This collection of stories started in 2006 when I took 10 weeks out of life for some reflection and reappraisal of life. This was in the context of an Advanced Exchanged Life Training course with Grace Ministries International (GMI) in Atlanta, GA. During this time I was privileged to sit in on some intensely personal counseling sessions and also met a whole load of other people who were digging much deeper into their problems, emotions, beliefs and relationship (or lack of it) with God. I too was moved by what I found when I allowed myself the time to look.
As my last task I was asked to write a final paper that would encapsulate what I had learned on the course and also from the months and years that had proceeded it. I chose to clothe my experiences in a parable. I have always thought in simile and metaphor. To me it is instinctive to explain one thing with a picture of another. I had previously written some notes on the idea of laws and rules as being like a sheepdog that snapped, nipped and harried a flock of sheep to where the shepherd wanted them. The sheepdog was then to be retired to so that the shepherd could lead the sheep just by his voice. When I decided on 'the Dog' as my metaphor for my final assignment much more than I anticipated rolled out onto the paper and I found that I could discover many parallels in the experience of this simple creature.
I was so taken with the power of parable to teach a thing without preaching, to address an issue that the reader or listener can personalise and relate to their own experience, that I embarked on another. 'The Mynah Bird' came next and then to my surprise I found that as one finished I already had ideas for another, and another.
So eight parables later most of these stories have been told in small groups or church services or have been passed to people struggling with particular issues. There are now power point images and even DVD interpretations to help with the telling. All are available from online shops on extracts are available here. The latest parable The Frog is published in full on this site.
The Animal Parables is available on Kindle, both individually and as a collection and in paperback.
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