I’m excited to be attending STORY in Chicago in a couple of weeks and can’t wait to see it live and in person. If you’ve heard any of the talk around this event for the last couple of years, you know that Ben Arment and his team pull out all the stops to inspire artists and leaders as they dream together.
STORY is a conference for the creative class. The theme for 2011 is IMAGINE NATION which speaks to the power of spiritual imagination. In Exodus 35, the artists of Israel came together to build a dwelling place for God. They carved poles, fashioned gold, and constructed curtains “with cherubim woven into them by expert hands.” The job of these artists was to envision the kingdom and use their gifts to heighten peoples spiritual imaginations. An Imagine Nation.
Join a tribe of creative artists attempting to learn more about their craft, story telling, and imagination. One of the story tellers at STORY this year is Angela Thomas and I’m thrilled to post this interview with Angela to let you get to know her a bit more.
Angela Thomas is a gifted storyteller, teacher, and bestselling author. She has written 11 books and five video studies, including Brave and When Wallflowers Dance. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Angela calls Greensboro, North Carolina home and enjoys making her husband Scott and their four children her main priorities. For more, visit www.angelathomas.com
What is your best personal definition of a STORY?
My personal definition of STORY is: A tiny snippet of the journey, gift-wrapped in meaning.
What is one way you have found to grow or engage your imagination?
Growing my imagination has been about trying to pursue STORY from the most neglected perspective while still making an application that connects with most people.
In your experience what is the best nontraditional form or STORY telling you have seen, heard, or experienced?
To me, the best nontraditional STORY is one not overly-crafted or slick. Most of the time not even planned. Today I saw a photograph taken at a Navy Seal’s funeral. Beside the casket lay the soldier’s dog. The unplanned and unposed picture told a STORY that keeps moving me to tears this afternoon. God bless the brave SEAL and the dog who loved him.
If you could encourage a creative person with one tip on being imaginative what would you tell them?
If you have heard it, seen it, or read it somewhere else, your imagination is not at work. The STORY of your imagination will begin in your heart. Turn off the internet. Stop scanning what everyone else has done. Be still long enough to let your God-given passion shout above all the other noise. Trust the Creator. The One who placed imagination in your mind is creative enough to give new STORY through you.
What is one thing you are excited about sharing with the tribes attending STORY 2011?
I am coming to STORY 2011 because I’ve had the great privilege of reading other people’s stories and writing about our GOD in their STORY. The project is called The Story of Your Life, co-written with Matthew West. In this book, it has been an honor to interact with someone else’s journey and as a humble observer, point readers to our God of compassion and purpose.