Update This

Biblical Text:Mark 7:24-30
Guidelines for Individual Playdates

Value of This Activity:

Helps us imagine how a biblical story can help us tell a modern-day story. Provides practice for analogical thinking.

Items Needed:

Bible. Pen and Paper. A timer would be helpful.

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 . . .

  1. Read the Mark 7:24-30.
  2. Make a list of all of the elements in the narrative. Be sure to include the following elements:
    • characters—a short statement of how each character functions in the story would be helpful
    • setting
    • actions—who does what to whom?
    • summary—very brief—any dialogue: who is speaking to whom? what happens in the dialogue?
    • a basic outline: beginning, middle, end — write a quick snapshot of “what happens” in the story
  3. Freewrite for 5 minutes about what this story makes you think of in today’s world … in your own life … in the lives of people you know. Don’t try to “make sense” of why this story makes you think of these things. Just follow your mind and see what this story “stirs up” in you.
  4. Return to the list you made in step 2, above. Think about how the topics of your freewrite might be cast in the shape of the biblical story from Mark 7. “Update” the biblical narrative by creating a new modern-day setting and modern-day characters in place of the biblical characters. (Yes, even for Jesus if you wish; though it’s fine to leave Jesus in as a character.)
  5. Now, create a “new, updated” narrative that follows the basic outline you wrote down in step 2, above. Do not worry if your updated narrative has no apparent relation to the biblical story. Trust your own imagination (and the Spirit) and follow your updated narrative wherever it leads you. You do not have to explain to anyone why or how your new narrative came out of interacting with this biblical narrative. Just let the ancient story give birth to a story (and to wisdom!) in your own world. See where your “update” takes you.

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:

The Imaginative Intellect
Playing with Narratives
Guidelines for Individual Playdates
Playdates with Scripture ARCHIVES

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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.