January 10-16, 2016
Value of This Activity
In order to copy something, we must pay attention to what we’re copying. If we copy it over into another context, we must identify situations or characters or problems that might be connected in someway to the original. This activity helps us pay attention to the dynamics and movement of a story and can help us interpret our own histories and our world in new ways.
Bible. Pen and Paper.
To Begin . . .
Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.
How to Play . . .
You may want to do a multiple-day Playdate on these texts. For Judges 4, use the instructions for a narrative text. For Judges 5, use the instructions for a poetic text.
If the text is a narrative, follow these instructions:
- Read Judges 4.
- The following steps will help you get a handle on the story:
- Write down a list of all the characters.
- For each character, write one sentence describing that character’s action in the story. What does she do? What is “done” to him?
- In three sentences, summarize the primary arc of the story.
- Sentence 1: What’s going on at the very beginning of the story?
- Sentence 2: What happens in the middle of the story?
- Sentence 3: Where does the story end?
Note: The primary arc can be identified as “From what? — Through what? — To what?” The narrative of the text may include more than one story-line. If so, identify an arc for each storyline (even if the stories are woven together). Which story do you think is the main story?
Note #2: You can’t get this wrong! Or, if you do, it doesn’t matter. It’s your playdate. Play it your own way. Follow where your own mind (and heart) lead!
Note #3: If you’re doing the Playdates throughout the week, you may want to stop here for the first day and pick up with the next step tomorrow.
- Now let your mind wander around the story. Does it bring to mind stories in your own life, or a movie you’ve seen? Do you know a hero or heroine like the one in this story? Just sit with the story for several minutes and let the narrative sink in. Freewrite about the story. Don’t look for “meaning.” Just get a feel for the story and brainstorm about where else you might have heard or experienced a story like this. Or, is there a situation in your life or in the world around you that you wish you could re-write so it would be like this biblical narrative? Just brainstorm. Note: If you’re doing a multiple-day Playdate, this would be a good place to stop for day 2.
- Finally: Re-write the narrative! Using the notes and brainstorming and freewriting you did in Step 3, above, create your own story, with your own heroine or hero. Follow the shape of the biblical narrative as closely as you can. Write your own version of the story!
If the biblical text is a poetic text, follow these instructions:
- Read the Judges 5.
- Write a one-sentence statement of the focus of the text. Is it a narrative in poetry? Is it an individual complaint? Is it a prayer? Is it a mixture? What seems to be the core of the text in your reading?
- Where does the text get your attention? Are there some words or phrases that particularly stand out to you? Maybe a particular verse catches your heart? Sit with the poetry for a while. Read it more than once. Focus in, if you wish, on a section of the text and let your mind wander around it without thinking too hard, without trying to “learn” anything. Just let the words float around you. If you’re doing a multiple-day Playdate with this text, you might want to stop here for the day.
- After you have listened into the poetry of the text for a while, with both head and heart, now it’s time to write your own. If the poetry is a narrative, write your own narrative poem. If it’s a prayer—is it a prayer for deliverance or a prayer of praise? Write your own. See if you can keep the pattern of the biblical poem in some way—either in rhythm or sentence structure or organization. But, most important, let your own being dictate the poetry you write.
In Closing . . .
Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.
Playdate Reference Material:
Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.
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