Skip to toolbar
 

Integrating the Traditional Oral Arts

By Scriptures In Use

Listen, Watch, Participate

The drama ended with song and dance in celebration of God’s miracle.  The first time we saw this story from 2 Kings performed among the Banjara tribe of Andhra Pradesh in southern India, we were delighted. This narrative had suddenly become unforgettable, forever written in our hearts. The native villagers too would long remember every detail of this story and each emotion they felt while listening, watching, and ultimately participating in the story through song and dance.

So many elements were present in this narrative to help oral learners remember the passage they had just experienced. There were features of the story itself: God the healer, leprosy—a disease they knew too well—memorable women characters, a soldier, kings, palaces, a prophet, and a familiar desert landscape by the Jordan River. But equally compelling were the oral arts woven together in a fine tapestry, bringing alive in the native language the characters and events through drama and evoking emotions of celebration through music.

The Oral Arts Are The Lifeblood Of Traditional Cultures And A Gift From God

Integrating the traditional oral arts may utilize up to four traditional media to enhance every Scripture story told: storytelling, drama, song, and dance. There are other art forms, such as recitation of the Psalms and biblical poetry, the use of instruments, shadow puppetry, dramatic readings, etc. The oral arts are especially motivating in traditional cultures where they enhance cultural identification and emotional response to the message.

The key to effectiveness is the concept of INTEGRATION. One story essentially told in several captivating media in the local context becomes dynamic and unforgettable.

Scriptures come alive since culture is dear to the heart of people. In these venues for performance the audience can experience the gospel message in esteemed, relevant, and non-threatening ways.

Tell the story, Sing the story, Dance the story, Act the story.

Creative ethno-arts have been encouraged among practitioners of storytelling trained by SIU since the very early days. Early on we adopted the slogan “Tell the story, Sing the story, Dance the story, Act the story.” This is part of the reason narrative flourishes, bringing biblical story alive.

On a cautionary note about the use of music and drama, we must not impose a creative form of arts or worship that exists elsewhere but may be locally inappropriate. The missions world has long introduced around the world music styles from the West that may not be effective nor give opportunity for development of a people group’s own ethno-worship.  Rather than translating hymns or Western worship songs, we should do whatever it takes to help the local audience discover the most appropriate styles of oral arts for their communities.  As we encourage their integration into effective and impactful storytelling, we see the most stunning presentations and powerful witness for Christ imaginable all over the world.

Integrating the “Traditional Oral Arts” is so fun to see and has so much depth and learning in it.  We would be interested in hearing from you on this topic.

 

Related Content

Upcoming Events

  • (POSTPONED) Arts for a Better Future – U.K.

    July 12 - July 20 at All Nations

    You are invited to a week long arts course at All Nations college, in England, 12th - 17th July 2020. The aim is for you to be able help local communities draw on their artistic resources to help them respond to their spiritual, social and...

  • Story Telling & Story Development Workshops

    August 28 @ 3:00 pm - September 1 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0 at Windsor at Westside, Kissimmee, Florida

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to share oral Bible stories in ministry and evangelism? The StoryRunners Orlando School of Storying is a two-part intensive workshop. Part one, the Story Telling Workshop, is focused on learning and using oral stories in personal ministry and...

  • Discovering and learning oral teaching methods

    September 21 @ 9:00 am - October 2 @ 1:30 pm CEST at WEC International Germany

    Orality is not merely about communicating verbally instead of writing, but it is about thinking patterns, what kind of information seems relevant and interesting, how is information remembered and how is it passed on to others. 70% of the world population are oral learners, either...

  • e3 Oral Strategies Story Training for Trainers Workshop

    October 12 @ 9:00 am - October 16 @ 5:00 pm CDT at e3 Partners Ministry

    During one of the fastest periods of expansion the Church has ever experienced it was oral communication, not written, that fueled the movement. Today, over 75% of the world consists of oral learners, individuals who absorb information through drama, song, and storytelling. Many unreached people...

View All Events
 
Join the ION Community!

Notice: Undefined variable: royal_prettyphoto_tab_url in /var/www/vhosts/orality.net/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/rt-prettyphoto/rt-prettyphoto.php on line 175

Notice: Undefined variable: royal_prettyphoto_text_for_tab in /var/www/vhosts/orality.net/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/rt-prettyphoto/rt-prettyphoto.php on line 175