Interview with Cheri Cowell

» Posted on Jul 5, 2012 in Blog | 12 comments

This week I’m hosting Keli Gwyn with A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, Jocelyn Green with Wedded to War, Cheri Cowell with Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament (I will forward the entries to the publicist for a 3 basket giveaway–see picture above. The winners will be contacted by her.) and Margaret Brownley with Dawn Comes Early. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (July  8th) evening.

Interview with Cheri Cowell who wrote Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament:

What was the most difficult aspect of writing your book and how did you overcome it?

What to include and what not to include in a study of the parables. My study covers 118 New Testament parables, parables word pictures such as when Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd, and what I call ‘parable sequels’ or extensions offered by Paul and the apostles.

What passion drove you as you wrote your new book?

I LOVE the Word and I love storytelling and I want others to fall in love not only with the Word but also with the concept that they can become a living parable, a living story pointing others toward the Ultimate Living Parable––Jesus Christ.

What surprised or otherwise impacted you as you wrote your book?

There’s not a consensus on how many parables are in the Bible or even what defines a parable.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book(s)?

That the parables are not isolated stories only used for sermon illustrations, but when read together they give us a picture of how we are to live as kingdom people. Through the parables we learn how to become living parables in a world desperate to “see” God.

What book(s) do you have on your nightstand right now?

I’m reading two books, Cynthia Ruschti’s They Almost Always Come Home and Calvin Miller’s Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition.

What life experience, education, or training helped you become an author?

I am a writers’ conference fan, having attended and taught at more than 40 over the last ten years. I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer without them. I also received a Masters in Theological Studies from Asbury Seminary, where I learned the Inductive Bible study method I used in writing the parables Bible study.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

My husband and I love to travel, to see nature and all the beautiful places God’s created for us to enjoy. National Parks are our favorite destinations. In June we will travel to Yellowstone.

What is God teaching you right now?

That we all have a story to share and in sharing our stories we hear how God is moving, in listening to other’s stories we begin to see how our own story is shaped by the interweavings of so many stories to form a God-story.

The title of your study is Parables & Word Pictures; just what is a “word picture?”

There are some teachings of Jesus, such as when He says, “I am the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep” that aren’t technically parables but are what I call parable word pictures because the image tells the whole story.

It has been said that Jesus spoke in parables to “confuse and confound” and you say you have a “key” to making these less confusing and confounding to modern-day readers. What is this key?

It wasn’t until I studied the parables as a whole that the whole message they convey became clear, so the key is a comprehensive look at the New Testament parables. This is what the study brings to the reader.

Storytelling is a big part of our culture. Everywhere you turn there is a new story; how can we use these parables to reach our neighbors and friends with their story-telling power?

For me, this is what studying the parables is all about. It is about shaping our lives after Jesus that when other “read our lives” they see Him. How we treat others, how we respond to sorrow and obstacles tells a story. When asked how and why we are able to be at peace, or turn the other cheek, we don’t need a canned presentation. We simply share our story of how God’s story has changed us.

You talk about the Kingdom of God being in you and me, and being “here and now.” With all that’s going wrong in the world right now, it doesn’t look like it’s here. What does this mean?

I agree this is often the most troublesome stumbling block for some but I believe the answer lies in what many call “already and not yet” theology. In this orthodox biblical view, the kingdom of God is seen as ushered in with the life, death, and resurrection of Christ­­­­––this is the “already.” But the “not yet” refers to the consummation or completion of that process which will occur when Christ returns in the Second Coming. The Kingdom of God is therefore present today in the hearts and hands of Christ’s followers and one glorious day when Christ returns for us, our King will take His throne and His kingdom will be complete. Until then the parables teach us how to live as kingdom people in a not-yet world.

The study concludes with a look at the Parable of all parables. Tell us about this because this is the heart of your study.

I remember the moment when in preparation for writing this study I received the revelation that Jesus not only taught parables, but He was a parable––a living parable. In fact, He was the Ultimate Living Parable who lived His life as an example of what a life shaped by the truths taught in the parables should look like. Likewise, you and I have been invited to live parable-shaped lives so we, too, might become a living parable in a world begging to see God. 

12 Comments

  1. A very interesting & thought provoking interview thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    • Thanks for stopping by Mary. Good luck with the drawing.

  2. “the image tells the whole story”
    I agree. I am a visual person and that’s how I read too. So alive.
    Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

    • It is fun to know that God created us this way? It is a gift. I’m glad to hear we share the same gift, but even those who don’t read with their mind’s eye can “see the parables” through a gifted preacher or teacher. I pray my study does that for those who have the gift and those who don’t.

      Thanks for writing.

  3. As readers, I bet many of us also enjoy story-telling, but I didn’t consider that my life as I live it daily, can also be story-telling. Neat!

    mylab1122 (aT) gMaIl (dOt) coM

  4. I agree, the parables show us Kingdom living. My pastor teaches similarly. I’m looking forward to exploring your book. I also agree that we have a story to tell and that story always is evolving. Years ago I wondered where God was in my past, now I wonder what He will do next. He keeps showing me ways he helped me live through the abuse I experienced – the most mind blowing one was when I asked Him why I didn’t feel His presence and He said, “Who do you think was your imaginary mother and father?” God was the one who gave me comfort through imaginary parents.

    Have a blessed day.

    Heather

    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  5. Thanks for this post and contest. I agree, the parables show us Kingdom living. My pastor teaches similarly. I’m looking forward to exploring your book. I also agree that we have a story to tell and that story always is evolving. Years ago I wondered where God was in my past, now I wonder what He will do next. He keeps showing me ways he helped me live through the abuse I experienced – the most mind blowing one was when I asked Him why I didn’t feel His presence and He said, “Who do you think was your imaginary mother and father?” God was the one who gave me comfort through imaginary parents.

    Have a blessed day.

    Heather

    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

    • What a wonderful testimony your life is to God’s goodness. Thank you for sharing and for living that parable shaped life I talked about. You are an inspiration. Shine on!

  6. This sounds like an inspiring book.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. would love to read this book…thanks for the chance

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