Latest book is result of Guild’s second national writing contest
by Emily Enders Odom | Special to the Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – Jesus often told parables that challenged the assumed wisdom of society, but he did so in a manner that entertained as well as drew the reader into considering alternative perspectives.
Once again inspired by Jesus’ practice of teaching with parables, The Presbyterian Writers Guild last fall invited 15 writers from 13 states across the country to create contemporary parables to address some of the significant issues in our church and society.
“In fewer than 320 words, Jesus engaged his listeners in probing our response to violence, bigotry and hypocrisy in the parable of the Good Samaritan,” says the Rev. Stephen P. McCutchan, the member of the Guild’s board who had oversight of the contest and resulting publication. “In approximately 200 words, Jesus probed the destructive impact of materialism in the parable of the Rich Fool. We live in a society that often finds it easier to speak past each other than to converse with each other. We have lost the capacity to listen to each other with any anticipation that we might learn from the other person.”
McCutchan — an honorably retired PC(USA) teaching elder in St. Petersburg, Florida — says that in times such as these, The Presbyterian Writers Guild believes that there is a better way to engage in the dialogue that is so essential for the health of our church and society.
“With this new book of contemporary parables, the Guild is offering individuals and church school classes alike a unique opportunity, to share some parable-like stories that will probe some of the difficult issues of church and society in a form that will entertain and stimulate deeper thoughts,” McCutchan says. “We hope that Presbyterians and others will be led to reflect deeply on the issues addressed and allow the Spirit to inspire them to new understandings.”
The Rev. Emily Enders Odom is President of Presbyterian Writers Guild and Director of Alumni Relations at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
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