Your Untold Story

Tales of a Child of God

Jake Owensby

Jan/2018, 128 Pages, PAPER, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640650046

• Popular author and HuffPost blogger
• Good for use by individuals or groups

Whether we realize it or not, how we respond to life's opportunities and challenges, to other people, and to ourselves depends upon the stories we tell about ourselves. Too often, we tell distorted stories drawn from painful experiences or internalized from others' critical voices. These fake stories diminish our dreams, damage our relationships, and fill us with fear and self-blame.

Research shows that people yearn for personal experiences of the holy, and Jake Owensby begins by inviting readers to re-imagine Jesus as friend and lover. He then turns to encouraging readers to hear and tell how Jesus would express their story and the stories of others. Jesus' story about us is our true story: the gospel, the story of the beloved. It helps us experience the richness of life, see the stranger as friend, and make a difference in the world.

Useful for both personal spiritual practice and group studies, Your Untold Story will help expand the soul by engaging imagination and deepening relationships among group members. It is a discipleship tool that will aid any individual or group of spiritually minded people. The missional church requires well-formed disciples; here is a resource to help in that process.

Audience: adults, study groups, preachers—sermon preparation, Bible/lectionary study, personal discernment

Jake Owensby was consecrated the fourth Bishop of Western Louisiana in 2012, having served congregations in the Episcopal Church since 1997. Before entering seminary, he was a philosophy professor in a small college, a teacher devoted to helping students discover truth for themselves. As a bishop, he is still that sort of teacher. Owensby is author of multiple books and a blog, Looking for God in Messy Places. His podcasts are available on SoundCloud and at iTunes.

Part One: Reimagining Jesus
1. All They're Going to Get is You
2. Keeping Our Word
3. In Our Very Bones
4. Jesus and Nietzsche Walk into a Bar
5. Jesus, Clark Kent, and Quintin Tarantino

Part Two: Retelling Your Story
6. Hearing Grace
7. Forgiving Yourself
8. Boiled Shrimp and Broken Toys
9. Restoring Our Sanity
10. Stretching Each Other

Part Three: Family, Friends, and Other Strangers
11. Being Normal Almost Killed Me
12. Ugly Love
13. Not Those People
14. Walls and Bridges
15. Claudia, Her Sisters, and the Ascension
16. Lies and Secrets and Funerals

Part Four: The Sense of an Ending
17. Even This
18. A Happier Place
19. Dirty Laundry
20. Until Morning

Appendix
A. Scripture Index
B. Scripture Stories

"Bishop Owensby is one of the finest thinkers and writers on today's scene, religious or secular. I read everything he publishes, and I learn something, think deeply, and am moved every time I do. This book is no different. You'll learn, think, be moved, and live a bit differently."
––The Most Rev. Michael Curry, 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church

"Drawing on his tremendous gift is a storyteller, Owensby uses his experiences as a guide to connect us to the deep truths that are held in our own stories. We are invited to look at the truths about ourselves that are revealed in our stories of struggle and brokenness, as well as in our stories of joy. From that holy place, we can begin to see with new eyes the places in our lives where God's forgiveness and love have been present. Connecting our stories to God's story, we are invited to grow in our understanding of what it means to be God's beloved."
––The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut

"With unmatched charm and disarming clarity, Bishop Jake Owensby invites us to be vulnerable to ourselves, one another, and our God. Be warned: your life will never be the same after encountering Jesus in the stories told by Jake."
––The Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development

"'We are all in the middle of our story ... and what has happened to us is still unfolding.' So begins this noteworthy narrative that unlocks memories, explores faith as one who has been 'in the trenches,' and consistently points to the way of Jesus as a guide for the reader toward the extraordinary love that God has for each human being on this planet. The consistent invitation to think about and tell one's own story in light of each chapter's theme is a particular strength and lends itself to strong discussion material for book groups. I recommend this book to you if you have a life story with which you struggle or one in which you wonder where God went. You will find a kind, compassionate and humble pastor in Bishop Owensby. One who has 'been there' and will help you discover a transforming path for yourself."
––The Rev. Carole Wageman, author of The Light Shines Through: Our Stories Are God's Story

"Your Untold Story is an invitation to sift through the libraries of our own spiritual narratives and see the hand of God at work in us––plying us, shaping us, loving us––into becoming our own manifestations of the Body of Christ. Bishop Owensby's book affirms that each of us is called us to reconciliation and restoration. One path to this wholeness is to connect our stories with the eternal, healing story of God. It is a path well worth taking."
––The Rt. Rev. Dr. Audrey Scanlan, Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

"Bishop Jake Owensby is a consummate storyteller. In Your Untold Story he recounts wonderful stories and arresting encounters in his own experience and then, in sometimes quite surprising ways, ties them to stories in the Scriptures. In so doing he not only deepens our appreciation of the biblical narratives that shape us, but he invites us to be tellers of our own stories, especially those still untold that need to be shared. An inspiring and fun read!"
–– The Right Reverend J. Neil Alexander, Vice President and Dean of the School of Theology at University of the South, Sewanee

Keywords

  • discipleship
  • Jesus
  • gospel

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