lover of the poor, thrilled my heart and mind by a storytelling account of the Gospels' content. This work of Sean's is perhaps even more intriguing in its journey through the redemptive Story pre-Garden to post-apocalypse. The inclusion of a psalm-singing musician in search of the meaning of the divine drama and human suffering is a delightfully contemporary touch for generations whose inspiration and envisioning may come as much through a U2 song as a Sunday sermon. While the language is conversational, and at times as spellbinding as the Australian campfire yarn, it does not lose the complexity on the other side of its simplicity. "The conflict between original grace and original sin, the stress of balancing mercy and judgment, the mystery of the us-ness of the one trinitarian creator-God, the consistency of God's seeking love through the diversity of cultural evolution, the intimate needs of the individual in the context of social being all these and many other areas of mystery, controversy and general ignorance are explored with courage and winsome imagery. This is as engaging as storytelling to my grandchildren, but as challenging and invigorating as a discussion after a graduate class in theology. As the writer has declared, I do not know of any other approach quite as innovative and useful for community dialogue over the biblical story. When the heart is warmed, convictions are aroused and the mind is challenged all in one item of literature you know this is a good thing. One hasty read for this analysis will not be enough for me. It will be revisited. I challenge you to join me in a journey in which faith and reason are made delectable through story. It is a book to be read and read, alone and with others who thirst for the truth in love."--Reverend Dr. John Smith, president, God's Squad CMC, and founder, Concern Australia"
About the Author
Originally hailing from Norwich, England, Sean Gladding has made his home in the U.S. for the last two decades, where he has served in various forms of pastoral ministry, getting around on his '84 Ironhead Sportster. During his time at Asbury Theological Seminary he first encountered the concept of the metanarrative of scripture, an experience that has deeply shaped his life. His first book, The Story of God, the Story of Us, has its origins in a Bible study Sean led during a summer internship at Mercy Street, a church in Houston, Texas, for people in recovery from addiction and from bad church experiences--often both. Sean went on to co-pastor Mercy Street for seven years, during which time he and his wife Rebecca narrated the "Story of God" with people who had never heard it before or who had only heard a fragmented version. Hearing the "Story" with both the enfranchised and those on the margins has continually deepened their understanding of scripture, and shaped their lives and the way they tell the "Story." Over the years they have made "The Story of God" narrative freely available to anyone who wanted to use it. The "Story" has been told in homes, churches, college campuses, coffee shops, pubs and laundromats, spread over five continents. Sean and Rebecca have two children. After their time with Mercy Street they returned to Lexington, Kentucky, to rejoin friends at Communality--part of the family of New Monastic communities--where they are seeking the welfare of the city.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book helps us step back from the canvas and see the bigger picture, to see 'The Story of God' unfolding and find our place in that narrative.
Appropriately for a book about the Great Story, this book itself is in narrative form.
We begin sitting with the Captives in Babylon, hearing with them their oral history, how it led to their Captivity and the hope that it will not end there.
We then move forward in time to a gathering of believers where a newcomer enters and hears the continuation of the Story in the life of Jesus.
In the final movement our newcomer has become a believer and begins to relate the story of Revelation.
The book helped me see the through-narrative of the bible. It helped connect the many different 'stories' of scripture together and show their place in the great story. I found the first section in Babylon particularly helpful in this regard.
The bible is a big 'book of books', and 'The Story of God, the Story of Us' helped me see the full story and encouraged me to find my own unique place in it.
This is a book to be read, studied and lived.
My only criticism would be in the use of punctuation. The book frequently has characters quoting scripture in their speech. This leads to some interesting strings of double and single quotes at the end of some sentences. While it might be grammatically correct, I was distracted by some of the punctuation while reading. I found myself going back and analyzing certain passages to work out what quote went with what. This is a minor point however and was only an occasional distraction from getting 'lost and found' in the story.
Sean Gladding has produced a remarkable book. Extremely well written, innovative, creative and yet faithful to the theology and structure of scripture, The Story of God, The Story Of Us reads like a novel, and yet it provides the reader with one of the very best `overviews' of the story of God that I have ever read. The beauty of this book is that it is both at the same time entertaining and a potentially valuable teaching tool.
Regardless of whether you have a P'hD, or a degree in theology or no formal training in the Bible; whether you are a pastor or have been a Christian for a long time or you are just starting your journey of faith this book will be a refreshing, exciting, beneficial and enjoyable read.