It’s every professor’s worst nightmare: students staring blankly at us as if the un-dead have all somehow decided to come to class on this particular day. For most professors, this experience happens once in a while. As someone who teaches university-required theology courses, this experience occurs for me almost every day. As a relatively new professor, this experience led me to question not what I teach, but how:
(1) How can ancient stories re-ignite our ideas about education?
(2) How can they invite us to re-imagine our own stories?
(3) How do these stories re-form the world around us?
Stories have the power to re-ignite, re-imagine, and re-form our education, our institution, and our lives. The power of these stories is in their capacity to wrap us up in them, catching us the way a tidal wave catches grains of sand, placing us in a new reality. Re-telling the story has led me and my students to moments of discovery, laughter, and joy. Re-telling the story has brought my class back from the un-dead.
The Rev. Amanda Brobst-Renaud, PhD is assistant professor of theology at Valparaiso University. Her teaching and scholarly work is in the Gospel of Luke. Her particular interest in rhetoric—how the biblical authors communicate—undergirds the question of why the authors chose to communicate the ways they did. Ultimately, it is her curiosity about the Bible and the ways in which it engages ancient and modern audiences alike that drives her research. The parables (short stories in the Bible) hold particular interest for Amanda, especially how these stories possess the capacity to engage and transform their audiences. Her forthcoming book, Lukan Parables of Reckless Liberality draws together her research interests (under contract with Sheffield Phoenix Press). Amanda brings her love of storytelling and teaching together both as a professor and as a preacher. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
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