Some Bible and Orality websites

This week in our module Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture students had to report on websites and ministries that deal with issues of orality and Bible Engagement. I asked them to explore the websites and consider three questions:

1. How do they define or assume orality in relation to the people they work with?

2. What kinds of projects interest you?

3. How do you think the projects might be contextualised to a different context you are interested in?

Lots of great discussion!

We used the list of sites available on the Bible and Orality resources page. Currently the list is as follows:

Bible Society
Bible Storying
Chronological Bible Storying
Communication Across Barriers
Faith Comes By Hearing
Global Recordings Network
International Orality Network
The Java Club
OneStory Partnership
Orality Strategies
Scripture Engagement
Scriptures in Use
Simply The Story
T4 Global Blog
Wycliffe Bible Translators (UK) 

Are there any sites we’ve missed? Leave a comment to suggest ones you think we should be including.

And if you want to reflect on issues of Bible and orality in more depth, you can always come to Redcliffe on either the BA(Hons) in Applied Theology in Intercultural Contexts, or even the MA in Bible and Mission!

Henna storying the Bible

Henna and the Gospel image
Image from South Asian Peoples website

While looking through the excellent oralstrategies website in preparation for a new module on the Bible and orality I came across an item highlighting the way believers are using henna to communicate the biblical stories. The item linked to the website for South Asian Peoples, which said the following about the ministry:

Henna Storytelling

Henna, a temporary artwork drawn on hands and other parts of the body, is a popular beauty technique in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Christian women use henna to illustrate Bible stories and share the Gospel in a non-threatening manner.

These pages describe how you can host a henna party in your home or church. Learn how to make henna and draw Bible story illustrations, and how to prepare traditional foods served in henna cultures. Then spend time praying for the women of the world who use henna and the missionaries who serve them.

They highlight links to videos explaining more (see one below), story sets and henna patterns, a guide to making your own henna, and a booklet entitled, ‘Henna and the Gospel’.

Please do check out the website. Even if it is not your thing, or you are unlikely ever to use this particular strategy yourself, just drink in the creativity and be inspired to do something appropriate and imaginative in your own context.

Creation to Christ Henna from South Asia on Vimeo.

We’ll be looking at this fantastic ministry, along with many others, on Redcliffe’s new module, ‘Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture’, which is available to final year students on Redcliffe College’s BA(Hons) Degree in Applied Theology in Intercultural Contexts.

Bible Engagement and Oral Culture part 2

Translating the Bible into ActionThe theme of orality is one I return to again and again, especially over the summer with our MA module in ‘Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts’ and a forthcoming new undergraduate module called, ‘Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture’.

We are also developing the Resources section of this microsite to include a whole section on the Bible and orality. There you will find links to websites, journal articles, books, etc. on the subject. Let us know if you find anything we’ve missed!

In the meantime, here is a quote from Hill and Hill in their book, Translating the Bible into Action: How the Bible can be Relevant in All Languages and Cultures

(for context, this is part of a section entitles ‘General barriers to engaging with Scripture’)

A. Literacy barrier

Printed Scriptures are effective when people know how to read and like to do so. But many people prefer to communicate using oral rather than written means, or they don’t know how to read. Even if literacy classes were available, people may not be interested in attending them. In some cases, those who do learn to read may still prefer oral means of communication, and soon lose their new skills. In other cases, people may want to learn to read but they are hindered by poor eyesight or other problems. If Scripture is only presented in written form to people who do not know how to read or like to read, this is a serious barrier. (pp. 3-4)

They then refer to five chapters in the book that deal particularly with this topic:

ch. 2  Using appropriate Scripture Products
ch. 16  Bible Storying
ch. 22  Engaging People with Scripture through Music
ch. 23  Engaging People with Scripture through Drama
ch. 24  Engaging People with Scripture through the Visual Arts