Storytime with Uncle Tony
Note: I received this book for free from the Viralbloggers network. As usual, while I’m happy to review relevant material, I do so without any restriction on what I write. Enjoy!
If you are a preacher or devotional leader, Stories that Feed Your Soul by Tony Campolo is a great book. It has about 117 stories from Campolo that he uses on his preaching circuit or remembers from his history as a pastor and teacher. In his words, he wants to “tell you an array of stories that will help you as you try to tell the greatest story ever told” (page 18). Campolo has them categorized according to eight themes in Romans 8.
In my subjective reading, I marked about 20 of the 117 stories that I could readily use or matched my speaking style. Your mileage may vary. I did notice that almost all of Part 5 “Living With Hope” were marked as useful to this preacher. Most of them were one page long which makes expanding or emphasizing different sections of the story easy to do. Also his stories are rather inclusive: he includes wisdom from other religions, has a compassionate take on sexual minorities, and engages some tough issues.
For example, some of his stories are very short. He recounts a Chinese professor who was a Taoist. The professor said to Tony during a classroom discussion “You Christians pray all wrong. You pray ‘If I should die before I wake’ when you really should pray ‘If I should wake before I die.'” From there, you can jump into a musical discussion of Charles Wesleys’ “Wake O’ Sleeper” or talk about a video we’ve discussed on this blog called “Awake O’ Sleeper” or Plato’s Cave or wherever you want to go.
A good simple story has the ability to jump to many different directions while also engaging the hearers on a level they can relate to…and for Campolo, turn them towards the Greatest Story Ever Told. I found many good stories in Campolo’s book that will preach and teach, and I’m sure you will as well. Check it out (it’s also on kindle…woot woot), read more of the viralblogger reviews, and post in the comments your thoughts.