My copy of The Innkeeper of Jericho arrived in the mail today. It’s a book of a dozen imagined first-person narratives from the Gospels by Rev Philip Liebelt, Uniting Church Minister. The stories are written for story-telling, and combine biblical scholarship with story-telling expertise.
Phillip has been part of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (yes, NOBS) for about three decades, and has honed his craft and taught it to ministers, lay preachers and those who read the Bible in church. I’ve been in the congregation once for one of Philip’s epic tellings of a large portion of Luke’s Gospel.
- The narratives in this book include
The Innkeeper of Jericho
- Zacchaeus – The Back Story
- Jairus – a Leader of The Synagogue
- Grace at a Pharisee’s Table
and a cast of other familiar characters, and less characters from well-know stories. Then there are some more imaginative perspectives.
- The Temptations of Jesus According to a Former Apprentice Devil
- The Writer of Mark Contemplating the Writing of a Gospel
As a preacher, I use narrative a lot, both to bring the biblical text alive, and within narrative approaches to preaching, so a book like this is a great gift! As a story-teller, Philip understands phrasing and pace, active verbs, perspective, and drama. The stories beg for dramatic telling.
The stories are also long. They could be a sermon in themselves, or part of a retreat. However, they are an invitation to worship leaders and preachers to allow more time and space for the biblical narrative in worship – more than just a brief, almost token (and often barely articulate) rendering before the real business of the sermon. When using them, I will probably edit them for length depending on the occasion.
The book is $15 plus postage. It is a great resource that I’m happy to recommend. You can order it from firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find Philip on Youtube here.