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A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers by William J. Bausch. Mystic CT: Twenty Third Publications, 1998. ISBN 0-89622-919-1 516 pp., $29.95
Many of you will remember William Bausch from his other books, one of the best known of
Storytelling: Imagination and Faith (Twenty Third Publications, 1984). Now Fr. Bausch
has produced a collection of stories for preachers, teachers and all who love stories that move and challenge.
The stories in the book are arranged by their length. Bausch whimsically used the classic nursery tale of The Three Bears when he named the book's divisions. The Papa Bear section includes the longest stories, approximately 2-5 pages each. Mama Bear contains somewhat shorter stories and Goldilocks contains “snacks, ” stories so short that 2 - 3 stories can fit on a page. The Baby Bear stories are playful -jokes, and quick humorous stories -and the Porridge section contains 22 homilies, most tied either to Biblical passages or Church seasons and feastdays.
There is a veritable feast of stories here. Some are by Sr Jose Hobday, John Shea, Edward Hays, and Walter Wangerin Jr. There are stories of the saints told by Robert Bela Wilhelm, Zen tales, traditional folktales and family stories. All are stories which speak about humanity in such a way as to "nudge, provoke, and stimulate the spiritual imagination. Although Bausch was loathe to limit the stories in any way by suggesting what their applications might be, he did agree to a thematic index. This index is a great help to those vvho are looking for a story on a particular topic.
Anyone looking for inspirational, healing, or motivational stories need look no further. I expect that this book will be a staple on the shelf not only of preachers and teachers, but also storytellers, and those in the helping professions.
Twenty-Third Publications, PO Box 180, NIystic, CT 06355800-321-0411
The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 2, June 1998