Experiential Storytelling 2

I just finished Mark Miller's book, Experiential Storytelling.  I already gave one post on this book when I was part way through.  Now, let me give a few quotes from the rest of the book, and then at the end I will comment briefly on my take.

On reimagining the sermon...

Why not take a breather for a time and let the story speak for itself in a language those gathered can understand?  When presented without all of the trappings of exegetical interpretation, the biblical text is freed from the limits of our minds and is open to the organic beauty of the infinite word. (p. 87)

Benjamin Franklin quote...

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. (p. 94)

On the elements of experiential storytelling...

Remember to let your audience think for themselves.  Do not make everything obvious by spelling out every detail for them.  This is where you are going to have to trust that your audience members have imaginative abilities and a built-in mechanism that allows them to think for themselves. (p. 112)

My take...

I expected more.  It was a fast read, with not a great deal of content.  The book did spark some interesting questions in my head and I learned a few things along the way, but by the end I felt like it never took me where I needed to go.  It never got me into "aha!" stuff.  It never solidified anything I was already thinking. 

It's possible the issue is partially with me, but the book is explained as a book about "rediscovering narrative," and I didn't read it that way.  I felt the point the book ultimately made was to emphasize "sensory" stories over "verbal" stories.  Verbal has a role for Miller, but for this book at least it's a diminished one.

I think a couple of quotes show that emphasis.

Studies have shown that only about 10 to 15 percent of what we "hear" comes in the form of spoken words.  God has designed us to experience the world around us in all of its fullness, so most of our learning is nonverbal. (p. 103)

It is crucial that you do not interpret the experience for them.  The whole point is the experience does the talking. (p. 113)

I think the book serves better as a tool for helping a handful of youth leaders supplement their normal communication of the truth with creative experiences.  Because of the work it would entail, these youth leaders would probably need to be in large churches with lots of youth and a sizable budget.  So there is a place for this book, but I'm not just so sure that place is on the bookshelf of the typical missional pastor.