Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why F W Boreham Favored Storytelling

F W Boreham favored the story because it usefully disguises overt religious language, as nature camouflages its seeds. In stories about people doing ordinary, everyday things, Boreham wrapped theological ideas in flesh and blood to engage his readers’ imagination and aid their comprehension. In the telling of human stories, theological ideas descended from remote, other-worldly planes to a down-to-earth level, thus enhancing the potential to evoke liveable experiences in the lives of Boreham’s readers.

As storytelling theologian Frederick Buechner said, “The Truth that Christianity claims to be true is ultimately to be found … not in the Bible, or the Church, or Theology—the best they can do is point to the Truth—but in our own stories.”[1]

Geoff Pound

Image: “stories usefully disguise overt religious language, as nature camouflages its seeds.”

[1] Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the dark: A doubter’s dictionary (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), 115.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Boreham on Writing Theology for the Public Sphere

F W Boreham’s three primary theological methods of urging connections, seeing something more and sharing stories were shaped by his knowledge that he was writing editorials in a secular medium to an Australian audience. He judged his readers to be wary about religion and resistant to theological discussion that issued from the church and focused on spiritual and other-worldly topics.

His method of connecting theology to familiar personal and public activities was a helpful way of deepening the reader’s understanding of theology’s purpose and developing a fully integrated life.

Boreham’s discussion about ‘seeing more’ represented the teaching of a theological method so that readers could see for themselves. He urged his readers to see more in the public spheres of nature, history, literature, art and ordinary life because they provided sources of divine revelation and pointers to an understanding of God.

His use of stories to attract readers, spark their imagination and (perhaps despite their own resistance) engage in their own theological reflection was a skilful ploy aimed at making theology truly public and revealed his commitment to convey a theology that was ‘liveable’ and ‘doable’.

Geoff Pound

Image: “Writing editorials in a secular medium to an Australian audience.” Prime Minister, John Howard and some Aussie mates.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Boreham on Conveying Truth through Stories

A further theological method, which was also shaped by F W Boreham’s awareness that he was communicating in a public context could be described as theology sharing stories.

Boreham had an aversion to the writing of history, theology or philosophy as a set of propositions. The focus of his disdain was well expressed by the poet John Keats, who said, “Do not all charms fly at the mere touch of cold philosophy? …. Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings.”[1]

Dr Boreham preferred the medium of storytelling because it conveyed what ‘cold philosophy’ was judged not to supply, namely, charm, warmth and the means to make it soar in the minds of readers.

Geoff Pound

Image: “Boreham preferred the medium of storytelling because it conveyed … charm, warmth and the means to make it soar in the minds of readers.”

[1] Keats, Lamia 2.1.229.