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Spoken into Being

Divine Encounters Through Story

Michael E. Williams • July 2017

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"Tell me a story." Countless parents and grandparents have heard that request from children. People of all ages are captivated by a good story.

Storytelling helps us makes sense of the events of our lives, the world around us, and God. When we tell stories, we speak a world into being—just as God did in the creation accounts in the book of Genesis.

"Everyone is a storyteller," says author Michael Williams. You don't have to be a professional storyteller to be able to tell good stories. In this book on storytelling as spiritual exploration, Williams shares stories from his life and offers practical prompts that guide us to tell our own stories. He reminds us that we have been spoken into being as part of a much larger story. Using poetry, personal narrative, and retellings of biblical stories, Williams leads us to a deeper knowledge of the power of narrative.

The stories that capture our attention shape us into who we are now and the persons we will become. Not all stories serve us well, however. Stories of fear stop us in our tracks and become roadblocks on the journey, while stories of fantasy, no matter how alluring, are dead-end streets.

Spoken into Being points to a path beyond fear and fantasy, a way toward encounters with God, in whom all things are being made new.


Michael Williams (1950–2018) was a United Methodist pastor who served in the Tennessee Conference for over 40 years. He was pastor of several churches in the Nashville area, most recently West End United Methodist, before retiring in 2017. The author of numerous articles, stories, poems, plays, and books, he served as general editor of The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible

ISBN: 978-0-8358-1707-3

Kindle ISBN: 978-0-8358-1708-0

EPub ISBN: 978-0-8358-1709-7

Imprint: Upper Room

Pub Date: 20170701

Trim Size: 5 in (w) x 8 in (h) x 0.234 in (d)

Page Count: 112

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth

BISAC1: REL012120

BISAC2: REL012070

BISAC3: REL012000

Spoken into Being is about hearing and telling the stories of scripture and our own lives as a single continuum of faith, and it is written by a master storyteller. Its thoughtful prompts for discussion make it a wonderful resource for use in churches with young adults through folks of retirement age. --Roberta Bondi Professor Emerita of Church History, Candler School of Theology Author of Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude

Michael Williams is an international “storyteller’s storyteller” whose work continues to be pivotal in restoring story and storytelling in culture(s) and scholarship. Spoken into Being is a wonderful gift, inspirational and illuminating. You come away with a clear path to your own story and stories, and excitement about using story in all forms. Dr. Williams pulls away the mystique in a very personal way and offers you a chair.
—Ray Buckley Author of Dancing with Words and Hard to Dance with the Devil on Your Back