In telling stories, Jesus often used imagination and metaphor, pulling attention-grabbing stories and images from the air. He asked his hearers to imagine someone who could examine a speck in another’s eye while a plank protruded from his own, or to visualize a great camel squeezing through the eye of a needle. He spoke of a despised Samaritan who showed unexpected compassion and a bigger-barn-building landowner who thought only of himself. Jesus’ hearers understood that the characters and events in those memorable stories didn’t have to be real in order for the stories to be true.
In his preaching experience of nearly forty years, Tony Cartledge, like many other preachers, has often told creative stories as an avenue for capturing the attention and engaging the minds of those listening to the message he was called upon to bring. His latest book, Telling Stories, contains a smorgasbord of stories and scripts that range from the possible to the fantastic, along with one that really happened. They include original stories in folktale style and monologues or dialogues designed to illuminate biblical characters. All of these stories are designed to inspire those who proclaim Christ to effectively utilize good stories in their own preaching.