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The power of story

The power of story

Moyers and Company explore how story can shape advocacy and public life. Marshall Ganz reflects:

Public narrative is central to movement building, organizing and advocacy. It’s an articulation of the challenge, of the sources of hope, and of a pathway to action required to realize that hope; a response to those three questions posed by first century Jerusalem scholar, Rabbi Hillel: If I am not of myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself alone, what am I? If not now, when? A story of self, a story of us, and a story of now.


Narrative is how we learn to make choices, how we learn to access the moral resources (hope, empathy, self worth) to respond mindfully and courageously to urgent challenges. As St. Augustine observed, it is one thing to “know” the good, but another to “love” it – and loving it calls forth action. Because values are emotional in content, they are sources not only of information about what we “ought” to do, but also of the motivation to do it. I say values, not interests, because while self-interest is sufficient to sustain the status quo, our values are sources of the courage to take the risks, make the commitments, and reach out to others that challenging the status quo requires.

Read more of how this works here. Video of interview (transcript here) and other ideas about how change can happen:

How do you see the church offering “story”? The particular church you serve? How does this go beyond a “vision or mission statement”?


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