made of stories

made of stories

The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Muriel Rukeyser

the stories

Gemma

Nathaniel

Holly

Greg

Patrick & Davy

more to follow…

I highly recommend the beautiful new short films PCN has produced. They invite you into the stories and hearts of your neighbours, and in anxious times, they radiate hope, insight, and love.

Brian McLaren, author, speaker, activist

This is gentle and engaging film-making. There’s a story being told, but it’s not didactic and direct; instead it’s one that keeps you guessing (and so watching); that wrong foots you each time you think you have it pinned. At the same time, it’s a film that opens itself to you as easily as your breathing. It feels somehow natural, warm and accepting. Real. As much so as the divine love about which the film seems to wants to share.

Paul Northup, Creative Director, Greenbelt
(of Gemma’s story)

Progressive Christianity is a beautiful thing, these films invite and inspire us to engage in the holy complexity of that beauty.

Revd Naomi Nixon, Chief Executive, Student Christian Movement

“This video is extremely well produced and Nathaniel comes over extremely well.”

Stephen Penrose, founder, London HIV Chaplaincy

“Spiritually generous and heartwarming, Gemma’s film shows that only love can prove a faith.”

Richard Holloway

“A powerful and moving film.”

Rt Revd. Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
(of Holly’s story)
thin

a theology of story

It is said that physically, we are all made of stars. The atoms of carbon that form our bodies come from outer space, the same particles form plants and animals. In other words, we are not only made of stars, we consume them too. But that is to speak only of the physical: the stuff we can see, touch and smell.

We are made of much more than that, we’re made of memories, of friendships, of loves lost and found, of ideas and hopes, and of dreams of what could be. Which is to say that we’re made of stories.

We’re made of the stories that were told by our grandparents, of the stories dreamed by our parents, of the stories overheard in the playground by our childhood selves, and the multi-layered stories pondered in our adult minds. And no matter how much we might try to systematise these stories, to put them into databases and analyse them, to write enormous tomes about them or to examine them under some kind of microscope, our stories are always too complex and too wily to be fully pinned down. Stories are a collection of experiences, each one seen through a lens which has itself been altered by the multitude of the other experiences we have been through. And every time we hear a story, we hear it in the light of the sum of all of our experiences. In other words, we are not only made of stories, we consume them too.

The Bible of course is full of stories, and the church is full of different ways of understanding each of them. A progressive approach to Christianity must take this into account, it needs to recognise the validity of individual stories.

In this project we’ve tried to give space for story: We wanted to hear people’s voices, and then to give space for you to consider those stories in the light of your own. That way, perhaps we can get past an obsession with who made the stars, and pay attention to who made the stories.

telling stories

In an age of fast-moving visual communication across all types of platforms, the trustees of PCN Britain have commissioned this series of short films which raise challenging questions to those who hold a progressive view of what it means to be Christian today. Rather than producing a series of more didactic, ‘teaching’ presentations about the content of Christian faith, our starting point is the very different personal stories of people, some of whom faced difficult situations, some of whom hold deeply passionate views about aspects of life and the world as we find it. We are grateful to the people who were willing to tell their story.

Thanks to the generosity of the Westhill Trust and other donors, we commissioned a media company, Boca Films, to work with us. Boca Films searched out the people in the films and we are grateful for their expertise in research, filming and editing but above all for their empathy and understanding of our aims in producing these short films.

The viewers will know no more about the story tellers than what is in the film but our hope is that the subject of their story – being HIV positive, being a climate activist, working to revive a church for the community and so forth, will arouse in you, the viewer, questions and reflections about these particular issues and faith. The short films are freely available on many platforms and we hope will be shown in a variety of settings, including the privacy of your living room.

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