The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith by Mark Roques

People are storytellers. As humans, we spend much of our lives either telling stories, dramatizing storytelling, or writing our thoughts. Author Mark Roques has made a life quest of it in his work with youth. He received his PhD in studying the films of James Bond as a worldview analysis. Although this book was written for audiences in the UK, it is an interesting view of how teachers, students, and the general public may be involved in conversations about religious belief.

In this book, The Spy, the Rat, and the Bed of Nails, Roques engages the tools of media, parable, parody, irony, and wit to draw attention to the fact that few of our conversations are about spiel: “persuasive speech that is designed to communicate an important message” (4). This is especially so in discussing matters of faith or conversing about the person of Jesus to and with youth. Using parable and movie critique, Roques engages three socially recognizable themes: James Bond 007 as hero, the symbolism of the rat as an idol of worship, and worldviews, which engage the trials, spirituality, and myths that occur across cultures.

The first four chapters of the text are devoted to communication about Jesus, about discomfort and about stories that inspire. The third chapter is a personal favorite, as I am convinced that students need hope and positive examples above all else in these years of their lives, and Roques’s stories of real people can relate to various contexts, contents, and disciplines. The fourth chapter opens doors to how artistic and gifted storytellers could evoke aspects of awe and wonder, implementing a media or historical lens and incorporating life examples and events.

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