Tell Me a Story

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 23 September 2018

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I remember once taking a very wet camping trip with our kids. It rained heavily all week. It rained so much that giant mushrooms started to take over our campsite, and we were forced to live under a canopy of blue tarps that we had strung up to protect our tent and our gear. With little to do, I sat with my daughter in our tent for hours, reading one of the Harry Potter books out loud. I don’t remember which book it was, but its magic saved our vacation.

When my kids entered their teen years and decided they were too sophisticated for children’s books, I was still anxiously looking forward to the release of the next book in the Harry Potter series. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to Harry and his friends as they grew up, and I needed to know that someday the evil He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (Voldemort) would be vanquished.

You may think I’m weird, but there was a study a few years ago that found that adults make up more than 50% of the readers of young adult novels. These are not adults who are reading to children, but adults who are reading for their own pleasure. I discovered this, and a lot of the information that I’m going to share today, while listening to a program called The Ministry of Ideas, which is part of the Harvard Divinity School Religious Literacy Project. (https://www.ministryofideas.org/) This program was one of the inspirations for choosing to focus on the theme of story this month.

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