About the Book

Why is storytelling so important?

Storytelling, along with music, dance, and drama, is one of the most ancient arts that human beings practice in community. Stories allow us to tell others what happened in our lives while we were apart or before they were born, thus passing along our own history and the history of where we live. Stories let us express our feelings in all their depth and our thoughts in their complexity. They help us connect to one another. Stories can help us share our faith journey as we talk about people, places, and events that have shaped us as children of God. Jesus realized the power of stories teaching spiritual truths, and he frequently told stories to help people understand more about God.

How can this book be used with groups?

Williams leads us to a deeper knowledge of the power of narrative, using poetry, personal narrative, and retellings of biblical stories. Storytelling prompts at the end of each section invite readers to tell their own stories. If you study this book with a group, you will discover one another’s sacred stories and the settings, people, and objects that are sacred to you. Though the book does not include an outline for small-group meetings, the storytelling prompts interspersed throughout encourage conversation and reflection on the chapter’s contents.

Praise for the Book

Spoken into Being is about hearing and telling the stories of scripture and our own lives as a single continuum of faith, and it is written by a master storyteller. Its thoughtful prompts for discussion make it a wonderful resource for use in churches with young adults through folks of retirement age.

—Roberta Bondi

Professor Emerita of Church History, Candler School of Theology

Author of Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude

Michael Williams is an international “storyteller's storyteller” whose work continues to be pivotal in restoring story and storytelling in culture(s) and scholarship. Spoken into Being is a wonderful gift, inspirational and illuminating. You come away with a clear path to your own story and stories, and excitement about using story in all forms. Dr. Williams pulls away the mystique in a very personal way and offers you a chair.

—Ray Buckley

Author of Dancing with Words and Hard to Dance with the Devil on Your Back

Free Samples

Table of Contents

Spoken into Being Preface

Overture: The First Creation Story

Sample Storytelling Prompts

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Michael E. Williams

Michael Williams is a United Methodist pastor who served in the Tennessee Conference for over 40 years, most recently as senior pastor of West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and has taught workshops on writing and storytelling across the country.

Michael is the author or editor of 21 nonfiction books, as well as three plays. He is author of two poetry chapbooks: Take Nothing for Your Journey and The Khristos Cantos.

Presently he is poet/storyteller-in-residence at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee.